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Author Topic: Why you should record video of the everyday people in your life  (Read 5162 times)

mouser

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I wanted to post about an experience I had recently that surprised me.

About 25 years ago, the year before i went to college, i bought a video camera and spent the next couple of years recording a lot of video of everyday life.  Mostly i would just set up the camera in the corner and let it record various things.  Sometimes just sitting around talking, sometimes parties, etc.

I hadn't watch the recordings in decades but recently watched many as I transferred the tapes to DVD.

I was stunned by the experience of hearing the voices and seeing the video of these places and people from my past.

It is amazing how clear the memories become of the people and places when aided by a bit of video, and how quickly it transports you back in time to those days, and how much information comes back to mind when looking at these videos.

One thing that I experienced when viewing these videos is how little interest i had for the "events" that were recorded -- the "performances".. Instead what I really appreciated was just the moments spent having an everyday conversation with old friends and family members -- to experience the normal everyday conversations and personalities.

I know everyone has a video recording feature on their phones -- but I encourage you (especially those of you who are still young) to consider buying a video camera and setting it up to record some long periods of just everyday normal living, with your friends and family.. As boring as it might be to watch now, in 30 years those boring moments may become the most precious valuable things you can imagine.

allen

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Re: Why you should record video of the everyday people in your life
« Reply #1 on: July 09, 2013, 10:06:14 AM »
I have email going back decades . . . and more often than not find revisiting my youth quite uncomfortable. . . I can't imagine video evidence of how much I have/had to learn.

Tinman57

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Re: Why you should record video of the everyday people in your life
« Reply #2 on: July 09, 2013, 04:11:11 PM »

  There have been many times that I have tried remembering the name of a friend from my youth.  This would surely solve that problem....   8)

IainB

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Re: Why you should record video of the everyday people in your life
« Reply #3 on: July 09, 2013, 07:33:38 PM »
   Yes, @mouser makes a very interesting point.
   Relatively recent research confirms that when we are doing mundane stuff to which we actually pay little attention (because we don't need to for survival), we become unaware of what is occurring around us, and so our brain does not store memory of those events that we are surrounded by (because it doesn't need to). Thus, you can (say) drive 30km or so on your daily commute to or from work, and be surprised that the time has passed so quickly and that you don't recall the trip.
   The explanation of what has happened is:
  • (a) that you were not in a state of awareness, and so your brain has not recorded the memory of the trip;
  • (b) your perception of time passing is only active whilst your brain is recording events through your state of awareness.

   So, when you leave your video recorder running, you might well be recording a mundane series of events, but, because those events in all probability will not be being recorded by your (unaware) brain, when you watch the video playback, it will be the first time that you become truly aware of what occurred - even though you were there at the time.
   Meditation provides an interesting angle on this. Various forms of meditation teach you to use focus of attention (awareness) on a particular thing to learn more about yourself. For example, meditate on a rose and consider its natural beauty, and you will rarely look at a rose as "just a flower" ever again. You will have learned to be aware of the rose and conscious of the characteristic of beauty in nature.
   Similarly, transcendental meditation trains you to use the thought of the imagined sound of your voice repeating a mantra, as a point of total focus for your conscious awareness, thus excluding your awareness of any other thoughts/senses.
   I have seen this absolute focus of awareness in my own experience of real physical danger - e.g., when tackling a difficult downhill ski run - when time literally seems to slow down and things seem to happen in slow motion, as one's brain is furiously becoming aware of every single event in order to help you to survive. It's an adrenalin buzz.

   When you start to learn meditation, you realise how unaware you usually are. It's like we are alive, but not aware of our life events. Some events we take photos and videos of, because we consider them to be "memorable" and wish to retain a photographic memory of them. But looking at a photo of a beautiful sunset is nowhere near the same as being focussed on and aware of that sunset and experiencing every passing moment through our several senses as it unfolds in its beauty.
   You cannot live your life through the two-dimensional medium of a camera lens and its photo - as so many Japanese tourists seem to want to do!    ;)

This is referred to in the movie Joe Versus the Volcano, where the character Patricia Graynamore says:
Quote
"My father says that almost the whole world is asleep. Everybody you know. Everybody you see. Everybody you talk to. He says that only a few people are awake, and they live in a state of constant, total amazement."

Thus Living life = (is equivalent to) being consciously aware of what is happening.

