Memory Idea/Process/Development

The following is my thoughts and ideas for my ‘memory’ project, but first I’d like to talk about my initial idea that kind of just fell apart and that was filming for Britain in a day.

I found out about the project a while ago but wished to decide whether I wanted to do it or not until after I had watched ‘Life In A Day’. After really enjoying the documentary I really wanted to get involved in this project. The 12th was also the date I had planned to meet up with a friend I hadn’t seen for a while anyways so I felt the two could compliment each other quite well and after discussing the idea with my friend I decided i’d go for our day/night out as we were anyways (with maybe a couple extra stops at places we wouldn’t have gone to) and use that for the project.

When it came to that on the day though, I realised a few things almost immediately when i went to film. I arrived at the train station to go to birmingham alone, One thing I seemed to struggle with was getting good shots on the train, I know I wouldn’t have this problem if I wasn’t on my own. When I actually arrived in birmingham I met up with my friend and we began filming, the idea was that we’d just go have a look around and film that for a bit, so that involved us going in a few shops (i didn’t film in the shops for various potential permission problems) but I realised quite quickly that whenever I took the camera out and pressed record I was taking myself out or changing the experience. After about an hour and a half I had in my mind at least pretty much given up on filming for this because I realised I wouldn’t be able to capture this day without dramatically altering the day itself. I found this in itself quite interesting, I can honestly say I had a great day on 12.11.11 but this was in spite of filming any of it. I felt this could be a great inspiration for a project as I found myself linking this idea of the best memories being uncaptured to a number of things in my life. For example when I first started going music concerts I always made sure to capture a good portion of it on camera, now I realise that actually the experience is much better if the camera is away for the gig (although i still occasionally get the odd photo) or how the best nights out with mates or even your best mates you will have no pictures of (my best friends from back home and me probably have about 6 maybe 7 pictures with each other over the course of 5 or so years.)

Are the best memories we have, the ones that we didn't stop to capture?

So I had a few ideas for this personal idea of the best memories being uncaptured but couldn’t decide on the best way to portray this idea, I had an idea about using a load of out of focus or faded photos and videos or by litteraly having a screen of black and maybe recording a soundscape of a number of potential backdrops to potential locations for great memories (was thinking of loud chatter and glassed clashing to symbolise a pub for example or the sound of a guitar tuning up to symbolise gig memories etc)

But I decided against both of these this afternoon when a discussion was brought up about old formats (in this case it was the change from film in amateur filmmaking to digital recording.) I’m not 100% sure but it brought me an idea almost instantly (a proper lightbulb moment) I had the idea to use an old fashioned technology in the modern age to show what people are ‘missing’ out on.

My idea is to create a collaborative mixtape and I mean it in the old fashioned way, I aim to record it onto cassette tape, I have asked people to choose one song and one song alone that they feel is relevant to themselves or how they have or currently do experience the world. below is the full statement I have posted on various forums.

“Okay i’ve got a idea for a short project but it really needs some input 🙂 If you’d like to help me out, all I want at the moment is a message telling me ONE song that’s either important to you or you feel relates to you in some way and a short explanation as to why. (could be an experience, a memory or how you view yourself, whatever so long as it’s personal to you) I will then be creating a mixtape the old fashioned way with the songs I get (or a selection if i have too many) 🙂 I may ask you to appear in the film for a few mins if you are in the area and will hopefully have a listening party if i get this done on time 🙂 cheers to anyone that can/will help”

I was hoping to get original CD’s of peoples songs that they wished to use but due to time restraints i’ll probably cheat in terms of getting these songs

Mentioned in the workshops and lectures was this idea of nostalgia and how our memories of a certian time always seem much better looking back than when you actually lived it. I certianly feel like this for my idea, there is no way I would continue to listen to cassette tape in this day and age as it’s just not practical at all, I honestly hated cassette tapes when I was younger in general because of how often they seemed to get tangled in my old tape player but also genuienly believe that digital music consumption is missing something that the cassette could offer that even vinyl and CD couldn’t do for the prosumer and that was make creating a playlist a craft and therefore making the finalised product mean that much more. I used to make mixtapes when I was younger and I realised recently how we are really missing things like this in the modern age. A spotify playlist is just too easy, there’s no real effort involved, A cassette mixtape requires the creator to actually listen to the music, if they want to get the most out of it they must plan the mix around the limitations of the medium itself, for example for this project I’ve already got an idea of splitting different moods for Side. A and B. but most importantly the tape is physical, if you give this to someone it represents work and says that you actually thought about what you are doing.

