August 21st 2016
Today I started re-watching the playlist of YouTube videos I made when I was travelling around Europe. One year ago today I was in Amsterdam, navigating through the canals on a pedalo. Today I had breakfast in a Wetherspoons then went and led in bed all day. I put on the travelling videos and Alice and I sat and reminisced. It felt like a lifetime ago, when in reality it was only twelve months.
The videos from the first week or so of travelling are really quite bad. My camera work is shoddy and the editing is sloppy, and the screen resolution is 360p maximum. For the first month every single video was filmed, shot, and uploaded on my iPhone. I didn’t decide that I wanted to film the whole thing until the day before we left, so I didn’t have an alternative tactic in place.
If we did the whole thing again now, I’d take a DSLR and a MacBook. I’d take a suitcase instead of a rucksack, and everything would feel a lot less amateur. Production quality improved later on in the trip when I bought a camera and got slightly better at editing the footage. And then the videos actually get okay towards the end of the trip. By the time I got round to editing and uploading the videos from the final few weeks I’d already been home for three months, and could edit on my Mac and upload in 1080p from 5G wifi.
That being said, I’m glad that I have the videos in any form, because without them I’d struggle to remember half the stuff we did. The visuals served as a prompt for the memories, and as soon as I can picture myself in that place on that day I can almost relive it.
Because I was limited to my iPhone as my solitary piece of kit, I had to edit and upload the footage and then delete it from my phone as soon as I was done. So for a month or so the only footage I have is the final video. For everywhere we went after I bought a camera (I actually bought four cameras, but that’s a different story) I have a more comprehensive library of footage, but for a third of the trip I have four minutes of memories each day.
We talked about how that four minutes, whilst showing everything we did, also shows nothing at all. If you think that we’re awake for, say, 12 hours a day, and that day is condensed down into four minutes of footage, then there’s a whole lot of stuff that happened that isn’t on camera. So it was annoying to have to resort to deleting clips when I was done with them, but those were the limitations of my gear.
Although the videos are amateur (and cringy), and they’ve only ever been viewed by my family, they’re precious to me. Whilst we were away a four minute video took all day to film, two hours to edit, and eight hours to upload. I’d record everything that I could whilst we were out and about (memory space permitting) edit it before we went to bed, and then upload it over night. In the morning, if the upload was successful I’d delete everything from my phone and start the new day’s filming.
It was a lot of effort, and perhaps in some ways it detracted from my experience. Perhaps that’s why towards the end of the trip, although I continued to film everything, I left the editing until I was back in England.
But I have a complete videographical diary of our twelve weeks away. Today we watched the first two weeks, and we went through a range of emotions. Embarrassed because of the shocking camera work, sad because of the sense of longing for a time where we were at our most happy, in hysterical laughter because of a sequence of footage that we’d forgotten about, and in awe of some of the amazing things we did.
I often give myself a hard time because I take on too many projects and never complete them all. But I finished that project, eventually. I am happy and proud of the videos I made, and it’s complete. And now, at my will and convenience I can look back on a time where everything was perfect, and nothing hurt.
Until tomorrow, the videos can be found here, for the record.