The power of one second: Q&A with Cesar Kuriyama

Posted by: Ben Lillie

Video animator Cesar Kuriyama was selected a one of 17 finalists for the TED Full Spectrum auditions.

Cesar has been selecting one second of video from every day of his life, and editing them together into a montage that both records his life, and forces him to revaluate how he approaches each day. (Watch: his audition video.)

Last night, at the audition, he showed a first glimpse of the video, and put out the call for others to join him with their own One Second Everyday project.

He made such a strong impression that several members of the TED staff announced their intention to do exactly that. We caught up with him after the auditions to talk about his Full Spectrum experience, and to talk about how to make our own One Second Everyday videos.

How did it feel being up there?

It was a little nerve-wracking. I’m not used to speaking to very smart, creative, inspired people. I went off script from what I wanted to do initially, but I think I got the message across.

Did the night feel like you thought it would?

No. It was mentioned on stage that it was a little less formal than I’m used to watching from the conference on the website, and it helped a lot. The little comedy between the speakers helped to bring the tone to the level of, “All right, we’re all here to have fun, and to listen to these really interesting talks.” The pressure was off.

Have you talked about One Second Everyday on stage before?

No, I hadn’t even told anyone about it until TED announced the audition on the website. Once I got the e-mail I thought: Wow, this project has legs! I hadn’t told anyone. I wanted to keep it a surprise because, I don’t know, maybe I’d forget to keep recording my one second every day. I didn’t want to release the project until I had a year in the bank. But once this came along, I had to tell it.

Is it online somewhere?

Yeah, the audition tape is on my website. A lot of people will send me e-mails or messages telling me that they like the idea, and congratulating me on it. I haven’t heard anybody say it was a bad idea yet. Ever since TED announced that I would be one of the speakers, I’ve heard nothing but positive things, which only compels me to make this happen, whether I go to TED in 2012 or not. I’m going to build this website. I’m going to encourage people to do what I’m doing right now, which is record one second every day.

You said you’re going to make an app as well?

Yeah, basically an app for mobile phones, and a website that will allow people to share their compilations of one seconds. I’m going every year, but some people might want to go every three months or half-year, so I’m going to give them that option.

I’m curious to see what people do with that one second. I have certain rules for myself, like ‘first-person perspective’. Some people might just decide to do something like what people do with One Photo a Day. Something interesting, not necessarily personal but something that connects with them.

How do you do it now? And how could someone do it without a special app?

I record one second each day. About 90% is on my iPhone, sometime’s I’m on a professional shoot, and then I’ll use that. I keep a folder for everything I shoot every day. Then every two months, I’ll take all of them, and I’ll pick the one I feel best justifies it and cut it. I have a template where I can cut it into one second intervals, then I take the second and plop it onto the rest. That makes it really easy to do: just pick the one moment, and usually you already know, because it’s something special to you.

So someone could easily do this with an iPhone and iMovie or something similar?


Comments (13)

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  • Eddie Williams commented on Jun 1 2011

    im not much of a video wizard but i think 1 second everyday is doable.

  • James McBennett commented on May 25 2011

    I’m going to start making a video too! Great talk Cesar!

  • Nick Anastasi commented on May 25 2011

    Because the innovation isn’t taking 365 pictures throughout a year or recording one second at a time. The innovation is using technology to lift yourself out of the rut that is your life. Wake up, brush teeth, eat, work, eat, work more, eat, watch TV, read reddit, eat, sleep. @Gisela
    Applying the technology of mobile videography to the fabric of your life allows you to view your life from the outside. While experiencing life, we sometimes don’t even notice how little we are doing in terms of moving our lives forward toward their full potential. Time flies so to speak. However, analyzing small snippets of every single day of your life can allow you to actually live. The application is the innovation. Or at least that’s why I think this is an amazing project.

  • Paul Ramirez commented on May 25 2011


    To simply cast Cesar’s idea into the seen-that-before bucket is to overlook the very innovation that he’s trying to provide for people. Capturing our lives via photos and video is nothing new. However, the core of this idea is about the creation of a tool to help people better document (and remember) their lives with greater ease and simplicity. Having this app on one’s phone might even help serve as a constant reminder to live life to the fullest – every second of every day. Cesar is a creative toolmaker and they are the ones that truly make a profound mark on society. A smart man once said, “we change our tools, and our tools change us.” I think McLuhan was right. Thank you, Cesar, for following through on your idea and bringing it to life. I can’t wait to download your app.

  • Gisela Giardino commented on May 25 2011

    Great! I have one question… In what does this is different from the good old classic 365 projects in places like photolog or flickr… which, putting the set into a slide for 1 sec per picture would make mostly the same result. I understand there’s motion in this case, but the idea in itself… how different is one thing from another? How innovative is this? You can very well take a pic with you phone and upload it to flickr and add it to the set in a one time event, too. Hope somebody can reply to me. Thanks!

  • marty skele commented on May 25 2011

    wow!.. with great talent, comes with great success.. grats!