Here’s something I’ve been playing with in mixing things up with daily photos- and it’s video. But not video. I am using the Slo Mo mode on the iPhone to just capture a bit of subtle movement, like a sluggish moment.

This setting on the iPhone camera seemed like a gimmick to me, I maybe played with it for the typical surreal effect of Felix running slow or maybe punching down the pizza dough.

This felt… different. I tried it when I was laying down catching the light of some grass in the field. I just had a wonder if I could make a slo mo video that had such subtle movement, it might not even feel like video. That one I posted to Instagram.

Something about this caught my imagination. But the instagram versions are that silly square shape for video, and they slash the quality. Check out the difference once I found how to yank them off the iPhone and post to YouTube.

This, like the iOS Live Photos are in those weird Apple format where you can play with them on the phone, but it takes some elbow grease to get them off and use them elsewhere.

I Air Dropped the videos to my MacBookPro, but they played at normal speed. That’s a plus of Instagram here, it somehow recognizes how to preserve the slowness (from what I can see, the app makes a square version as an MP4).

I came across all kinds of wild ways to export the slo mo videos and keep the slowness. Importing to iMovie, nope. Using some $ apps that maybe did not work. Nope. Running them through ffmpeg command line scripts. Maybe, but really? Do a screen recording on the phone? WTF.

At least I found a coherent explanation of what iOS is doing

The reason importing it directly onto your computer doesn’t appear to work is due to the way the iPhone plays back slomo videos.

The video itself isn’t shot in “slomo”, so to speak. Rather, it’s shot at 120 frames per second, a typically higher frame rate than normal video recording.

This is significant because if you were to playback that video at 30 fps, the videos would appear to be playing in smooth slow motion because there is 4 times the frames to display. So, when you playback a video the iPhone is converting the selected section of the 120fps video into 30fps, giving it the slow motion effect – the whole video COULD be watched at a normal speed with no problem. When you import the file onto your computer, it is just a 120fps video file – it doesn’t know when or where to convert it to 30fps, which is why it appears as if it “lost” the slomo when really it’s playing in its native 120fps.

Anyhow, somewhere I found a solution I did not expect. Did you know the humble, versatile Preview app on an OS X machine can import stuff from your iPhone? Just jack it with USB, and inder the File menu is an item to import from my phone (it’s name is iCogDog).

You get an interface where you can select images or video, and quickly slurp them over to your Downloads folder.

Importing iPhone media via Preview? I have a second, smaller version that I had trimmer down from the original.

This interface is very familiar! It’s the same one I see in the Image Capture app (which is a more logical one to use, doh).

Whether you do a trimmed version on the iPhone or using QuickTime Player, I just use maybe a few seconds from the slo mo version to get maybe 20-30 seconds in the published ones.

Anyhow, here are the other ones I made in the last few days.

These are some fun experiments. and it helps in the daily photo thing to mix it up often, or just slow down.

Slow down.



Remember that scene from Taxi?

Image Credit: This is all my mashup of my own stuff. I wanted to use the interface of the iPhone camera with the options that you see. But you cannot get a screenshot of it! It was too hard to get a photo with my DSLR, so I used my flatbed scanner. I wanted to use a few frames from one of my slo mo videos as a GIF superimposed on that screen. But the video file is weird, Photoshop would not import it. So I used giphy to make an animated GIF from the YouTube version. THEN it was a bit of Photoshop judo to mask the screen over the layers of the gif scene. Again I might spend more time on the feature image than the blog writing. Sue me.

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Profile Picture for Alan Levine aka CogDog
An early 90s builder of the web and blogging Alan Levine barks at on web storytelling (#ds106 #4life), photography, bending WordPress, and serendipity in the infinite internet river. He thinks it's weird to write about himself in the third person.


  1. slomo is cool. playing around with fireworks and pyrotechnics is pretty amazing. (I don’t seem to have many of my slomo shots online, but snow:

    time-lapse is another one to play with – like clouds boiling

    or tornadoes moving through southern Saskatchewan

  2. Aside from missing the obvious title pun, “Slow MOments,” I remember several years ago focusing on sound with video rather than the visual. I posted a few to Instagram and wrote about it. Even though the videos don’t embed (shame, Facebook, shame) the videos are still living there.

    1. Thanks Brian, that’s a brilliant concept. There was an assignment I vaguely recall from Jonathan Worth’s #phonar class where students went out to a destination in the city (Coventry in the UK) in pairs. I think they each “captured” a scene, one with ear coverings captured photos, and one with blinders on captured the audio. Or something like that.

      Good to hear from you!

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