@mouser's video idea is a good way of retrospectively reviewing mundane parts of your life when you might have been in an unaware state.
Coincidentally, I started using my digital video camera for this a couple of years ago, and am still experimenting with it. The possibility of recording large chunks of mundane life like this on video has been enabled through the development and use of what are now low cost and very large flash RAM storage devices.

superboyac

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Re: Why you should record video of the everyday people in your life
« Reply #4 on: July 09, 2013, 07:42:54 PM »
cool thread.  :up:

mouser

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Re: Why you should record video of the everyday people in your life
« Reply #5 on: July 09, 2013, 08:02:00 PM »
The beautiful thing about modern sd/flash memory card based video cameras is that you can get cards that can hold 24hrs of video.. wheras in the old days the best you could hope for was a big box of tapes that you had to change every 2 hours.

IainB

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Re: Why you should record video of the everyday people in your life
« Reply #6 on: July 09, 2013, 09:04:23 PM »
The beautiful thing about modern sd/flash memory card based video cameras is that you can get cards that can hold 24hrs of video.. wheras in the old days the best you could hope for was a big box of tapes that you had to change every 2 hours.
Yes, which is eggsactly why I would not use that older technology, but am really happy about using the newer technology - especially when it comes accompanied with the newer 1080HD resolution and associated built-in camera anti-shake, zoom, auto-this & that & everythng, etc.

superboyac

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Re: Why you should record video of the everyday people in your life
« Reply #7 on: July 09, 2013, 09:42:29 PM »
IainB...you're a really interesting person.  I just had to say that.

fredemeister

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Re: Why you should record video of the everyday people in your life
« Reply #8 on: August 17, 2013, 07:52:43 PM »
My experience was from my mother-in-law who died at 84yrs after a stroke, which came after 6 years of dementia.  She could remember her early life - from about 4years old - until she was about 60yrs, but nothing after that.  My wife is one of seven children, and my mother-in-law was one of 14 children.  She gave up her life at 21 to return home and look after 8 siblings after both her parents died.

She married twice, having all children from her first husband.

We wanted to look after her when she got sick, and while we had many, many difficulties from her dementia we also had many, many laughs.  [ASIDE - In NZ our emergency service phone number is 111, and we had several call charged to that service when they should have been free - and we did not make them.  For a while we wondered what had happened, and why they were on our bill, so we called them to query he charges - if the Emergency Services Call Centre thinks the call is frivolous, as we had repeated called them, they charge $8.00 per call.  Apparently when the call came through there was no talking, just background noise - TV etc.  After a while we realised m-i-l was using the digital, wireless phone as a TV remote, as her favourite channel was Channel 1.  So she pressed 1-1-1 without any response from the TV.  Hilarious now we had the reason.]

However, we made lots of small video files over the years as my wife wanted to know the "who, how, why, when, where" and so on of things that had happened in her childhood; how certain people were related to her; how they stored food; how they prepared certain dishes, what natural medical remedies they used, and so on.  This took all of three years and continued when my wife's sister took a share in helping out, but we now have a video library that not only includes practical stuff, but also lots of time of her talking "in the flesh" so to speak.

This library has been well used, and copied for any family member who wanted it.

It took a lot of time and effort and some small cost, but the result is invaluable and irreplaceable.  While we remember people - in our memories, on film or in pictures, they are never gone.

So while this is different to mouser's post, we share similar experiences and good thoughts.

Just my 2c worth, but I strongly recommend doing this before it's too late.

mouser

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Re: Why you should record video of the everyday people in your life
« Reply #9 on: August 17, 2013, 07:59:42 PM »
Awesome post, fredemeister:up:

IainB

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Re: Why you should record video of the everyday people in your life
« Reply #10 on: August 21, 2013, 02:19:05 AM »
^^ Yes, @fredemeister makes some rather useful points about using modern video technology to catch family - and other - history recounted as perceived by those older family members who had lived through those earlier times before we were born. This got me thinking (again) about the scope for current video technology in society and what might be an "ideal" approach to take at a personal level, as I have had similar experience of trying to collect this kind of history, but from existing and new audio recordings, and silent video recordings, and actual audio-video recordings, and also transcripts of speech/spoken memories.

There is a distinction I would make here between 3 categories of use :
  • (a) Intrinsically personal remembrance: what the opening post refers to - recording video of the everyday people in your life - and the impact of watching those video recordings - of relatively mundane bits of life:
    ...I was stunned by the experience of hearing the voices and seeing the video of these places and people from my past.
    It is amazing how clear the memories become of the people and places when aided by a bit of video, and how quickly it transports you back in time to those days, and how much information comes back to mind when looking at these videos.

