I’d been working on the garden shed for the last few days and come Monday, decided to get in a little recreation and go climbing. After a bit of back and forth with my partner for the day Jon, we decided on trad climbing at Mt. MacDonald and selected the route Powerline Revised. Since I had established it and knew it well, I let Jon take the sharp end and go first. I suggested he pay special attention to the first fixed piton (to protect a fall) and he began climbing.Calling attention to a subject while filming is usually the domain of the close-up (CU). How funny was it that this idea came to mind as I played out the rope for Jon. When filming, it's important to know the shot sizes (long shot, medium shot, close-up, extreme close up) - we will be stitching together a series of these to tell the story.
If a picture is worth a 1000 words, we keep the audience’s attention on our story by pointing the camera at just what we want them to see, the subject. In effect, if the premise, the CU calls attention to the subject, the deductive logical conclusion must be - every shot is a close-up.
Jon clipped the first piton and edged up a blank section. He was creating a “story” as he climbed higher and into the overhanging blocks of the massive chimney defining the route. I could hear laboured breathing and see him battling against the forces threatening to fling him into the abyss.
Every shot is a close-up.
The long-shot is a close up of the environment.
The medium shot is a close-up showing the relationship to the immediate situation.
The close-up of the face shows an emotional struggle.
An extreme close-up of a failing hand-hold dramatically propels the story.
Every shot is a close-up. Every frame should be composed and directed with that in mind to get the most out of your story.
Jon made it to the top of the route. Now it was my turn. Dang, I wished I’d brought my camera.