Colin Furze and the 360 Swing

When you have lengths of pipe, a welder, a water container and a big enough garden you can get up to some mischief. Colin Furze and the 360 Swing are an interesting demonstration of this. In the first two videos you see him build the structure and in the next two videos you see him do some 360 swings with the structure.

He is a plumber by profession but makes some fun and entertaining videos for youtube in his free time. In these videos he has built a flame throwing guitar, magnetic shoes, built a bunker, created eccentric door bells and more. He also made a firework shooting bazooka and put a motor bike engine in a tuktuk.

The video above is a behind the scenes look at part of the discussions and includes some drone footage of the swing being used to successfully complete a few 360 rotations on the swing with and without the motor.

When you see him add the paramotor to the swing you see that he has taken the idea too far. By the end of the video he feels a little weaker as you’d expect. I don’t know how many Gs he put himself through. It was enough to make him feel unwell by the end of the clip.

I enjoy watching the building process of these eccentric contraptions because we see that safety is taken in to consideration. In either the first or the second video he says that he usually does two things. The first one is built off camera to make sure that he knows what he is doing and when he is confident he builds a component for the second time on camera. In this project we see that there is a reasonable amount of testing to make sure that everything behaves properly before moving on to the next step.

There are a number of videos like this on youtube that teach you about engineering and building eccentric machines. Colin Furze is just one of many youtube video makers to build things and then use them.

FIFAD Day 2 – a day of introspection about exploration.


FIFAD’s second day’s documentaries were introspective. They looked at mining in Bolivia, Jean Troillet’s life of adventure and the film Sherpa.

The peaks we see from the Festival
The peaks we see from the Festival

Tous Les Jours La Nuit

Tous Les Jours La Nuit is a documentary by Jean-Claude Wicky who passed away recently. The documentary looked at the lives of Bolivian miners who have to work for up to 20 hours a day in mines where the air temperature can reach up to 50°c, where the life expectancy is between 40-45 years and where they barely earn enough to live. In this documentary he looks at some of the pictures he took when down in the mines. He tells us stories about the people who are photographed and tells us about their culture. At the end of the film he comes back to the country once again and meets with some of the miners and their communities. He donates copies of the books to individual miners as well as their community. The aim is to document the hardships faced by these workers.


Sherpa is a beautiful and powerful film because it teaches us about the Sherpa people, the Everest climbing industry and explores the social challenges posed by professions that can lead to accidental death. The documentary looks at the subject from the perspective of tour operators who are responsible for their clients as well as Sherpa. We also see how Sherpa families see the opportunities but also dangers that come from the industry around summiting everest.

The strength of this film lies in that it provides us with the discussions, sights and concerns of people on site at the time of the tragedy. In the documentary they say that as tourists want an increasing level of comfort when climbing Everest the Sherpas have to climb through the Khumbu ice fall from 20-30 times per season to take up supplies and equipment. The clients, tourists or adventurers, whichever name you prefer face the crossing just twice.

The Khumbu ice fall is a snow waterfall “cascade de glace”. On the day of the tragedy a 14,000 ton bloc of ice came lose causing an avalanche that crossed the entirety of the ice fall.

This film highlights the need for adequate social cover for the Sherpa and their families so that, because they do a dangerous job, that their families are cared for. One of the Sherpa, the leader had been approaching 22 climbs of Everest. I will write no more. Enjoy the film when you get the opportunity.

Jean Troillet

Jean Troillet is a Swiss explorer with 50 years of experience of the mountains and fourty of those on expeditions. He holds the record for the fastest climb of Everest and has climbed ten summits over 8000 metres. In the main film projected at FIFAD we see him spend a week in a tent and receiving guests to speak about previous adventures and experiences. Some time was also devoted to him providing his home crowd, people from this region of Switzerland with the opportunity to listen to personal accounts and more.



From the 6th to the 13th of August 2016 The International Alpine Film Festival, FIFAD, is taking place in the Alpine town of Les Diablerets. This is a week long festival of Alpine films covering the environment, extreme sports, adventure and more.


Alpland is a photo exhibit outside of images of Alpine life in black and white. The images were taken by Romano Riedo

The Flying Frenchies arrive

The image gallery below shows the Flying Frenchies arrive at the film festival. The drummer flew with his drum kit, the guitarist flew with a guitar and amp and the saxophonist arrived with his instrument. They played their instruments while up in the air. Watching this in person is interesting.


Baraka Films and the Flying Frenchies worked together for this fun and entertaining film. This film looks at the Flying Frenchies coming together to combine slack-lining, parapentes and other extreme sports with musicians. The Flying Frenchies arrived at the event on parapentes.The film metronomic shows cliff based stunts. It combines acrobatics on a cliff face with slack-lining and rope based stunts. At one point the guitarist, the drummer and the Saxophonist are swinging in space and playing at the same time.

