Island in the Sky from Christoph Malin on Vimeo.

Inhale the fresh air, smell the scent of the pine forests. Hear nothing but the wind in the trees. See the deep blue sky above black volcano sands. Hike epic volcanic trails far above the atlantic ocean. Feel the elements. Be yourself.

This short film, a hommage to the beautiful Island of La Palma - “Europe’s Hawaii” (en.wikipedia.org/wiki/La_Palma) - 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 (newswatch.nationalgeographic.com/2011/08/15/new-astro-timelapse-video-the-island-showcases-astronomy-haven/), 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.

To make it worse, while working on this film, I changed the entire software and processing, so I reprocessed a lot of the early material for the better. Then my new added D7000 turned out to be a tricky machine for timelapse - while a great performer with top image quality, it often produced footage with a very subtle shutter flicker. flicker of that kind which is nearly impossible to remove. All that adds up. More than often I came to a point where I thought “Dude, it is too much, I can’t get it done”. Expectations and pressure were high. But now - finished!

PASSION and DEDICATION and help from good friends! Otherwise this project would not have been possible.

Thanks to all who support me, especially my family. Thanks to Babak Tafreshi of Twanight.org for the legendary GRANTECAN Intro (en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gran_Telescopio_Canarias) and MAGIC-from-the-side Scene (en.wikipedia.org/wiki/MAGIC_(telescope). Thanks to the People of IAC.es and Visitlapalma.es! Horay to all at the TWAN Group for constant tips and feedback! Awesome to NPS!

A huge “Thanks!” goes to Jesse Hozeny for letting me use his awesome soundtrack “Miles High”. I have searched over a year for the perfect score for this little movie, and simply it was not finished until I found it. Check Jesse’s Albums here:
itunes.apple.com/at/album/niyama-volume-one-two/id39888393

Filmed with: Nikon D700, D7000, D3s, AFS 14-24/2.8, AFS 24-70/2.8, AF 50/1.8, AF 16/2.8 and AF-DX 10/2.8 Fisheye. Dynamic Perception Stage Zero Dolly and MX2 Merlin Interface. Vixen Polarie, great device for Timelapse pans: vixen.co.jp/en/lp/polarie_movie.html

Processed with: Nikon View NX, Adobe Lightroom LR4, LRTimelapse, Apple Motion, Apple Final Cut Pro X.

Amount of RedBull consumed? Countless.

Now dive in, put your earphones on and relax…

Cheers and all the best.
Christoph Malin
The Guy with the Tent
Christophmalin.com

P.S.:
Be sure to check out some of my other films:
“Astronomer’s Paradise”, vimeo.com/36972668 - featured on NG
“Urban Mountain Sky”, vimeo.com/40969904 - featured on DC

For Fine Art Prints of “Island in the Sky” go here: christophmalin.zenfolio.com/p710558537

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