2016 was a pretty momentous year for me. It was the year I packed a suitcase, said goodbye to everybody and everything I’d known my whole life, and moved 7,000 miles away from Manchester to Singapore to run a new business and start a new life.
I didn’t really have any idea what I was letting myself in for, but to document my new life and adventures (assuming I was going to have some. I did…) in Singapore, and to do another image-based challenge – plus give me something to do, since I came on my own, and didn’t know anyone in Singapore – I decided to take one second of video everyday. There’s an app called 1SE which you can use on your phone which runs it all together for you and helps you create your own video-diary-blog-thing. I was introduced to it at the end of 2015 by a client at work and I’m so glad I was, as it’s been a fab project to do.
People I’ve mentioned this project to have had various reactions. Some don’t get it, or think it’s weird. Which is fine, because I do weird things sometimes. Some freak out a bit when I say ‘let’s do a one second video’ and they don’t want to be in it. (I usually just take them anyway. I’m talking about friends mainly, not random strangers though…that would be really weird, even for me). And often people say, incredulously, one second? What can you get in one second? Ahhh. You’d be surprised; you can capture a lot more in one second than you’d think. And when you run it all together, you get an awesome snapshot into someone’s life.
A few observations from my experience:
- The app sends you several notifications a day to remind you to take a video, but after a while it becomes a habit. Having said that, I always try to get a video early on (a ‘banker’), advice I gave myself when doing my 365 project a couple of years ago, and which has served me well. You can always take another, better one, later, but it would be really annoying to forget on any given day.
- After a while, I stopped using the app to take the videos, and used my camera and uploaded them into the app later. You can select the specific second you want in either case, but this meant I didn’t need to commit to which second represented my day immediately. It also meant I had the original video stored on my phone and, I felt, gave me more flexibility.
- Phone storage can be an issue if you don’t save (on your laptop) the videos after uploading them into the app, at least if you have a phone with limited storage like I do. Or lots of other stuff saved on it, like I do. There were a few times I had to rapidly delete some music or photos to make room to do a quick video. It’s worth saying this is largely because I’m lazy and took ages to get around to uploading them onto the app. The app itself doesn’t take up a ridiculous amount of space, although obviously the size increases the more videos you add. You can delete the original video from your phone after uploading the clip you want to use, as the one second will be stored in the app. So if you do run out of storage, it’s probably because you’re lazy, like me.
- Some of the videos are wonky as they were mistakenly filmed in portrait rather than landscape. Hopefully a future app update will address this – very annoying when you realise later but can’t adjust it! I now always check I’ve filmed in landscape rather than portrait as soon as I’ve taken the video, to be on the safe side. On that note, if you’re ever taking a video on your phone – use the space, do it in landscape! If you view it on a bigger screen it looks crap in portrait mode.
- Some of the one seconds won’t have any significance to anyone except me – like when I opened my bank account, or got my employment pass. Or when I used the gym – which with hindsight was actually a pretty momentous occasion, given that it only happened twice all year. Some of them are just run of the mill things, like the train station I use everyday, or spending time with Kev and Mel, my parrots (although since it took 6 months to get them out here with me, they definitely deserved to be immortalised on film a fair amount). But I wanted to document the day to day of my life, as well as the exciting stuff. Plus, I don’t always do exciting stuff, which means you have to capture the day to day as well.
- As time goes on, you’ll notice more people in the video. Like I said earlier, I didn’t know anyone when I first moved here, so didn’t have anyone to film (sob). I also realised part way through this project it’s much more interesting to record videos of people, and not just things. Plus I had actual friends to film at that point. I’m not big on selfies, but it’s different when you have people to share the screen with you and you’re doing a quick video rather than just posing for a photo. I realise as I’m writing this, there’s actually not that much difference, but it does feel different – to me, at least.
- It’s easier (and better for your back) doing a project which uses your phone rather than having to lug your camera and kit around all the time. Although as a result of doing this project, I’ve neglected my camera and hardly used it since moving to Singapore. Must sort that out this year.
- I enjoyed it so much I’m doing it again in 2017. Wooo!
As well as my adventures – and daily routine – in Singapore, I’ve also captured snapshots of my visits to Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam, Brunei, Tokyo, Indonesia (Bintan, Jakarta, Yogyakarta, and Bali), Sydney, Phuket in Thailand, Cambodia and of course, Manchester. I’ve got my amazing family and friends in it, my beautiful birds, lots of reminders of the lovely people I’ve met in Singapore – some who I’ve only met once, and some who I am sure will be lifelong friends – the food I’ve eaten, the places I’ve visited for work and pleasure, and…despite the exorbitant prices, a lot of alcoholic beverage drinking (ahem). I think I’m going to love watching this in a few years’ time and remembering what an awesome year it was – the small things, as well as the big ones.
If you’re thinking of trying one – do it! If you don’t like it, then stop, but hopefully you’ll love it too – and let me know how you get on.
Anyway, here’s my 2016 in 6 minutes 10 seconds. And no, Mum, we are definitely not drinking shots out of a rude vessel at any point. You missed it? Have fun trying to find it. Lol.