Why You Should Film 1 Second Everyday

On August 12 of this year I came across an inspiring TEDTalk by a guy called Cesar Kuriyama, who spoke about why he films 1 second of everyday. Before he started this project, Cesar talked about how he felt that days from just a few months ago would often blur together and he would find it difficult to distinguish them from one another. Often he would forget about certain days entirely, and only be reintroduced to the memory when reminded of something specific from that day when prompted by a friend in conversation, a familiar sound, or a sight. He was tired of days merging together and disappearing and decided to start filming just one second of everyday for the rest of his life in the hope that it would improve his memory of that day. Filming 1 second of everyday will leave you with a 6 minute video after filming for a year, an hour long video after 10 years, and a 5 hour long video if you film for 50 years. 

At the time of listening to Cesar and his project I was eager to to start using my camera more often,  having already planned to do weekly filming exercises to better my camera skills. After watching the TEDTalk I decided to undertake this challenge for myself as I could relate to the difficulty of distinctly remembering days even from the fairly recent past, and it would force me to use my camera at least once every single day.

Initially, I wanted to do something slightly different with my project. I had the idea of filming 2 seconds of everyday, 1 second of something I actually did, and another second that would visualise in a creative way how I felt that day. I could then play these two seconds simultaneously, utilising a split screen, and it would potentially make for an intriguing experience of being able to compare how I felt on a particular day with what I captured on film. The idea was that what I filmed might not depict what my emotions were that day, and it would allow for some unique segments of juxtaposition to develop. I stuck to this approach for over a month filming 2 seconds everyday, but it quickly became evident that finding a way to visualise my emotion for everyday was a lot more difficult than I had expected. I would often end up filming a visualisation of an emotion not because it accurately depicted what I felt that day but simply because it could be filmed and looked good. Feeling slightly defeated by this I came up with a way to still be able to show how I felt on a particular day by utilising sound in a specific way within each individual clip.

Cesar spoke about how he wanted to capture each second as authentically as possible by filming from the first person, always handheld, and not manipulating the image or sound in post production. While I thought this approach was justified I felt that I could more accurately capture what I experienced emotionally that day by manipulating the image as well as the sound. By focusing in on a tiny detail, or amplifying a specific sound I could home in on why I choose that to be my one second for the day. As a filmmaker and storyteller I also wanted to create a sense of style and unity to the project as a whole. A series of 1 second clips can be disorienting and often hard to take in so I decided to try and film as many seconds as I could head on, steady, subject centred, and with minimal camera movement. If I utilised camera movement I wanted it to be very quick, precise, and motivated. I also choose one sound that I wanted to stand out and recorded it as best I could while drowning out all other sounds. This meant that each second was very specific and would hopefully work better together with the other clips and also allow me to better remember that day.

After a little over 3 months of enjoying the daily task of filming 1 second there are a few things that I have already become aware of. The first and probably most important realisation is just how effective 1 second can be in bringing an entire day back into vivid memory. Seeing just that one second months later instantly brings me back to what happened long before and after I filmed it. In the same way that visualising something often works as the best way in regards to memorising, seeing my one second clip would not only remind me of what I did that day but also of how I felt. I see the clip of a gas stove burning from August 16 and instantly remember making coffee in a pot on the stove because I didn't have a kettle, I remember the olympics playing on the television in the background because I asked my girlfriend to turn it down while I was filming and because I decided to film that clip in the first place as a visualisation of feeling a fire lit beneath me after seeing the 400 meter world record broken, and I remember the massive house in Victoria we were staying in at the time because I considered it a luxury to cook on a gas stove. All this and more from a single second and I can guarantee you that every other second brings back just as many memories.  

The second thing I have found is that I trying to find a second to film everyday has in turn also made everyday more exciting and memorable. I will bring my camera with me almost everywhere I go and will do things I probably wouldn't have if I wasn't trying to get a good second. Some days I will have 10 clips to chose from and others I will struggle to film even 1.  Sometimes I'll go for a walk purely with the intention of finding something more interesting to film than my living room. I will notice and pay more attention to my surroundings making me appreciate simple things I normally wouldn't have noticed. When I first started the project I was very intent on also filming bad days because I wanted to be realistic and true to what I experienced. However, I have honestly felt that there have been very few bad days and I would give some of the credit to this project. I have gained the ability to noticing and appreciating small everyday things in the simple task of finding something interesting to film. Because it is only one second that I film I also don't miss out. I don't film an entire event so that I can relive it in the future and in the process forget to enjoy it in the moment. It is a quick and easy way to instantly bring that memory back that doesn't take away from the real experience.

I can't wait to continue with the project and have come up with some new and exciting ideas that I want to test out. I will attempt to do something special and focused with every 2 weeks, hoping to create sections that will be remembered even more vividly as periods or elements of my life. For example, I may for 2 weeks only film myself doing various types of workouts, then the next 2 weeks reading my book in different locations, then the next 2 weeks eating all kinds of different foods, then the next two weeks observing the weather, and the list goes on. I want to see how creating segments will work in the project as a whole. Maybe it won't work at all, maybe some will and others won't, but thats the beauty of filming one second everyday, you can always try again and start over the next day.

I would recommend filming one second a day to anyone! While I film mine on a bigger camera, recording sound with and external microphone, often use a tripod, and edit my clips using expensive editing software, filming one second a day can easily be done by anyone who owns a phone. The image and sound recording quality on phones these days is outstanding. There is even an app called One Second Every Day created by Cesar Kuriyama that reminds you to film, and edits everything neatly together so that all you have to do is press record once a day and it does the rest for you. Its available on iTunes https://itunes.apple.com/gb/app/1-second-everyday-video-diary/id587823548?mt=8

So go out there and start capturing your life one second at a time! You won't regret it!

Email me if you have any questions or want to know more! I'll make sure to write back! I am also interested to see what different people will come up with as there are so many ways this project can be interpreted and executed.