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Recording long-term projects attempts?

Original Post
Franck Vee · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Apr 2017 · Points: 70

Hi there,

Has someone tried to record attempts on a project, say a longer-term project for which you expect to work out the beta for a while, then possibly work on increasing efficiency in your sequences etc.?

I've been thinking about this for a while. I think it might help with technic (spot mistakes/inefficiencies that can be hard to do while pushing your limits) and also in dialing my beta. However I see a couple reasons why that might not work out so well - or at least issues to figure out. Help/advices welcomed on those:

  • Either you place it static on a tripod of some kind (gorilla pod might be useful so it doesn't have to be on the ground), or you need someone to film. I'm not sure it's going to be that easy to necessarily have someone filming nth attempt on some random project. You also need to have an additional person on top of a patient belayer watching your flailing helplessly on a seemingly lost cause... But then a tripod dropped at the bottom of the route may not really provide all that much help... is it possible to get decent footage, in practice? How do you that? Do you go the helpful 3rd person route, or the smartly place tripod route?
  • I don't have a camera that can record film. Right now just thinking to go to the pawn shop or something & get whatever. Are there things you really like to have in your camera for this purpose? Is the standard zoom I'm going to get with any decently modern camera enough, or is there in you experience some value in paying out more to get better reach?

Is this a waste of time or do you see potential value in this? I'm working on some 12s and have been climbing for a couple years already. I think for newer climbers there's obvious value in doing that - but is it still the case further down the road?

Alexander Blum · · Charlotte, NC · Joined Mar 2009 · Points: 132

I've done this with positive results. I use my phone to record video, with a gorilla pod with an adapter that clamps onto my phone (a lot like the ones you might use in your car, but with a threaded hole for the tripod). It definitely won't work for every route; finding a location for the tripod that covers the entire route and also offers a useful perspective can be a challenge. If nothing else, it's a massive help with ingraining  sequences (for me). I think it's worth doing, even when the results are sub par. Once you have a tripod and adapter the effort is pretty minimal, since most people always have a smart phone with them anyway. 

I think this has value for newer and more experienced climbers. Any weekend warriors that thinks they have mastered the finer aspects of technique and redpoint tactics, no matter how experienced, is almost definitely wrong. There's always much to learn and this is a great tool. For that. 

Franck Vee · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Apr 2017 · Points: 70

Interesting - have you ever consider getting a camera which allows for greater zoom (say you could zoom into the crux sequence and not care about the dialed first X bolts)?

I actually hadn't really thought about just using my phone, as dumb as that may sound..... I guess it's a good way to start & see if it's enough, if I like the support it provides and then perhaps get something better if need be...

Yeah I guess even in cases where you're kind of far out, just seing the sequences being done would probably help to remember stuff (like "yeah, the crappy sidepull I need to crimp on for dear life before bringin right foot up " etc.)

Sean Peter · · IL · Joined Aug 2013 · Points: 80
Alexander Blum · · Charlotte, NC · Joined Mar 2009 · Points: 132

I have, but I couldn't justify the cost (and additional PITA quotient) to myself. What you described in your last paragraph is exactly what occurs, IME. A wide angle shot of the whole thing, plus notes, plus visualization and mental rehearsal, all comes together very nicely synergistically. The whole is more than the sum of the parts, etc. 

Lena chita · · OH · Joined Mar 2011 · Points: 745

I haven't tried to record myself on a route project, mostly for the reasons already mentioned -- hard to see things from the ground, even if someone else on the ground is holding/moving the camera. But  I found it helpful on gym bouldering problems, when I was a newer climber. Not so much for beta, but to see how my climbing looks, and what to work on. (It looked way worse than I thought it would, based on how I FELT I was climbing)

If you have a friend who would be willing to jug a fixed rope and film you, it might be helpful. But just for the beta/remembering holds, if it is a classic route, the likelihood is that there is already a video out there of someone climbing it. At least as a starting point.

But I remember one time a friend was taking pictures while I climbed, and he tends to take 100s of photos in rapid-fire mode. I was just starting to work out the sequence, and I thought i had the crux firmly in my memory.  Imagine my surprise, looking at the photos, because they clearly showed that I was crossing my left hand under right in the crux move... and I would have sworn up and down that I was DEFINITELY crossing left OVER right, not under.

Alexander Stathis · · Athens, GA · Joined Jan 2016 · Points: 267

I like watching videos of me climbing. I can get a good sense of what I look like on the wall, what my body positioning is like, and where my feet are. All those things can be hard to remember or hard to gauge while you're cruxing at your limit. If you don't get a chance to come back to it often, then you can review the video in case you don't remember what your beta (or even things like micro beta) was.

Plus, if you send, then you got that sicky footy to spray with on the gram, yo.

Anyways, I'd experiment and find what works best for you. I find using phones to be the easiest thing since the quality is usually good enough and you almost always have a smart phone with you. Prop it up against a rock or a pack with a view of the climb you're working and hit record before you hop on. 

John Byrnes · · Fort Collins, CO · Joined Dec 2007 · Points: 577

Now, if you just want to remember your beta over the winter... then it might be useful, but not as useful as (but far easier than)  actually closing your eyes and visualizing it every week.

Franck Vee · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Apr 2017 · Points: 70
John Byrnes wrote:

Just for fun, I'm going to post a contrary comment: Don't bother recording it, unless you're going to show it to someone who actually can see your weaknesses & inefficiencies.

In other words, you won't even see the mistakes you're making, the other possible sequences, etc. so why bother recording it?  You need someone who can see them, and suggest alternatives, best if they've done the route and have it wired.  

What's the old saw?  "You can't see the big picture when you are IN the picture."

Yeah the devil's advocate hein? I agree with the basis of the argument, just not sure that it is an all-or-nothing case.

For example, let's say you play chess (or most games, really). Of course, a better player would be able to achieve more in reviewing your games than you will be able to do on your own. However, it doesn't mean there's not value in reviewing your games. In other words, the fact that there's less of a return on investment with a purely DIY approach doesn't mean there's not returns...

The important factor about that (e.g. how much value there is in self-criticizing your stuff versus having it done by some coach/mentor), imo, is whether or not there are things you would be able to see with some sort of step back that you would not necessarily be able to see in the thick of it.

In chess, this is largely due to 2 things - you can't try out alternative lines while in the game (you have to do it all mentally) and you have limited time to explore alternatives. Plus you can't check out references on classic positions while in the game. Even in the absence of a coach, it is worthwhile to review games in chess (let's even forget computer analysis which could be seen as a coach)

The question is more - is there enough difference between the step back analysis in climbing vs just climbing for it to be worthwhile?

I'm probably going to try it - I will probably not buy a camera just for that, at least not now. I like the phone approach and see how far that gets me. In a sense, asking that question here probably saved me 100$ at least for now - so not a bad return on investment!

Drones: Dude, you're really trying to raise hell aren't you? It would be awesome, but seing how things are going with drones @ crags, I feel I would either have to use it when no one's around or risk raising hell. Plus it's 500$, I'll get a couple cams before I buy the drone. That being said, if I was flushed with cash, I would probably do it. Plus you get even sicker footage for when you do send....

Lena: I think actually, if you could have someone taking rapid shots for all the climb, it would perhaps be better to analyze things. IDK, it feels like it may be easier to seach & categorize than a movie. But yeah, given the logistics of it, not gonna happen... I used to be the photograph while climbing. Then I realized that I preferred to be on the sharp end rather than hanging at an anchor waiting for climbers. PRobably most climbers feel the same....

Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

Sport Climbing
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