Memory Keeping in 2016: 1 Second Films

Generally, Brandon creates our family movies and I make our year albums. He videos and edits; I journal and snap. We overlap but the final processing of files into tangible projects is fairly exclusive. I wouldn't know where to start making a video ("How do I add a video to iMovie?"). Brandon would be a bit lost pulling together our year books ("What was that cute thing August said on the mountain trip seven months ago?").

A few months back, I heard about a phone app called 1 Second Everyday. The premise is you combine several one second videos into a longer movie. As a video novice, I was skeptical at first. How could one second of anything be significant? Brandon reassured me that he often includes very short snippets in his longer films and encouraged me to try it. So I downloaded the app and started taking videos of our life. The boys digging in the dirt, August jumping on the bed, a slow pour of coffee, flowers dancing in the breeze. I have just completed my sixth month of these films and I am hooked.

The app makes the editing incredibly straightforward. Here are a few tips I've learned along the way:

1. Shoot videos horizontally. This is just a general videography tip. Converting raw films to family movies flow much nicer when shot in a horizontal perspective. This is a good habit to get into now to achieve a consistent aesthetic as you grow your home video collection.

2. Limit movement. A single second is a very short clip of time. You want one object or the action of the clip to be readily apparent. One way to achieve this is limiting movement. Either keep the camera still and let the object move or keep the object still and move the camera. This is not always necessary of course but fun to experiment with when you have time.

3. Include the unusual. As the primary caregiver to my two sons, my films are typically filled with dirt, trucks and books. To balance the overload of boys-at-play, I like to include scenes of "other." These can be shots of rain falling, moss blowing in the trees, feet walking, waves pouring in on the shore. Think of the small things in your day that are lovely: shadows on your floorboards, sauce bubbling on the stove, spokes of a bike spinning, a deck of playing cards shuffling.

4. Import videos. Although I film a lot, I don't take pictures and videos daily. We are naturally going to occupy our time with more diverse activities on the weekends. On any given Saturday, we might collect video from a few hours at the beach, ice cream cone licks and sunset walks to our local park. If you miss a few days here and there, use these extra videos to fill up your week. This decreases the pressure of having to film on days we are too busy and distracted by life. This project is supposed to be fun so I recommend you use the "import video" option to give yourself breathing space. 

5. Pay attention to sound. The app doesn't let you mute sound so be sure to pay attention to the sound as you select your clips and snippet them together.

6. Remember your goal. You are creating a snapshot of your daily rhythms. The films don't have to be high quality to be perfect. Be creative and silly and laugh at yourself.

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