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One-Second Video: What Can Be Accomplished in a Second?

One-Second Video: What Can Be Accomplished in a Second?

Today, everybodys a filmmaker. Thats the message of director Wim Wenders (Paris, Texas and Wings of Desire among many other films, as well as music videos for U2 and The Talking Heads) as he introduces a new innovative video competition in partnership with the pen and watchmaker, MontBlanc.

Launched in September, the competition, titled The Beauty of a Second is designed to celebrate the 190th anniversary of the invention of the Chronograph by Nicolas Rieussec, which was able to record time to an accuracy of one fifth of a second, quite a feat in 1821. One of the great things about cinema is how it makes us aware of time. Each film consists of many brief moments of life that altogether create a unique and new space in time.

If youre familiar with the project, or if youre paying close attention to the tile of the competition, youll realize that the emphasis here is definitely on brief. The MontBlanc video competition is for films one second in length. As Wenders eloquently points out, every video we shoot is a series of one-second moments. But what if you as a videographer set out specifically to capture the perfect one-second on film? Would it be a moment in nature? The start of a smile on a childs face? A white shirt hanging to dry on a line? How do you capture not only a beautiful moment, but perhaps even a compelling story in just one second?

Maybe its not possible, but thats precisely the goal of this competition. And from the entries so far, it looks like many videographers are capturing great moments in very small cuts (or, more precisely, in very precise edits). Since the competition opened, the first three submission timeframes, or rounds, have been completed. As of this writing, were mid way through round four. The final round will finish on February 12th. At the conclusion of the contest, Wim Wenders will select the winning one-second film.

Once youve viewed a few dozen of the one-second clips, youll likely agree that choosing a winner seems like an impossible task. Just how good can one second of footage be? But the hosts of the website, The Beauty of a Second, provide an additional incentive for film makers and film buffs alike to join the fun. Even if you havent submitted your one second entry, you can assemble your favorite one-second films into a Playlist, thus editing together a film of up to sixty seconds, comprising sixty segments.

In our Videomaker blogs and forums weve talked frequently about outlets for creative videography and film making. Weve even reviewed the history of continuous shot films that can last as long as eight hours. This film contest from MontBlanc is clearly at the other extreme. But MontBlanc is not the only outfit with a focus on the one-second film.

The 1 Second Film is a non-profit organization that has already produced what they describe as the worlds biggest shortest film. The concept here is to produce a one-second animated film where each two frames of animation is comprised of a single collaborative painting. (Actually, the twelve paintings that compose the animated film were produced at a kick-off party years ago.) The one-second film will then be followed by a one hour credit roll, during which a making of documentary will run while all the contributors (the producers) to the non-profit will be listed.

The projects beneficiary is The Global Fund for Women. Producers, who have contributed everything from a few dollars to tens of thousands, include everyone from celebrities (Kevin Bacon, Steven Colbert, Kiefer Sutherland, and many more) to corporations (Apple, FotoKem, and others). These two projects have a couple of things in common. First, participants share a love of visual arts and experimental video. Second, both projects are profoundly rooted in a sense of collaboration. Both are worth paying attention to in 2012.

Today, everybodys a filmmaker. Thats the message of director Wim Wenders (Paris, Texas and Wings of Desire among many other films, as well as music videos for U2 and The Talking Heads) as he introduces a new innovative video competition
January 04th, 2012