One-second film festival

Montblanc held a one-second film competition. The videos are really very good, even if they're embedded in a genuinely obnoxious Flash blob that superimposes a watch-face over them. Better to watch the Vimeo version.

Montblanc - The beauty of a second challenge (via This is Colossal)


  1. The entire length of the video I was expecting a voice over to suddenly cut in advertising for a luxury car, an insurance agency, a medical firm, or the like.

    That aside, I feel it inappropriate to call this a “film festival” – it’s really more of a single collaborative short film composed of clips from many sources.

  2. 17 of 60 clips had focal lengths of under 1″ (or it would appear that way). While they were artfully cropped, I’m not sure you can create, or at least infer a narrative at that level of zoom. Many of these might be good establishing shots, but I’m not sure they would qualify as a film.

  3. winner is the girl putting on the snorkle mask, for sure!

    (To extend from Hadlockk above — 1sec of focussing on a fluffy animal does not a narrative create.)

    but snorkle-mask girl – what intent! I want to know what’s next.
    [I’m ignoring the “snorkle-girl removes mask” clip from later on – which ruined the film for me ;-) ]

    1. [I’m ignoring the “snorkle-girl removes mask” clip from later on – which ruined the film for me ;-) ]

      Yeah, that was a real Matrix moment.  Sequels are never as good.

  4. As someone who spends a lot of time doing still photography, and has never felt comfortable making movies, I see these single-second shots as enhanced stills, rather than very short movies. I think I’d like to have a try at this. Sometimes when I’m taking a photo, I realise the movement that’s going on is very important to the image, but it’s often lost in a still shot.

    But  you do have to join them up with others, don’t you? I can’t see my Flickr photostream containing 1-second “enhanced stills” on their own, somehow. After the second was up, you’d be left looking at the final image, which would then become a simple still photo. Oh, unless you finished with a blank screen, I suppose. Hmmm. Getting ideas here…

    1. I think that even though the films are only a second long, they capture so much more context than a photograph; even a set of photographs.

      Particularly those of people; shifting their gaze, brushing their hair back, and as mentioned above the girl putting the snorkel mask on.

  5. Yes, pretty… but… I was expecting something… more. A story, an idea, or at least something hinting at a story told in a 1 sec film. Perhaps the closest was the guy who opened the car door, it made me think of what could have happened and what happened next… although I guess that one was also done just for the pretty effect. But overall, these didn’t feel like self contained films, more like each were 1 sec clips taken from longer films.

    But, as a concept, the 1 sec film sounds like a nice idea. Tell a story in a 1 sec movie clip. 

  6. Love the one with the old guy opening his car door and discovering all the playpen balls. There’s your one-second story. 

  7. This made my wife cry a bit.
    I have to admit it was a very good package of emotions, though I would remove some of them from this video (like the animals’ eyes and other pictures – they’re more like pics than videos).

    What made me touched the most (and I think my wife too, but we didn’t talk about this not to ruin the magic moment) is the man touching his wife’s belly, since my wife’s is pregnant.

     Thanks Cory for writing this post. I’ll create a similar video putting 1 sec films together for the first 12 months of my baby.

  8. C’mon people, it’s only one second, who needs a narrative? Just go with it! It’s pretty pictures and I liked it.

  9. These are at least five times artsier than those five-second films.  But hey, I bet you could make them even CLASSIER if it was a half-second!

    The shorter, the arter!

    1. The shorter, the arter!

      Have you ever taken a rapid viz class? First you get a couple of hours to draw something. Then a half hour. Then five minutes. Then a minute. Then five seconds. You definitely find out who has any real visualization and drawing skills by then.

  10. A “film” is not required to tell a story.  It’s just a series of still images that when shown in sequence creates the illusion of motion.  And if done well, creates emotion.

    1. “The ultimate aesthetic object: A woman”

      Just what I was thinking. The defaults for our culture are still from a particular standpoint, and that leaves those of us who aren’t straight males (more than 50% of the population!) stranded on the outside of ‘our’ own culture.

      A movie that only women like is a ‘chick flick.’ A movie that only guys like is a ‘classic’.

      A band whose members are all female is a ‘girl band.’ A band whose members are all male is a ‘band’.

      And beautiful means a young woman.

      I know I’m ranting. It just bugs me, is all. (BTW, I actually liked the blinking cat.  I’ve always found something lovely about the way cats rest, and I like watching their furry eyelids when they blink.)

  11. To paraphrase a real film maker, Bela Tarr, for whom the limit of Kodak film stock (1000 ft = 11 minutes 6 seconds) constitutes a form of censorship on the length of his takes:

    Fast film editing is one of the most fundamental forms of escapism as it removes the awareness of real time passing. That awareness makes us uncomfortable because it reminds us of our own mortality.

  12. Thank goodness there were babies and cats.  Because there’s a serious lack of babies and cats on the internet.

  13. I liked the light bulb, but the view of the swarms of birds seemed the most interesting.  never seen anything like that.

  14. That’s just lovely.  Also very reminiscent of the video “Moments” that RadioLab podcasted a while back:

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