Last year, I wrote a couple posts summarizing 2013, with all of its good and bad. This year, I have a video summary instead. The video is a collection of one-second clips – one per day – all mashed together.

I’ve already shared this video on Facebook, but I sort of wanted to get back to blogging again…and this video seemed like a good way to get started.

Some things I’ve learned from doing this project, and more about how I put it together below.

The Year

I didn’t get started recording my video clips until Jan. 8, 2014, so I missed the first week or so of the year. When I started, I knew I would be seeing some significant life changes, but I didn’t know the extent. Renee was busy recovering from brain surgery (you can see that she is a bit spaced out in the January video clips). I knew I only had six months left at my job and would need to find something new. But I had no idea that “finding a new job” would morph into a cool job at a huge tech company, selling two houses, and moving 9 hours away from Missoula. Or making Darwin be an urban dog for two months!

The interesting thing to me is the way the video sums up all the events of the year, and seems to portray the events in chunks:

  • Renee’s brain surgery recovery.
  • Lots of snow.
  • Working on my parents’ new house in Lolo (lots of painting, supervising the new carpet, snowblowing, etc.).
  • Lots of dog walks along the river in Missoula and a little camping.
  • Preparing for the move.
  • Me moving to Seattle with just Darwin and Xena for 2 months and living in a temporary city apartment. Darwin did great as a “city dog” during that time.
  • Renee finally coming out to Seattle and us moving into our new house.

One thing that the video doesn’t show very well was our legal marriage in Spokane back in July. I have a couple shots from the trip to Spokane, but it isn’t very obvious why were were there. In retrospect, I should have grabbed a video of the courthouse or something. One irony I’ve noticed with this project – sometimes the days in which the most cool stuff happens are the days I’m most likely to forget to record a video clip.

Recording and Selecting One-Second Clips

I made the video using an app called 1 Second Everyday. It is very easy to use. Just open it up and tap the “Timelines” button and it displays a calendar. Days for which there are videos on the phone are highlighted in yellow. Tap a day, and you can review all the videos that were recorded on that day and select the 1-second clip for the day.

You can tap a button in the app to launch the video camera on the phone, but you don’t have to. I recorded most of my video normally (outside the app) and then opened the app to pick my seconds later.

On days when you forget to record video, there is an option to select a photo instead – so there are a few spots in my video with still photos. However, there is an annoying limitation with this – you can only use a photo if no video exists on that day. There were a few times when I had both video and photos for a day, and I liked a particular photo better. The only way to use that photo in that case is to delete the video from the phone first. This seems silly to me; I should be able to choose whatever best represents the day myself.

When selecting the second to use, you can fairly easily scrub through the video to choose the second to use.

Once you choose the video clip for a day, it is stored within the 1SE app, so you can delete the original video file from the phone. I was a little bit paranoid of losing data, so I always backed up all my video clips to my computer before clearing them off the phone. The downside of this paranoia was that my phone’s free space became extremely low during times when I was lazy and didn’t do these backups regularly. The other downside is that now my computer hard drive is full of short video clips, most of which are fairly meaningless on their own.

Also, of course, as the year went on, the 1SE app itself consumed more and more space. A single one-second video clip is pretty small…getting close to 365 of them adds up after a while. At the moment, I still have all the 2014 1-second clips on my phone, but I may have to clear them out eventually and only keep one year at a time.

Making the Final Movie

The 1SE app did most, but not all of the work in making this movie. At any point, you can choose to “compile” your 1-second clips into a video. The app “mashes” all the clips together into a continuous video. Note that you don’t have to do a whole year at once – you can choose a custom time interval. (As an aside, I just now discovered that a recent app update lets you create a video in reverse – starting with the most recent date and going backwards. I wonder how that would change the feel of the movie?)

The resulting movie is pretty cool even on its own, but I wanted to add music to mine. So I had to go through a bit of a rigamarole to transfer the mashed video to my computer, load it up in iMovie, then select and add the music tracks. This proved a bit more difficult than it should have been. For some reason, the video as created by 1SE would only play within the 1SE app or within the “Photos” app on my iPhone; it would not play correctly when I transferred it to iMovie on my Mac.

It must have been a formatting glitch of some sort, because I solved it after much cursing and experimenting by opening the file up in Quicktime Player [CHECK NAME OF APP], then exporting it to a new file as a 720p movie. The exported version worked fine. I have no idea why I had to do this.

This particular year it made sense to split the video across two songs – the first half (Montana) and the second (Seattle/Kirkland). I’m fairly pleased with the songs I found for this – “Ends of the Earth” by Lord Huron, and “West Coast” by Coconut Records. Both of these songs happen to be ones I discovered shortly after moving to Seattle, while still living in the temporary apartment.

The end result turned out better than I expected. I’ve already started recording my 1-second clips for 2015. I don’t expect the changes in the 2015 version to be quite so dramatic, but I’m curious to see how it turns out!