Beginner Smartphone Movie Skills

How to Create a Video Drama Using Still Cat Photos

I wanted to share this portrait and mini movie because I hope they might inspire you to create your own short video even if you only have still photographs. Potentially, your still photos could be used to make an adoption movie for a rescue, a sponsored post, or a short memorial video for a cat friend.

  • Many small rescues need people with basic photography and video skills. Video is getting a lot of social media attention. Even a short video can give potential adopters insights into a cat’s personality and character and you do not need to learn difficult skills.

Let me share the fantastic photo of Toulouse high up in a cabbage tree and then show you the short movie made using static images. In this picture, I am using my canon 55-250mm zoom lens, this is why Toulouse looks so close. My iPhone would have been perfect for video but I only had time to lift the camera to frame the shot and snatch the moment. Then he went down the tree like a pocket rocket.

I tell you how I created my short video of Toulouse at the bottom of this post.

Tabby Cat Climbs down a Cabbage Tree

Still Photographs Can Be Made Into A Movie

Even with still photographs you are telling a story, so your first task is to sort your images into an order that does this. Keep your story simple.

What do you have available? Work with that as a challenge and learn to be creative as you go. If you have gaps you can’t fill, add short text prompts to provide essential information. Keep transistions between images to a minimum.

  • A cat up for adoption might use photographs showing its fur colours and face. Maybe add playful shots showing its fun side. A senior cat might look dignified or stately.
  • A memorial tribute would work at a more dignified slower pace with longer shots.

For my own movie; the story is Toulouse’s rapid scampering 4.25 metres (14 feet) descent from the cabbage tree so the video clips are short. In fact some are under 2 seconds so I can keep keep the pace moving. 3 seconds is a good length to aim for while you learn to edit.

Climbing a cat tree
A clear idea of the height Toulouse reaches

I loaded my own still photographs into iMovie and using the Ken Burns* effect for movement. Listed below are some of the software packages use the Ken Burns effect and there are others. This effect is great to help you simulate movement. Your viewer’s eye is led though the photo and it ‘feels’ like a movie.

Let me know what do you think of Toulouse’s adventure?

* Ken Burns Effect The technique is principally used when film or video material is not available. Action is given to still photographs by slowly zooming in on subjects of interest and panning from one subject to another. For example, in a photograph of a baseball team, one might slowly pan across the faces of the players and come to a rest on the player the narrator is discussing. Wikipedia

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13 thoughts on “How to Create a Video Drama Using Still Cat Photos”

  1. What a terrific idea! I love the thought of taking photos and then transitioning them to create a movie. That actually seems like it could be fun. Although, there is the risk of operational error with me. But I am going to try this one. Thanks for the great idea as always!

  2. First, that top pic of Toulouse is gorgeous! Great post (as always!) I love turning stills into a “movie” slideshow and enjoy the Ken Burns effect. I think it is so helpful for folks that you outline doing this in such an easy-to-follow way, and the video. Pinning to share!

  3. That is why I often take a whole set of pictures from one subject. Then those would give good ‘food’ for a slideshow/video like you just showed us of Toulouse! That was great!

  4. Love the slideshow of Toulouse! And yay for the kitties representing for Feral Cat Day. All the kitties in our home had feral origins.

  5. Merging stills to form a movie is a great effect. Often see these at the end of movies in the credits etc. Just shows that with a little practice and confidence, we can all do these wonderous things, and get a great product to use at the end. Thanks for sharing Marjorie, this is very inspirational.


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