    ...As boring as it might be to watch now, in 30 years those boring moments may become the most precious valuable things you can imagine.
    Examples of this would be the many family/personal audio/video recordings that people may have made over the years.

  • (b) Deliberate remembrance/chronicling: the deliberate act of making audio/video recordings of an aged person recounting their recollection of history from memory and as perceived/recalled through their senses/paradigms.
    ...So while this is different to mouser's post, we share similar experiences and good thoughts.
    Just my 2c worth, but I strongly recommend doing this before it's too late.
    Examples of this would be many, and could include @fredemeister's audio-video recordings of his mother-in-law, and audio recordings my brother made (using a Dictaphone) of aged relatives talking about various things.

  • (c) Planned or coincidental audio/video recordings of certain events as they occur - for posterity.
    Examples of this could include:
    • The 1969 US Apollo 11 first manned mission to land on the Moon.
    • The many binaural recordings made and broadcast by BBC radio and TV starting (I think) in the late '70s or early '80s, and now moving into a form of "surround sound" (binaural is best experienced if you listen using headphones).
    • Personal and other video/CCTV footage of the 2011 Tōhoku (Japan) earthquake and tsunami.
    • Personal and other video/CCTV footage of earthquake events (there were some good ones of a Wellington quake this month).
    • Personal and other video/CCTV footage of the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing and subsequent events.
    • Bystander's/victims' phone video footage of the 7/7/2005 London Metro jihadist bombings.
    • Bystander's phone video footage, made at the request of the Woolwich jihadist, of his monologue of reasoning and religious motivation ("...many, many ayah throughout the Qu'ran") for beheading the soldier Lee Rigby.
    • Audio-video footage of US and Israeli military drone weapons strikes/surveillance.
    • Police lapel-mic recordings.
    • Police dashcam and lapel-camera video footage.
    • Civilian lapel-camera video footage (some apparently in protection from potential illegal police action).
    • Russian civilian dashcam video footage of road accidents.
    • General civilian dashcam video footage - e.g., of a large meteor and of an aircraft crash.
    • Pieced-together personal cyclecam video footage to illustrate a problematic real-life situation, as in this excellent (silent) video here - Angles morts - YouTube.


      ________________________

   At a global level, there has been an enormously wide, beneficial social impact from the use of the above technology. For example, our society is already benefiting by knowledge being gained from the fact that much of the video news we see captured - e.g., as in (say) YouTube video clips from citizens around the world - is enabling us to break free of the binds of cynical censorship, repression and even manufacture of news we are fed from the highly politicised MSM (MainStream Media) and which news is arguably replete with propaganda to tell us not only what to think, but also how to think.
   A good recent example of this would probably be the highlighting of apparently deliberate under-reporting of the persecution of Christians (read religious "cleansing", as in rape/torture/killing of Christian men, women and children) and burning of now 50+ Christian churches and  that apparently has been going on in Egypt for over a year now in the so-called "Arab Spring", and which has apparently accelerated rapidly in the current phase of civil unrest and rioting.
   However, at a purely personal level, whilst it seems that the technological advances that have made good quality audio-video recording easy, ubiquitous and relatively cheap in all 3 (a, b, c) of the above categories, and I would love to have (say) a decent lapel-video camera - preferably one that live-streamed everything to the cloud, as well as into local storage - I do not overlook the importance and use of audio-video as being data. From that individual perspective and as an observer, I reckon that the lowest common denominator - the audio component - should not be overlooked.
   Audio data is really easily and inconspicuously collected, and - unlike video - does not so easily risk causing the observed to become self-conscious and change their behaviours. For example, I have succeeded in gathering some beautiful audio recordings of my children - talking by themselves or amongst ourselves, or whilst playing or bed-time reading - which might have been more difficult to achieve if a camera had been in evidence or had to be set up. Furthermore, audio recordings can go into my OneNote notebooks where they are promptly searched for intelligible words, and then indexed, so you can search on it all later. This is not quite as good as OneNote does for all/any legible text it OCRs and extracts from images, but it's not bad.
   The point here is that - from a data acquisition, search and management perspective - audio currently seems to be potentially a lot more usable than video. That's why I usually have my trusty Samsung GT-B2710 cellphone to hand. It has a very sensitive electret microphone which gives it a wide area of capture around the phone, and it's umpteen Gbs of memory can record hours of audio, though its camera/video technology probably leaves a lot to be desired.

