VIDEO: Review of the Year 2015 – 6 January 2016

It’s finally here.

Andrew Burdett at the Ladybower Reservoir, filming for this year's REVIEW film.

Andrew Burdett at the Ladybower Reservoir, once a scene of “huge change”.

In the past, my video reviews of each year have been quietly posted online at some point on New Year’s Eve, when everyone is too drunk to take any notice of them, and anyway too busy partying to even consider sitting down and watching them. They were always produced entirely for my own purposes: an annual visual record of my personal history, with a nod to some of the key news stories that dominated the year, created entirely for the sake of posterity — and as an enjoyable distraction from whatever work I ought to be doing.

Things were slightly different this year.

For one thing, putting it together certainly felt a lot less enjoyable. A hard-drive failed in late-June last year, and at the time I feared for the existence of all of my photos and recent video projects. Fortunately, my own back-ups enabled me to get back a lot of the data that I thought I had lost — but, despite sending the original drive to a local recovery agency (who promised to be able to retrieve 99.9% of the data), a significant amount of the information that was retrieved was in fact corrupt. We are still fighting to get a refund on the huge upfront cost of what we consider to have been an unsuccessful recovery.

The corrupted hard-drive meant some of the raw footage from the year was unusable. Initially, I resorted instead to using clips from the actual finished edits — but, because of my production workflow, most films I make now export straight to YouTube rather than to a *.mov file first. Eventually, I managed to source all of the short video clips I needed, but it was one additional hassle I could have done without.

Other complications arose from simply leaving it to the last minute. Although I’d shot all of the scenes at Ladybower two weeks in advance, a busy Christmas period meant I didn’t start work on the edit until 30 December. That, theoretically, should have been fine: no work began on 2013’s film until New Year’s Eve itself. But, for whatever reason, progress was slow this year.

I guess one difference is that both in 2013 and in 2014, I worked on the edit right up until 10pm or so, leaving for parties only right at the last minute. This year, as I was going to a gathering with company, that wasn’t an option. By three o’clock on New Year’s Eve, with only half of the voiceover recorded and with the news photography still yet to be sourced, it became pretty clear that I wasn’t going to have it signed off by 5pm as I had wished. If I’d had another couple of hours, I could have done it, but that wouldn’t have been fair on Kristen.

Rather than try to get it together for New Year’s Day afternoon, I postponed it to the weekend. On the Sunday (3 January), my great aunt was due to come for lunch, and I thought it would be a good way to round off the afternoon. I therefore foolishly announced that it would be up by 5:00pm that day. It was finished by then, but a repeated error in encoding for YouTube prevented it from going live as advertised.

Finally, on Monday I learned that there had been a copyright issue with my choice of music, an instrumental version of Coldplay’s Adventure of a Lifetime. It’s a great track, and was perfect for this video: fresh and current, upbeat and bright, whilst also having a suitable middle section over which I could talk about the year’s (largely depressing) news stories. Most artists, through their labels, have a relationship with YouTube whereby videos can use copyrighted music but any revenue earned from ads goes to them, not the video creator. That generally works well (it’s how I used Take That’s These Days last time) and Coldplay are among the major artists whose work can be used in this way. However, none of the tracks from their newest album, A Head Full of Dreams, are part of this deal yet. No doubt in due time they themselves will be whitelisted, but until then the original upload of my video was left muted.

Consequently, I have resorted to the other track that was on my shortlist for use in this video: Beaches by indie band Gone in the Sun. The reason I didn’t ultimately favour it is that it’s a little more downbeat than Adventure — but, having looped certain phrases in the song and tweaked the video slightly to fit, it’s a surprisingly good substitute. I’m surprised at how similar its composition is to the Coldplay track, right down to choruses of ‘woos’ from the backing vocals, and that middle section I mentioned (perfect for discussing the people who died this year).

Here we are, then. After much hassle and difficulty, at last it’s finished and uploaded. You’ve seen Charlie Brooker’s take on 2015, now here’s mine. Enjoy.

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Personal highlights from 2015, featured in the film

News events of 2015, featured in the film

  • Paris attacks
    • 7 to 9 January 2015
      • Charlie Hebdo shootings
      • Fontenay-aux-Roses and Montrouge shootings
      • Dammartin-en-Goële hostage crisis
      • Porte de Vincennes siege
      • Je Suis Charlie uprising
    • 13 November 2015
      • Stade de France explosions
      • Restaurant shootings
      • Bataclan theatre massacre
  • Baga massacre, Nigeria, 3 to 7 January 2015
  • Ankara bombings, Turkey, 10 October 2015
  • Tunisia attacks
    • Bardo National Museum, 18 March 2015
    • Port El Kantaoui, Sousse, mass shooting, 26 June 2015
    • [ALSO: Tunis, bombing 24 November 2015]
  • Garissa University College attack, 2 April 2015
  • Princess Charlotte’s birth, 2 May 2015
  • Conservatives secure majority after General Election, 7 May 2015
    • Nick Clegg (of LBC’s Call Clegg fame) resigns as Liberal Democrat party leader, 8 May 2015
    • Ed Miliband (of Ed-stone fame) resigns as Labour party leader, 8 May 2015
    • Tim Farron appointed as Liberal Democrat party leader, 16 July 2015
    • Jeremy Corbyn wins Labour leadership contest, 12 September 2015
  • Syria bombing [photo used believed to be of Douma in February], 2015
  • Summer migrant crisis, August 2015
    • Alan Kurdi’s death
  • More deaths:
    • Terry Pratchett, 28 April 1948 – 12 March 2015
    • Charles Kennedy, 25 November 1959 – 1 June 2015
    • [ALSO: Nicholas Winton, 19 May 1909 – 1 July 2015]
    • Cilla Black, 27 May 1943 – 1 August 2015
    • Jackie Collins, 4 October 1937 – 19 September 2015
    • Dennis Healey, 30 August 1917 – 3 October 2015
    • Geoffrey Howe, 20 December 1926 – 9 October 2015
    • Gareth Mound, 3 January 1996 – 1 August 2015

Andrew Burdett

Andrew Burdett is a 21-year-old from Maidenhead in Berkshire. He is now two-thirds of the way through his Journalism Studies degree at the University of Sheffield. In his spare time, he enjoys swimming, going to the theatre, and writing about himself in the third-person.