For this project, I aim to make this a social event, I’m hoping a good few of my answers will be from cov students because I wish to film 2 things if this mixtape is done on time. I plan to film a listening ‘premier’ and get people discussing the different songs (maybe guessing reasons behind the songs or leaving the person behind it to explain it.) I also feel this makes the art of listening to music more of a social event ‘like the good old days?’ so could be interesting to film from that POV aswell. and also I’m aiming to get people to design their own ‘cover art’ for the tape with their own personal message forming part of the design (i’m not expecting great art) I managed to get myself some cassette tapes today (I know i was amazed places still sell them too) and will book the radio studio to record this mixtape on friday. I aim to play a cheap tape deck for the listening party which will hopefully take place on sunday. Thoughts would be greatly appreciated on this project and if you read this soon after the posted date, I’d love your own song and reason. I’m glad to say I have a lot of variety so far in both music types and personal reasons.

16th Nov 2011

(Edited to include process of idea development after this stage)

When i decided to go forward with this project I immediately started looking at tech to make this project work, I looked round and managed to find a fairly cheap tape recorder at a charity shop and also some blank cassette tapes at wilkinsons. I went on to ask one question on twitter and facebook to try and get as many responses as I could. the responses to these are in my video and research post. When i felt like I had enough answers I decided to make the playlist online before making it into a mixtape, the reason for this was so I could get a feel for the playlist before deciding if the track ordering ‘felt’ right, I did make sure to keep to the tapes memory limitations when conducting the playlist (40 mins each side). here is the document i was left with after this process was complete.



pretty lights – finally moving  (7:34)

Black Eyed Peas – I’ve got a feeling (4:52)

Tracey Chapman – Fast Car (4:56)

Simply Red – Fairground (4:22)

John Lennon – How? (3:42)

Robert Plant and Jimmy Page – Wonderful one (4:52)

The Beatles-Hey Jude (7:04)



Mike Oldfield – Crystal Clear (5:42)

Northern lights by Atli órvarsson (4:00)

Fade To Black by Metallica (6:55)

Finch Letters to you (3:40)

My Chemical Romance – Helena (3:22)

Someone’s watching over me – by hilary duff  (4:18)

Sinead o connor – Nothing Compares To You (4:36)

St.Christopher is coming home – Frank Turner (3:10)


I created this playlist after carefully considering the different meanings behind each choice and also the ‘mood’ of the songs themselves I had a side A for happier moods and songs and B for memories attached (mainly) to more negative emotions of in a couple cases i just felt flowed better (e.g finch) I decided to end the playlist on my own personal choice (frank turner) because I felt that because it was my collabritive playlist it would make sense to leave my mark on it last, as if to say thank you all for sharing here’s my own song for those interested. The spotify playlist aswell as a blog setup after this project to further explain it to people casually looking in can be found here.

I then decided to film a ‘listening’ party. I got a few friends round for the day anyways and just asked them to listen to some of the playlist when they had the chance and then speak about why they chose the song they put in the playlist, some of these ended up being in my main video. however when it came to the editing I relaised I had made a couple of big mistakes…..

I had not considered my sound well enough I just attached a rifle mic to a Z5 and hoped for the best I’ve had no real problems with that before usually i’d have someone listening in to double check but as I was working alone I foucsed on other areas. what came back was a really horrible buzz that I couldn’t seem to get rid of. Those in the editing suite with me that day will know how much that annoyed me, I felt that this project would either need to be reshot or cancelled.

I ended up showing the videos to a sound technician to see if he had any suggestions. He suggested using Adobe and shown me a way to remove the hiss from the video, this left behind a slightly ‘tinny’ sound from my interviewees but was a happy alternative to the sound of the video above. I decided to use the real music videos of the artists involved to liven up the footage aswell, originally I was against this as I only wanted to use my own footage in this module but felt that in this piece it was justified.

After my problems with the last project using premier I just stuck for final cut pro for the editing process. with the videos I mainly just did colour correction and added a few minor transitions.


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