Design Process Of: Documenting My Tokyo Trip Using 1 Second Clips


This is a video of my trip to Tokyo from March 2018. I filmed a few dozen 1 second clips throughout each day of my trip and edited them together as a personal reminder of my experience. It also allowed me to share my adventures with friends and family in a format so much more emotional and meaningful than still images. (Click the image above to view the full video.)


I got to go to Toyko as part of a week-long university trip in my first year at UWE, Bristol. For two months prior to the trip I’d been using the one second everyday app, (1SE) which allows users to capture a second of footage on their phone each day and place it into a chronological diary to look back on as a memory. I like the concept and had been using it to start recording my months, then exporting them, editing them further with music and titles, and uploading them to YouTube. As a very nostalgic and sentimental person this was great for me and I’d already created two videos for the January and February of that year. It’s quicker and more authentic than vlogging but more emotive than most still images.

Usually I like to plan things a long time in advance but the night before the trip I was thinking to myself that when you get home from a trip or event, you look back on your nice photos, but they’re all just static moments in time and if people are present, usually posed for. This can quite frankly be a bit boring after several images and it gives you no sense of what it was actually like to be there. It’s even worse looking at someone else’s holiday stills of a trip you weren’t even on! This gave me the idea to undertake a small project while I was on my trip to Japan (especially as it was the first time I’d been on an airplane).


So, from the moment I left my flat early on Monday morning, to the minute I flopped back on my bed when I got back on Sunday evening, I kept a video diary of my daily events. I started a ‘freestyle album’ on the 1SE app which allows you to add as many seconds as you want for as many days as you want and export it at the end. I recorded individual seconds from many things that happened each day, both exciting like my trip to Studio Ghibli and view from Skytree, to the mundane like my food on the plane and the dragging of suitcases

I did my best to make sure the filming didn’t impose on my experiences in the moment and I think I did a good job, as taking a little candid second or two of footage was quicker than taking a posed photo. Then, every night before I went to sleep, I would open the app and place in my seconds in chronological order. I did this each day so everything was fresh in my mind and I could choose the perfect clip or two to represent how that moment felt. On average I captured about 30 seconds a day and when I got home, I exported it, edited it with two complementing soundtracks that ran nicely into each other, made an opening title and added a closing message. I uploaded it to Youtube for friends and family to see and I was really happy with the result. The video came out at 5 minutes and everyone I speak to about it says it gives a real sense of being alive and actually present in the moment with me. It’s emotive and paints a much more representative picture of my experience, including the many wonders I saw as well as the lesser things like travelling, which when a second long, become interesting snapshots of life.

For the duration of our trip we stayed in a hostel in Asakusa. During the week, friends and I visited the Sensō-ji temple and surrounding gardens. We went to the local markets, then explored further out to parks, gardens and small galleries. We even went to the famous Shibuya Crossing and the top of Skytree, allowing us to look down on the city from above. Doing a degree in graphic design meant we were also there to explore professional practice in Tokyo too and I was lucky enough to visit several design studios and hear many professionals talk about their work and Japanese culture.

Mid-week we met and heard from the illustrator Luis Mendo, who spoke to a few of us in the Sorama gallery and coffee shop. Originally a graphic designer who emigrated to Japan 20 years ago, Mendo’s talk was a fascinating mix of mix of graphics, illustration and Japanese culture.

We took a trip down to Studio Ghibli (having booked tickets long before the trip) and saw some of the incredible workings of the studio that produced some of the world’s most iconic anime, such as “My Neighbour Totoro” and “Castle In The Sky”. Exploring the artistry of Tokyo-pm, the interior design studio and restaurant was an amazing insight into Japanese architectural and edible culture.


We visited the Nosigner studio on the outskirts of Tokyo. They’re a small studio but ended up designing a book that became one of the biggest publishing projects in Japan, with 8 million copies ordered and issued by the government. The book was a guide that helped people prepare for future disasters like the earthquake and tsunami caused back in 2011. Nosigner focus on social change and democratised design which is really important as a graphic designer.

Another studio we got to hear from was AQ Studio. Started 13 years ago by two guys from Japan and the USA. They mainly focus on research methods like surveys to find the genuine problems with existing design so it can be improved, not just redesigning the same old stuff with new glossy covers. This was a really valuable and varied talk which I’m glad I attended.


Trips are over so fast and can feel like a blur. I feel my video of the trip has such a personal voice, it’s unlike anything I’d done before and I’m so glad I did it, because I’ll be able to look back on it for ever and remember what an incredible cultural and creative experience I had.

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