Melancholic Short 'Lost Memories' Asks What We'll Be Left with when Digital Fails

We live in a world, or very close to it, where our every moment can be documented and archived for future posterity. When you go to a show, long gone are the days when a sea of lighters would be held aloft, now you can be sure that the band will instead be captured from every conceivable angle and uploaded so you don't miss a thing. Francois Ferracci's melancholic short Lost Memories questions what we might be missing in the now, while we're obsessively preserving the moment for the future:

An Art Director and VFX Supervisor by trade, Ferracci initially conceived the project as a competition entry but held back so he could do the concept justice:

It started with a short film competition in Paris in which we had to imagine our future. The main actor, Luka, wanted to do it with me. I’d had this idea in mind for a long time, so I wrote it in 2 hours, and then we were ready to shoot! But there were too many visual effects shots in the film so I didn’t enter the competition, because I wanted to spend more time on post-production. As a visual effects artist, and visual effects supervisor, I knew it was going to be a nightmare! We shot with the 5D and the main problem is that a shaky camera creates huge distortions in the shots. It is sometimes impossible to get a clean tracking for set extensions in post.

As Lost Memories was shot in a busy area of Paris near the Eiffel Tower, the heavily improvised outdoor scenes were in constant threat of being disrupted by onlooking curious tourists. Having a film designed to be conveyed through images and voiceover meant that Ferracci could direct his actors while the camera was rolling and grab all the necessary shots in a mere 2-3 hours. The Final Cut Pro edit went equally fast and was completed in a day, however the After Effects VFX took around 6 months to complete, slotted around paying gigs. Take a look at the Visual Effects Breakdowns video to see how Ferracci took presented day Paris into the future:

While an argument could be made that Lost Memories weighs in on the often rehashed film vs. digital debate -- with film coming out as the last man standing once digital is wiped out -- it reads more to me as call to live in the here and now. I'm guiltier than most of maintaining a ubiquitous connection to the net or skulking in the corner of a party in the self-appointed role of archivalist, and perhaps Ferracci is right and we should cast away the filters we place between ourselves and the world -- although I am more than a little excited about the arrival of Google Glass.

Has Lost Memories convinced you to spend more time tech free or are you confident your backups could weather the electromagnetic storm?


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Your Comment


I get paranoid about it this summer. I read Mike Figgis book and he speak loudly about fear to loss all data - and we need to get 3 backups in different places to reduce this fear.

Short reminds me a "Perfect Sense" by David Mackenzie

December 1, 2012 at 7:55AM, Edited September 4, 7:54AM


Interesting. A friend in the UK told me that apparently you're not allowed to shoot the eiffel tower at night? Only during the day? Anyone confirm that?

December 1, 2012 at 10:04AM, Edited September 4, 7:54AM


We were in Paris this past August and we shot the Eiffel Tower at night. Maybe they're talking about movie shoots.

December 1, 2012 at 12:15PM, Edited September 4, 7:54AM


Lesson Learned? Start Printing!

December 1, 2012 at 11:55AM, Edited September 4, 7:54AM


I love this! Quick question to anyone that could answer this.
How do you flatten a clip then grade it (unflatten)
I usually shoot in a Flat Picture style. I saw in the breakdown at (2:40) where the clip went from raw to flat.
I use Colorista. Any idea how to do that? What knobs/wheels to notch down?


December 1, 2012 at 2:07PM, Edited September 4, 7:54AM

Mark Linsangan

If data is wiped out globally, so be it. Until that time, enjoy. Just as the Dark Ages had to transition to the bright, cheery, happy, stoic people of the modern world, adapting to a digital-less society after the alteration can transpire, maybe.

December 1, 2012 at 3:06PM, Edited September 4, 7:54AM


I found this short about a month ago and loved it. Also, the message behind it is something that my mother, who is an archivist, has to battle every day with a lot of businesses trying to convert all of their records and important documents to solely digital files. Something to consider when dealing with important materials.

December 1, 2012 at 5:14PM, Edited September 4, 7:54AM


On the one hand, I understand the importance of preserving things, be it literature, photos, films etc. because we need to keep a memory of humanity, but then I see how nature and our whole universe is in constant change, constantly creating and wiping out, focusing on the "now" - we`re now in a time with a massive information overload, most of it consisting of pure noise - but then nobody has a right to divide between crap and excellence or it isn`t even possible to do so, I fear we`re in a catch22 situation.

December 1, 2012 at 5:28PM, Edited September 4, 7:54AM

I think we can find some things to cut :D

December 3, 2012 at 7:58PM, Edited September 4, 7:54AM


This was a commercial for polaroid cameras? :)

December 3, 2012 at 9:15AM, Edited September 4, 7:54AM


The next huge magnetic storm is scheduled for 21.12.2012. Just saying.

December 6, 2012 at 2:18PM, Edited September 4, 7:54AM

Zan Shin

I think the two main ideas in it made it sort of defeat itself. They were in opposition to each other.

At first, it seemed like, this guy is so self-absorbed...the whole thing about not being in the moment with his girlfriend...and her reactions makes it seem like that was the case...

...and then the other idea of this "analog is real" type of thing, we're living in the non-tangeble with all the ones and zeros...etc...well, it made it seem like she didn't get it either...b/c here she is, doing the same damned thing only with a different format. It made her as self-absorbed in her whole thing too.

December 8, 2012 at 9:55PM, Edited September 4, 7:54AM

Daniel Mimura