I suppose it’s safe to say I have quite a following online with regards to my video efforts seen on YouTube and elsewhere. You can view these attempts at making something special in my video gallery via the tool bar at the foot of your screen. Going through them doesn’t half make me cringe!
Be it the complete amateur effort of some, poor editing, OTT music….you name it. I’m ashamed of it. But it don’t matter. I think in an objective way it’s cool for others to have a wee look and see how I’ve progressed with them over the last couple of years and maybe inspire them to take video out on the hills.
To be fair, it’s no easy feat putting these videos together, especially when you’re on your own! Running back and forth to the camera on a tripod to do a shot with you walking away down a path or silhouetted by a sunset….then theres the uploading of the takes to the PC then the editing, then the sound then the music and on and on.
As time and experience has gone by, I think I’ve improved in some aspects immensely. Furthermore, I think I’ve come to learn of my strengths and weaknesses with making these outdoors videos. A large part of this is thanks to viewers and friends online. I’ve learnt I much prefer to film others, how I’m never satisfied until I get that “money shot” of the moment. I get obsessed and in a lot of ways it’s brain-draining on the day. I constantly have to think and gauge where and why I want a shot. Anticipate where the sun will catch the rocks or the clouds part and so on. And if I’m filming someone else? I have to bear in mind I maybe driving them up the wall by bellowing orders as polite as I can!
I think my most technically accomplished video is the “Hafod Eyri” one. I spent ages on the editing and moreover the sound in that one. It be OK the video if it were a bit longer, my narration more elaborate and…..come to think of it…..not have my narration full stop! God! I sound awful in that video. And then there’s the chavvy North Face cap!! What was I thinking?
People were giving me strange looks while I was wandering around with a camera and tripod up on Snowdon….at least someone could’ve come over and warned me about that hat! Well, maybe not in the way I’m thinking 😉
I suppose my favourite video is “The Priest Hole Cave Experience” (a three-parter). I enjoy watching that. It brings back great memories of spending the night up on Dove Crag along with the spellbinding views the next morning. Me and my friend Eion had a right good crack on that trip. The video itself I think I’ve pitched perfect in places and in others? Well, I keep learning shall we say. But it’s one of those I’ve produced that I can look back on in old age – when I can’t get out on the hills anymore- I can slip in the latest gadget to view the video (probably in 3D!) and fondly remember and savour old times.
So…. after all that waffle it leads me to my most personal video. “Nirvana“.
It was my submission for Trail Magazines Mountain Movie Competition 2009. It had to have a hill-walking theme and be all your own original work and a duration of about 3mins. It was quite a challenge to cram what I did in 3mins. I wanted to go on in more depth about stuff. But alas I had to keep scrambling my brain.
I think with “Nirvana” I hit a special note with folk. Something universal. It had a slight personal touch, which was deliberate. But I think it was the shots and the words in my narration that hit the nail on the head for most people. I only spoke honestly about how I felt in the short time allowed.
I won’t go into it but I think as one friend put it “erred on the right side of mawkish”.
Well, with “Nirvana” I won the competition. There was a selection of judges (film-makers, producers, critics etc) and I think it was a close run thing. I didn’t expect to win it. But I did. I was truly shocked especially as the winning prize was a trip to ascend Mount Toubkal!
However, it’s a trip I’m not going to be able to make. A number of years ago I suffered from acute murmurs of the heart that turned out to be linked to my nervous system. I shall not elaborate, but I’m all OK now and it was the shock of a suspected heart-attack long ago that spurred my obsession with the outdoors. I wanted squeeze every living moment I can spare into my hiking and wild camping.
I recently visited the local GP and upon his thoughts and recommendations (given the above) I’ve had to regrettably decline the trip to climb Mount Toubkal in North Africa.
So, thats my bit of news for some of you out there who speak to me often online.
I aint going to Toubkal!
I’m over the initial disappointment, though. And in it’s place I’ve come up with a fantastic alternative of which I hope to garner lots and lots of support (in aid of charity).
Of which I shall announce in the coming days…….