Done and dusted thank goodness! ‘The Cairngorms in Winter with Chris Townsend’ feedback for the end result coming through

Chris Townsend, The Cairngorms in Winter
Chris retreats from a storm in the Lairig Ghru.

It’s over. Thank goodness and just in the nick of time. Monday saw me finally complete ‘The Cairngorms in Winter with Chris Townsend’. In truth I’m glad to see the back of the film. It had taken over my life!

Be it spending so much time up in the Cairngorms filming – almost to the point I felt like a tourist in my own hometown and the Cairngorms was my real residence – to working 18+ hour days at home editing, I’m relieved it’s all done with.

The past week has been particularly tough. For example, I had finished editing the visuals for the film but had yet to complete all the sound mixing. The latter proved problematic in that some audio was poor and beyond repair while much of the narration I had only recorded the previous week with Chris wasn’t satisfactory. Much of that comes down to the fact we’ve not done anything like this before, so it was a tremendously steep learning curve and one we had to get right as soon as possible.

In the end, I just couldn’t afford financially and time-wise to head back north and re-work on the narrations with Chris. So, I resorted to posting my audio equipment to his home and spent most of one day running late into the night working on it with him via phone calls and emails.

We got there eventually but it did mean I had to re-edit some scenes to accommodate changes. For the better, mind.

And then to top that all off, I had to contend with technical issues on my PC which was struggling to breathe with all the work I was forcing it to do.

All said and done, I’m pretty pleased with the end result and rather proud myself and Chris achieved the results we have given the short amount of time we had to do it in, contending with the weather and wild terrain he wished to feature up in the national park. It truly was challenging on so many levels that I cannot begin to describe here – and likely will take time to sink in.

The film isn’t perfect by any means. There’s more I wished to have kept in the final edit (which now reside in a dormant file on an external harddrive) and other places and scenes I’d loved to have visited. And I have personal techy niggles with the film in places too. But lessons have been learnt, and it was a fantastic experience and journey on my road concerning filmmaking in the great outdoors. And I’ve no doubt Chris too. We’ve become very good friends and I do hope we get to work on another similar project in the future.

Thankfully the feature has been well received by Kickstarter backers of the project who finally got to see the film yesterday. I’ve no idea what folk might think of it all as such things really can be subjective, so it is with some massive relief for me and Chris to learn it’s gone down extremely well so far! And I’m really rather anxious as to what the outdoor press will think of it too.

After all, me and Chris have put in a lot of blood, sweat and tears into this. I’ll admit at times I seriously thought I’d undertaken a challenge beyond my skills and patience! I had no idea how it would all come together. Obviously, I envisaged the film to be in a certain way (and planned accordingly) but what with how the weather can change up in the Cairngorms in an instant, to the physical side of heading out there and filming – much of what I produced was pure luck. But being ‘out there’ certainly helped to say the least.

And of course, this being my first ever feature length video was always going to be daunting.

Well, now I must head off again. This week the feature has it’s public premier at the Keswick Mountain Festival and so I’ll be making my way to the Lake District tomorrow. I hope to enjoy a few relaxing days wild camping before wandering into Keswick on Saturday with Chris.

In the meantime, here’s some feedback from Kickstarter backers and some thoughts on the film from the My Outdoors team:

Paul Alderson, “Incredibly inspirational and evocative. Liked the variety and pace changes, perfect soundtrack”

David Lintern, “Great film, beautifully shot and well presented. Well done both!”

@BarneytheBear, “Brilliant. Just brilliant!”

Mike Carlyle, “…fookin’ great!!! Loved it”

Martin Free, “Inspirational stuff. Your camera work catches the scenery so very well”

Carl Mynott, “I do hope it will be available to buy on DVD for others. Excellent!”

My Outdoors, “Filmed in almost perfect winter conditions The Cairngorms in Winter with Chris Townsend is a once in a generation production that’s so unique it sets it’s own boundaries and becomes the benchmark for a new genre of outdoor films.

When someone asks you why in the depths of winter you venture into the mountains facing nature at it’s most unforgiving simply say “watch 10 minutes of this and you’ll never question again.”


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