The incredible rise of Kickstarter was one of the defining stories of 2012 with the crowd-funding service helping to fund 34,000 projects with almost $400 million in pledges. However, despite the impressive figures, critics are still abound with many lamenting the failures of projects to fulfil their promises. A charge that cannot be levied against 1 Second Everyday.
Cesar Kuriyama’s brainchild was an instant success, managing to treble its initial funding goal. Unlike delayed projects drawing ire from critics, the app was released just a month after receiving funding on January 10. The highly organised and responsive nature of the project epitomises Kickstarter’s ideals and is a model for prospective projects, however, how does the final product stack up? Let’s find out
In the Beginning…
The subject of a fascinating TED talk, 1 Second Everyday started out as Kuriyama’s ambitious desire to catalogue his entire life in video. Even in the toughest moments, his commitment to the idea was unerring, even stoic enough to grab his iPhone during several hospital visits to record even unhappy memories. Now it’s our turn.
Personally, I find it difficult to stick to pledges like taking a photograph every day or keeping a journal or not hitting snooze most mornings. But somehow it feels different with 1 Second. The project has real meaning, a sort of gravitas beyond that of the typical app found on most home screens. Watching other users’ compilations really enforces the profundity the app can bring about, an effect observable by listening to Kuriyama’s rationale. The fact the app can have such an effect on someone helps provide the impetus required to add to the memory bank every day.
How Does it Work?
The concept itself is fairly self-explanatory with the app clearly designed to retain that air of simplicity. A daily one-second recording of something interesting, significant or merely indicative of any given day to be collated into one showreel of one’s life. Capturing each second can be done from within the app itself, however, I found it easier to use the native camera app for quick shots on the fly as it is possible to import from the camera roll.
Videos are not required to be exactly one-second in length as the built-in editor allows for any frame to be selected from a longer video. This feature obviously allows for the best shots to be used for the compilation, although personally I have been using the editor to find the best portions of audio to highlight conversation of atmosphere.
The calendar displays every snippet of video attached to individual days with an orange highlight attached to days on which a video has been taken but not edited. For perfectionists like myself, missing a day can be terribly frustrating and, as of writing, there is no way to add backdated videos after the day has passed. However, It is possible to add an image or text to blank days as a last resort; something of an unfortunate dilution of the project when it would be so simple to allow videos to be added retrospectively.
Once a solid bank of snippets has been created, they can stitch them together to create a surprisingly short compilation. Although one second is still a good length, the ability to alter the default length would be fantastic. When “mashing” the entries together, it is possible to select only specific days rather than the full timeline; in any case, all finished movies are stored internally and can viewed via the reel icon or exported to the camera roll.
The app features a handy set of notifications that remind you to record your daily second. However, unlike the average alarm, 1 Second only allows for approximate times to be set making alerts more surprising and more likely to be acted upon — at least for me, that is.
General Performance & Design
Although the app’s quick release is commendable, it is questionable whether it was actually ready to be so. Despite having received an expedited v1.01 update from Apple, it has taken another recent update to fully address its speed and stability problems. Having said that, the latest update has made significant improvements to the app’s performance and, despite a couple minor issues, it is a pleasure to use.
In my testing of the latest version the issues I came across were confined to loading speed and an occasional period of unresponsiveness. Although I am running iOS 6.0, the developer did hint in his release notes that iOS 5 users may not see the best levels of performance on their devices and perhaps it’s time for an upgrade.
In terms of design and interface there isn’t a great deal to expand upon. Every feature can be located from the turquoise navigation bar, including access to social network sharing capabilities. As is commonplace my favourite aspects of the app’s design lie with oft-overlooked minutiae. Specifically, the way compilations display the dates of each successive snippet during playback may not be a blockbuster feature but it adds a degree of elegance and really makes viewing seem memorable.
Any method of collecting memories that makes the process easier is a welcome one in my eyes. However, 1 Second is something different entirely. Sure, it makes saving memories easier, but its real value lies with its format. Not only can you view a small portion of everyday but you can hear the memories and get just a little reminder of that day’s atmosphere — good or bad. It is apps like this that can really help change lives; apps that lie right at the intersection of technology and real life.
It is a rare occasion that any app is perfect upon release and 1 Second Everyday certainly wasn’t, but I’m glad that it’s problems have been rectified. Whilst the core feature set is good, it has become apparent that there are a few additions that could make it truly great with the ability to retrospectively add video to missing days being number one on that list. 1 Second may well be one of the greatest apps you will ever use and it may well change the way you look at life.