First of all, let me apologize for not having written in quite a while. I have a good excuse, though: I am about to move out of the UK and back to Denmark, after 6 months in the British Isles.
Something absolutely wonderful happened last week. I think it is fair to say that it completely changed my approach to storytelling and doubled (at least) my creative perspectives. In one word, I discovered video.
As a still photographer at heart, I always disregarded video as some lower form of art, and though there are a few climbing videographers I really admire (Renan Ozturk and Cedar Wright among others), it had never really registered that I could create proper films too. My D90 was the first DSLR camera with video capabilities, but it had so many limitations and was so automated that I never used it for more than the occasional snap.
All this changed when I attended the Adventure Film Academy Classic in Kendal last week. Over three packed days, Deirdre Mulcahy from the BBC and Paul Diffley from Hot Aches taught a small group of us how to use cameras and editing software properly, but more importantly how to tell a story.
Though it was nice to finally get a good grasp on the technical side of thing, especially since we used broadcast quality equipment (the Sony Z1, radio mikes, video tripods and Final Cut Pro) which didn’t require constant workarounds, the main reason that I came back so enthusiastic was because I had finally understood (or rather begun to understand) the differences with still photography, and how to express not only ideas but also feelings – exactly what I am already doing with photography.
The other part of AFA was even better: we had 48h to direct and edit a short film (2 minutes) on something adventure related. I teamed up with Matt Parkes (from Jagged Globe) and after some discussion, we decided on a quite ambitious and slightly crazy plan: a night walk (it was initially to be a night climb, but talent could not be found in time). We also picked Scafell Pike, the highest peak of England, simply because many people do climb it in the dark as part of the popular 3 peaks challenge.
In the end, we spent 30h without sleeping (including a heroic 4 hours of driving by Matt), 1000m of vertical gain with all sorts of camera equipment, the moon on which we counted a lot was hidden in clouds the whole time and the glorious sunrise we were hoping for (and that the weather forecast had promised) was hidden in a whiteout. Despite these adverse conditions, we still had good fun and managed to bring back some decent footage. Editing it all in just 9h was also quite a challenge, though we received amazing help from all the teachers at AFA, and Mark Melville did a wonderful job of composing music for us.
The final movie won the informal competition held between the three teams who participated in the 48h marathon and will also be shown at the Kendal Mountain Festival (as well as potentially on the BBC). Here it is, in all its HD glory (of course, feedback would be very welcome).
This is just a beginning. I have just bought a HD camera (the Panasonic GH1) and am looking forward to making short films about so many different things… Stay tuned!