Island in the sky

by Matthew Cobb

Fantastic timelapse film by Christoph Malin from the top of La Palma, on the Canary islands out in the Atlantic. Press the full-screen button and enjoy.

On his Vimeo page, Christoph describes the process involved in making the film:

This short film, a hommage to the beautiful Island of La Palma – “Europe’s Hawaii” – seemed like a never ending project for me. More than one and a half years of work…. photographing, processing, re-processing, selecting and de-selecting footage, some weeks filming, more than 1 TB worth of RAW data…

I had certain pictures in mind – the scenes, the locations, the moods. Every interesting location I had spotted during many stays over the years on the Island while Hiking or guiding Bike Groups was considered.

As often as possible I returned to Palma to let those images I had in mind get reality, but more than once got thrown back – bad weather, equipment malfunction or whatever. Hiked up the many spots, stayed up all night on stormy volcano ridges, slept like a dead on the beach next morning. Pre-processed nights footage at the Appartement, to check what scenes worked and not, thus needed to be repeated. Moved back up the mountains before dawn for new setups. Watched the clouds and stars move. Feeling small in the universe. And tired and dizzy.

Night-Timelapse filming is a passion, hard to live from, tough on your biorhythm – there is a lot of love, passion and dedication involved. Passion for the work, an open eye for the location. Love for nature and being out alone in the night. Dedication and endurance in front of my workstations when returning and working trough the RAW data.

Which is the toughest part for me – I am not the office guy. Although a friend once said “you have a Mac network that Cupertino would be proud of”, and really enjoy working with these clever designed, efficient machines, I hate sitting in front of the screen too much. And that you do. NO current workstation or server PC has enough power to process timelapse sequences fast. It takes hours, hours, hours.

Endless nights rendering and processing sometimes take their toll – there is no automatism and the machines need to be fed with data… also I usually do not finish until a scene is perfect. On some key scenes of this film I have worked over several months, pulling them out, color-reprocessing, iterating them many times, trying variations. And I am still not sure if they are right now. You judge.


  1. Duncan
    Posted November 27, 2012 at 8:01 am | Permalink

    S’alright I suppose.

    Only kidding! Bloody amazing is what it is. would love to see this on an IMAX screen.

  2. pktom64
    Posted November 27, 2012 at 9:16 am | Permalink

    Amazing images… The Canary Islands have a lot to offer to the eyes with its various landscapes on the different islands.

    I personally visited the island of Tenerife which has, I think, the highest mountain of The Canary (el Teide) and I even made a little music-film for everyone to enjoy:

  3. Posted November 27, 2012 at 9:17 am | Permalink

    Passionate filmmaker and sublime work! The colourful tents glowing from within like huge wild gems brought into mind the mundane aspect of working your art.

  4. Posted November 27, 2012 at 11:07 am | Permalink

    Not bad for a Nikon!

    (But seriously, this is very, very well done.)

    I can certainly relate to the frustration of waiting on computers while wanting to use them…right now I’m waiting for the display to finish calibrating and profiling so I can then do some photo editing….


  5. abrotherhoodofman
    Posted November 27, 2012 at 2:12 pm | Permalink


    I didn’t see Jesus anywhere in that video… did you?

  6. marksolock
    Posted November 27, 2012 at 10:50 pm | Permalink

    Reblogged this on Mark Solock Blog.

  7. marycanada FCD
    Posted November 28, 2012 at 3:57 pm | Permalink

    Spectacular! Thanks for posting.

  8. Posted November 30, 2012 at 5:08 pm | Permalink

    Hey Matthew,

    thanks for posting, and all for your kind comments. Matthew, if you like, send me a PM. All the best, Chris

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