Watch Beautiful Underwater Creatures in Breathtaking Macro Timelapse Video “Slow Life”

by planetMitch1 Comment

This is incredible, simply beautiful. I don't really understand the time and amount of work that went into making this, but the description says it took 9 months just to learn the focus stacking methodology… but it is amazing and I hope you give it a watch.

Slow Life – A Gorgeous Underwater Macro Timelapse Created from 150,000 Raw Images

From SLR Lounge:

In ‘Slow Life,’ photographer Daniel Stoupin brings us a mesmerizing look at the secret lives of these beautiful creatures. Painstakingly using focus stacking, the 3 and a half minute video uses 150,000 22-megapixel RAW images to give us in crystal clear detail. Shot in 4K resolution, each frame is a stack of 3-12 image to give us the shallow depth of field required for macro photography. One frame took ten minutes of processing time, which included the raw conversion and stacking. After three weeks of continuous processing, unsurprisingly, his laptop died.

About Slow Life

From Vimeo Description:

This clip, as well as stock footage, is available in 4k resolution. Make sure you watch it on a large screen! You won't be able to appreciate this clip or see individual cells moving in a sponge on a smartphone. If you have a full-HD screen, when you enter full-screen mode, please press on “view actual size” next to the HD icon to improve sharpness.

Slow life image 1

To make this little clip I took 150000 shots. Why so many? Because macro photography involves shallow depth of field. To extend it, I used focus stacking. Each frame of the video is actually a stack that consists of 3-12 shots where in-focus areas are merged. Just the intro and last scene are regular real-time footage. One frame required about 10 minutes of processing time (raw conversion + stacking). Unfortunately, the success rate was very low due to copious technical challenges and I spent almost 9 long months just to learn how to make these kinds of videos and understand how to work with these delicate creatures.

I am glad that I abandoned the idea of making this clip in 3D (with two cameras) – very few people have 3D screens and it doubles processing time.

Canon 7D (died at the beginning of the project as I had overused it in my research), Canon EOS 5D Mark III (90% of footage is done with it)
– Canon MP-E 65 mm lens
– adjustable custom-spectrum lamps (3 different models) – they were needed to recreate natural underwater illumination.
– several motorized stages including StackShot for focus stacking
– multiple computers to process thousands of 22+ Mpx raw images and perform focus stacking (an old laptop died on that mission after 3 weeks of continuous processing).

Edited in Sony Vegas, Adobe Photoshop CS6, Zerene Stacker, and Helicon Focus.

Music: Atmostra III by Cedric Baravaglio, Jonathan Ochmann and Zdravko Djordjevic.

Visit my website to see more cool stuff:

Read full article on SLR Lounge: Slow Life – A Gorgeous Underwater Macro Timelapse Created from 150,000 Raw Images

Learn more about this fascinating underwater life on Daniel's blog

(cover photo credit: snap from the video)


  1. This is incredible.
    The time involved in a project like this is staggering.

    I am so glad that there are people out there dedicated and passionate enough to create these masterpiece works for the world to experience

    Thank you.

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