Renegade

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Re: Why you should record video of the everyday people in your life
« Reply #11 on: August 21, 2013, 09:21:21 AM »
I bought a Samsung HMX-S16BP, and it's really nice. My wife and I pull it out regularly and take videos of our daughter. Today we videoed her just walking around and laughing. She was having a wonderful time just walking from my office/her nursery/our living room through the hall to our bedroom, back and forth. Just showing off how well she can walk now. It was hilarious to hear her giggle and laugh as she walked around.

But, we take videos of those kinds of things all the time. They're often very short - 2 minutes or 5 minutes. But, we'll have those for a long time.

Being the compression junkie that I am, we always film in the maximum possible resolution and quality. You can always make it smaller, but you can NEVER make it bigger. (Well, let's not get into that - for all intensive purposes, I'm right and only preaching the compression gospel there.)

We also take a lot of still photos.



A sad reflection on who/what we are/have become...
On the generic topic about very young children...

The idea of taking pictures and videos of your children is very natural.

I remember, as anyone who has been to Korea will likely also remember, for years and years and years in Itaewon a photo studio on the corner opposite the Hamilton Hotel had a big picture in the window of an infant/toddler boy buck naked and showing just what a good little "boy" he was. Right here:

https://maps.google....bp=12,208.58,,1,5.44

Here's a .com link:

https://maps.google....bp=12,208.58,,1,5.44

I knew that it was common for grandma or even sometimes female friends of the family to "check the boy's junk". It's not a sexual thing - it's just what it is. "Oh, what a wonderful little boy!"

But in the West, a portrait of your little one like that is a criminal offence. You go to prison for that. It struck me how perverse things are in how some people think. How is it that a normal bit of life is somehow "criminal"?

I've seen mothers hold their very young toddler daughters over a sewer to take a pee, and seen mothers hold down their toddler son's pants by a sewer grate to do the same.

When I think of that, if I were the father there, that would be a great moment to capture on film. Can you imagine your parents showing you that when you're 20 or 30? Wouldn't it make a hilarious clip for a stag or doe party?

Sure, it might be embarrassing when you're 20-something at a family party when you have friends along, but when you're at your friends' parties, and the same thing is there? It's just hilarious! Here's mouser/IainB/Renegade/fredemeister/superboyac/allen/Tinman57 at 2 years old taking a whiz! It's like a fart joke! Everyone farts! It could be an entirely hilarious/embarrassing bit for a sweet-16 party! HAHA! You pissed on your mother's purse! You turned around and peed on your dad! :P :D Stuff like that.

When it comes to photography/videography, I just remember those things, and then think about the puritanical, paranoid, legalistic, sick society that we live in. It's sad.

Slow Down Music - Where I commit thought crimes...

Freedom is the right to be wrong, not the right to do wrong. - John Diefenbaker

Stoic Joker

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Re: Why you should record video of the everyday people in your life
« Reply #12 on: August 21, 2013, 12:45:10 PM »
+1 on the sad reflection. Society is wound way too tight for their own good ... I honestly think they cause half the problems with their constantly repressive nonsense. If it's part of nature (e.g. natural), why is it such a problem?

Vurbal

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Re: Why you should record video of the everyday people in your life
« Reply #13 on: August 21, 2013, 01:52:12 PM »
I really should record a lot more video since my visual memory is practically non-existent. I can just barely conjure up an image of my wife or kids. My mom not so much and my dad who died when I was 16 not at all really. I could describe them in mind numbing detail but no pictures. Mostly it's  because my working memory drops almost everything before it's in my head long enough to get to short term memory.

And the only sensory information my brain routinely blocks out is human voices. Except when I'm on the phone or really involved in a conversation I have to concentrate so hard on listening that the focus required to remember is pretty much impossible.
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superboyac

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Re: Why you should record video of the everyday people in your life
« Reply #14 on: August 21, 2013, 08:17:23 PM »
I really should record a lot more video since my visual memory is practically non-existent. I can just barely conjure up an image of my wife or kids. My mom not so much and my dad who died when I was 16 not at all really. I could describe them in mind numbing detail but no pictures. Mostly it's  because my working memory drops almost everything before it's in my head long enough to get to short term memory.

And the only sensory information my brain routinely blocks out is human voices. Except when I'm on the phone or really involved in a conversation I have to concentrate so hard on listening that the focus required to remember is pretty much impossible.

whoa!