As you do i’m sure, on a quiet down time, i’ve been searching online, often during lunchtimes, to find some quality, inspiring climbing films online. It used to be that it would cost you twenty quid to see a good one; go down the local climbing shop and flick through the DVDs, hoping to find one that you hadn’t come across before, a new one perhaps or an old one you’d missed.
I always checked out the selection in the shops when i went away, to Sweden or Canada, hoping to find some that weren’t as readily available back home. To be fair, i normally succeeded.
Nowadays, it’s all there, at your fingertips, as readily available as this site is in front of you. Youtube or Vimeo, maybe on some specific websites like petzl.com, they’re packed in there, adding to the internet ready and waiting for your audience. There are thousands that you can watch for free, filling endless hours if you so desired.
The downside, of course, is that there are thousands out there, making it a minefield to sift through them to find the ones that are actually good. Many aren’t even edited, just uploaded straight from camera or phone, and as such include a large proportion at the start where someone appears from behind the camera, changes shoes, takes off clothes, chalks up, all that jazz. As the camera doesn’t pan either, often you miss half the climb, or have to wait for the end as the lonely climber walks off the top of the boulder and round to stop the film. You tend to watch in case something else interesting happens (like staying until the end of the credits in a movie). It rarely does.
Take my own Vimeo page. At time of writing, it housed three films: one as described in the previous paragraph, one remarkably average as i learned the software and one that isn’t bad. It’s natural i imagine: as your own personal standards and skills improve or increase, so too will the quality of your films. Meanwhile, a lot of these films aren’t being made for the public – they may be available to all but let’s face it, when they’re made, no-one is expecting them to go viral, they’re for personal use on any device. If you come across them and enjoy them, then all the better.
One of the best amateur film-makers i know at the moment is Tim Peck. His recent film about his ascent of Diesel Power is superb – well filmed, well edited and gave an insight into how much effort he put in. Girl Crush Vol 1 is another which is excellent, edited by his girlfriend Charlie Torrence – both, as with many others that appear on his page are well worth watching.
Sadly, these sorts of well-edited film collections are hard to find. They are out there but much like a good quality ale, you have to try a lot of dross before you taste a really good one.
And of course, they’re often very short; i would guess the average length is around 3-4 minutes. It takes significantly longer to find them than watch them (and that’s completely ignoring how much effort has gone into making them!). You need around 20 to fill an hour lunch – no easy challenge by any stretch! What you need, Dosage style, is a collection of them. It’s a shame that they’ve gone by the wayside – this is what Reel Rock should be.
Sadly, this year, it has let us down in that respect. I have written an article to that extent, so please have a read and see if you agree. In the meantime, if you have any short videos, please let me know, or add a link in the comments below. I might even be able to make a good little compilation!