Climbing Kili

In September 2010, Jakob Bloch and Tim Coel travelled to Africa and climbed Mount Kilimanjaro. I used Adobe Premiere to produce this two-part movie based on their exploits – watch both parts by clicking play on the YouTube playlist below.

The Making of Climbing Kili

Jakob and Tim had travelled to Africa the previous year, and needed someone to edit together the huge mass of video clips they had recorded along the way. ‘Climbing Kili’ was the first project I was formally asked to undertake for someone else and was initially a daunting process – there were several hundred clips to review and a very loose brief.

The first challenge was to organise the footage. I managed to find a tool for scanning the file names, types, and lengths of all videos in a folder and recording the results in a spreadsheet. I then set about watching each clip several times and noting in the spreadsheet any stand out features. Whilst doing this I noticed that the clock on one of the cameras was wrong, which meant some adjustments to the timestamps of the footage so I could see exactly which clip occurred at which time.

Although we didn’t want to rely on special effects, it soon became apparent that it would be useful to divide the film into segments based on that days walking. I used Photoshop to produce maps of Kilimanjaro and animated the route that had been covered in that day as an interlude to mark each section of the film. Jakob was also keen to make use of the huge collection of photographs that had been captured along the way and so I attempted to put together simple montages in time with music we selected. This breaks were handy as the lengthy run time of the movie was approaching a couple of hours, and the interludes and montages helped break the piece of.

On testing the original cut we both felt this was too lengthy. Jakob simply wanted me to try and shorten it, however I found the best approach wasn’t simply to remove unnecessary scenes but also to edit those retained to make them snappier. By working in this way I was able to radically improve both parts of the movie and make it far shorter.

In the end there were several versions of the finished movie – an early feature-length edition from before a lot of the timings had been improved; a shorter two part edition that was better paced and cut by around an hour, and second two part edition that was made especially from YouTube and is available to watch in the movie embedded above.

I learnt a tremendous amount on this project – not simply from Premiere but also about timing and pacing.Climbing Kili was my first freelance movie and I am very pleased with the end result. Jakob would later ask me to film and edit CAGE 2012.

Next production: CAGE 2012
Previous production: The Wedding of Liz & Clint