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9 Tips for Filming 1 Second Everyday

I’ve tried several times to do ‘one photo a day for a year’ projects and could never do it, it was exhausting to try shooting something fresh every day. When I saw the 1 Second Everyday app in the movie Chef and then again as the inspiration for the Disney short The Feast, I knew I should give video a try.

It was difficult to remember, there are so many times I kicked myself that I forgot to get a second in an amazing moment or with a friend I hadn’t seen in a while, but it really made me appreciate those moments even more whether I filmed them or not.

Try to remember what you did last Tuesday, or the first Tuesday of last month. Chances are you can’t. My memory isn’t great and this is a wonderful way to journal a year. I missed some days every now and then or had to use a photo as a substitute for video, but on the whole I feel like I was successful and it was a fulfilling project I would highly recommend. I’m going to start another one, right now!

1. Seeking the good

Recording one second every day required me to always be on the look out for something good to film. Similarly to the exercises described at the 11 minute mark in this TED talk, 1 second every day was a way to show gratitude for moments throughout the day and actively seek them.

2. People

Favor recording the people you’re with, not just places or things. There are better photos of wherever you are with a quick Google image search, but the people you’re with on that day are the most important and unique aspect of where you are. It’s a great conversation starter and a way to show appreciation for being in their company.

3. Sound

Sound is just as important as the video. A lot can be said or heard in one second, so think about it if you’re with a group of people give them something to say or do to add to the experience. I recorded several minutes just to capture the moment Die Antwoord says ‘Chattanooga!’ at 3:18, then just select that one second from that video.

4. Lock it in

I can’t tell you how many times I told myself, now’s not a good time, I’ll wait and get the second in a minute. It never happened when I did that. If you remember to take the second, then do it right then! Interrupt everything and get it otherwise you’ll forget!

5. Light

To re-emphasize the last point, try to record your second early in the day as a safety. The video on most smart phones is terrible in low light so late at night isn’t a good time to try and record. If it is at night, find somewhere with the most light to record it.

6. Play

I think it would be interesting to do weekly themes, like what you ate for breakfast, only film red things, but just have fun with it and experiment within this format.

7. Backup

Get a Dropbox account, or use Airdrop (for Mac/iPhone) to transfer a compilation. DON’T email yourself the video. It compresses it and the quality is terrible. At least monthly, export a compilation and save it! Also, the 1SE app does save clips of the video you choose inside the app so you can delete video from your ‘camera roll’ after you choose it within the app, but make sure you have a backup first!

8. Small Moments

One of my favorite clips is the lady bug wings sound. Many small moments like that is what fills most days and it’s always fun to capture them, take inspiration from the beginning of the movie Amelie.

9. Camera Work

Don’t do it. Keep the camera as steady as possible, I tried a camera move in the first couple of days and knew a compilation of one second camera moves was not going to be clear. Keep it simple, frame subjects as clearly as possible so it’s a quick read for the viewer and move the camera sparingly.

I teach several classes on a website called Skillshare and Udemy, like the ones pictured to the left and right. Click on the photos to go to the courses, or check out all my tutorials on my Tutorials page! Thanks!


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