Friday, 9 October 2009

‘Single Handed’ MSMD – Part 2 of 4

The second film on the DVD is a profile of someone who must be one of the world’s most psyched climbers, Kevin Shields.

Kevin Shields (pic Steven Gordon)

All top climbers talk about calculated risk, but Kev pushes the margins of his ‘calculations’ closer to real limits than any other climber I’ve ever seen. It can be terrifying to watch. Even the detachment from the action that comes from being behind the camera does not offer any protection from that terror.

Kevin Shields (pic Steven Gordon)

I’ve been filming Kev since early 2006. Some of the footage I shot then was used in Committed Vol I, but the rest of it has gone unseen until now. This year I’ve filmed Kev both in the Peak District and the Highlands and, without wishing to give away too much of the story, have captured some really special moments, from ecstasy to extreme tension. Even during the editing process, watching short clips back has left my palms damp…and I already know what happens!

For me good films are all about emotion. For a film to be great it has to make you laugh and make you cry. Films that do both stick with you. One emotion that you should experience when watching Single-Handed is frustration. This was highlighted when I was adding subtitles as an option to the DVD. In this scene Kev is struggling with the crux move on an E7.

00:14:31:23,00:14:33:17, That's just never possible.
00:14:33:17,00:14:34:17, F**king F**K
[Big fall /slide down the slab]
00:14:37:05,00:14:38:11, Oooh ya f**ker ye
00:14:38:21,00:14:39:21, F**K F**K F**K

"F**K F**K F**K"

00:14:57:14,00:14:58:14, Argh F**K IT
00:15:02:02,00:15:03:15, Nah, it's just never gonnae work, Gaz.
00:15:04:15,00:15:05:15, Lower us down now.
00:15:07:20,00:15:08:20, F*ck

So just for Kev we've added a special warning to the DVD cover:

"Warning contains some effing and blinding"

The Score
‘Single-Handed’ has a light score in terms of music. We recorded some good location sound from the radio mic Kev was wearing, so I wanted to make maximum use of that in the mix. You may have noticed in other films that the breathing of a scared climber can add much more tension than any music, so most of this film uses an atmospheric soundscape rather than a musical score.

The one track I have used is by the singer/songwriter Francis Hayes and is called “Friday, Saturday, Sunday”. I had this track on an old CD that was recorded live in a pub in Stirling. I really liked the track, but the recording quality was quite poor.

singer/songwriter Francis Hayes

Since this was the only version of the song ever recorded I managed to persuade Francis to re-record this track especially for the film. This allowed us to adjust the length of the intro to match the opening sequence. Francis and I spent some time in Chris Hall’s home recording studio to get the piece just right for the film. Chris added some bass guitar to Francis’ original acoustic and worked his sound engineer’s magic to complete the track.

Chris Hall happy with the track

This short clip from the film shows Kev enjoying the wonderful line of ‘Traveller in Time” at Ramshaw Rocks in Staffordshire.

World Premier at EMFF

The World Premier of Single-Handed will take place on Sunday 18th October at 7pm at the Edinburgh Mountain Film Festival in the George Square Theatre. Kev will be there to answer a few questions after the film.

Tickets and details can be found here:

I’m really excited about seeing the audience’s reaction to this film. I may not manage to make everyone laugh and cry, but I'm sure its a film that will generate some emotion and leave your palms damp.


Kev is sponsored by

Mountain Equipment and Wild Country

No comments: