Matt and Nell's Wedding Video

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I was absolutely thrilled and honored to be able to take part in Matt and Nell's wedding in Houston, TX this past weekend. Matt and Nell have been dear friends for years and they are some of the nicest, most generous, and amazing people I know.

During my time there, I shot about 90 minutes worth of video, which I then condensed into the 5-minute video above.  Everything was shot using 60 fps, and some footage was slowed to 24 fps. The video was shot entirely handheld, using a Canon 60D and a 50mm f/1.4 lens.I agonized over which lens/body to bring with me, and what other equipment might be necessary. In the end, I went with something light-weight and simple, and I think the final setup allowed me to grab a few more shots than I would have if I'd used a bulkier setup.

Music via PremiumBeat with some color grading help from Color Grading Central.

Happy Father's Day

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It takes courage to fly your family to the other side of the world and head into an uncertain future. It takes courage to start a new restaurant business when the margins are thin and the failure rate is high. It takes courage to pour your time, energy, love, and resources into raising two boys when you'll have no idea how they'll turn out, or whether they'll get involved with frivolous pursuits that you might not have envisioned for them, like podcasting or web development. My dad is one of the most courageous people I know.

Happy Father's Day, y'all.

One Year in the Life of David Chen

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Here it is. After endless seconds recorded and a dozen hours of editing, I've finally completed this video that features one second for every single day of this year of my life. I don't know how much I have to add beyond the previous blog posts I've made on this topic, but a few lessons learned come to mind:

- The biggest challenge is to continue making seconds each day. It becomes exhausting to either a) create interesting moments, or b) find unique images in day-to-day life. As days went by, my motivation started to waver, as did my willingness to pull out a camera whenever something spectacular was happening. In these moments, I had to trust that the final product would be worth it. But to be sure, when I show this to people and they get excited about doing it themselves, the one thing that I warn them about is to make sure they have the commitment and discipline to take this project to its completion.

- On that note, recording food became a huge temptation. The reason for this is because if you think about it, food is one of the few things that is noticeably different from day to day, especially if you work a regular 9-5 job. It was an easy fallback, a crutch. As a result, more shots of food ended up in the final video than I probably would have preferred.

- Storing, organizing, and editing the video snippets became onerous. If you attempt this project, I'd strongly recommend you update the video every few months or so, rather than doing them in one fell swoop at the end. Cesar Kuriyama's 1 Second Every Day app apparently automates this entire process to a huge extent.

- Watching and editing this video was an emotional experience. I remembered profound moments that I might've otherwise forgotten. I re-lived moments of lasting significance. My heart broke while contemplating the connections I've lost, and swelled at the relationships gained. More importantly, the project encouraged me to try to live life to its fullest - to find beauty in every day, and in the subtle moments that we might not think of. I might not have always succeeded, but I tried. In the end, the production of the project became as worthwhile as the final product.

- I'm still looking for a way to go beyond this project. One Second Everyday can convey a lot, but I still find it restrictive and wish there were a better way to capture my life and the lives of those around me in a way that will result in a watchable, enjoyable final product. Oftentimes it's within significant constraints that art is made. I'm just searching and hoping to try out some different constraints in the near future (let me know if you have any ideas!)

- I've put together a version of this video that features a no audio except for a soundtrack backing it. I'll release it later. I'm pretty happy with the version featuring a soundtrack, but I think this version with audio is the definitive version.

- If I were to title the video, I'd go with this: Huge Stretches of Monotony, Punctuated by Moments of Awesomeness. Perhaps that's an apt description for many of our lives.

On a personal note, it's been an absolutely crazy year. I changed jobs, changed lives, changed everything I've ever known. The least I can do is thank the people who appeared in these seconds or made them possible. They have made my life in Seattle what it is and have inarguably changed it for the better.