The Freeride evening

The evening was dedicated to freeride sports, mainly extreme skiing and a discussion with the Falquet brothers and Jérémie Heitz. One of the images that really marked me was the climb up to a pyramidal peak so that they could ski back down. The reason they climb rather than use a helicopter is to assess how good the snow is and whether it is safe to sky down. Some of these films had some impressive images, including at least one unsuccessful descent.

The films on this day showed the beauty of extreme sports both with skiing slopes that are over 50° as well as with flying musicians. As people get habituated to certain sports so the scope for diversity and creativity expands.

Getting Up Getu – some impressive shots

Getting up Getu is short documentary climbing video about Alex Honnold and Felipe Camargo climbing a beautiful roof climb. The most spectacular aspect of this video is the size of the arch that they are climbing. In two or three shots you see the size of the rock formations compared to the climbers. The people look tiny.

The rock formations that droop down from the ceiling look interesting. The climbing at this location ranges from 5a to 9c according to one source I skimmed through. There are 250 routes to choose from so this is ideal for a great number of climbers. This was the 2011 location for the Pezl Roctrip.

Getu looks like a beautiful area in china with interesting rock formations, arches and much more. The video below provides you with a glimpse of what else there is to see in this region. It is in the Guizhou province of china and the nearby city is Anshun.

Getu, China from Ryan Deboodt on Vimeo.

It’s kind of like one big double-edged Jian. On the one hand, the country is somewhat of a political and economic threat to the United States and our international prosperity. But on the other, it has the Getu Valley, a dramatic stomping ground of limestone cliffs and arch formations that promise to enrapture even the most seasoned spidermen and monkey boys.


According to a CNN article climbers have been enjoying this location for generations. As I explored this topic further, to find video or more detailed information I came across this:

Dangling from slippery cave walls 100 meters up from the floor below, Luo Dengping maneuvers across the steep rocks and crags in a dramatic high-wire climbing act to the amazement of spectators below.

Luo, known locally as “Spiderwoman”, is the only female member of a troupe of climbers who entertain visitors to the Getu River Scenic area in Guizhou, with their death-defying acts of high-altitude bravery on a daily basis. Source

If I find some videos of traditional climbing from this site I will share them at a later date.


Bouldering as an art form

I see Bouldering as an art form. By watching people climb you see that they have learned to use their bodies as well as the environment to get any mechanical advantage they can find. In some cases it requires the use of a leg wedged in to a space. In other situations it involves hanging upside down and in yet another context it requires leaping and hoping to grab the next hand hold.

The video above demonstrates the beauty of bouldering. It would be easy just to show the three seconds when the person completes the move but to keep the exploration available, to show the trial and error provides us with a deep understanding of just what is required to complete certain moves.

You can watch to see where they place their feet to prepare, how they prepare their legs to provide that boost of energy, how they switch from one hand to the other and how they use limbs to get the required mechanical advantage.

You see people arrive at one hold hanging upside down, let go with their feet, swing their body around and then stabilise that position. Imagine the strength and agility required for those moves. Three minutes in to this video you see a French athlete lean his body against the wall and swing his left arm around and up to grab hold of the next hand hold. They demonstrate great skill and mastery.

When I watch these videos my desire to become as good as them increases and it encourages me to experiment more, to take advantage of the lessons that I am being taught by watching these videos. As a climbing friend says “we are all here teaching each other to climb”. This exchange occurs because we have different levels of skill, adrenaline and body size and shape. Climbing is a collaborative effort.

“Superhuman” Climbers

A few days ago the Rio Paralympics “We’re The Superhumans” video popped in to my newsfeed on Facebook and I eventually watched it. The moment that most impressed me is the olympic athlete climbing 2 minutes 20 in. He is dynamic in his climbing technique despite not having any hands. As a climber those two or three shots impressed me and it encouraged me to look for more such climbing videos. They are interesting. It is nice to see climbers take their passion to the next level.

I often think that climbing is a mental game. Most of us have to overcome our fear of heights and we need to learn to read the climbing wall, hand holds and foot holds to climb up as elegantly as possible and without getting tired. Overcoming that fear of heights takes exposure. The more you climb the more you get to grips with the feeling of being high off the ground. You also learn to trust yourself and your equipment. That trust allows you to see opportunities and use them. David Bowes was injured in a road traffic accident while commuting one day. In the clip below he says that despite not always enjoying the moments when he is climbing he always feels better when he gets home and that this is why he climbs.

In the third video we see that climbing is not limited to people who want to become world class athletes. We see that climbing is for people who simply want to work on their self confidence. They overcome their disabilities, feel pride and build their confidence. Every one of us gains by climbing.

We see that some people climb with prosthetics and that others are climbing using just their arms. In other cases people are using artificial limbs to get up the wall. We see that some people with one arm lever their body in to a stable position that lasts just long enough to let go of one hand hold and grab on to the next one. It is enjoyable to see how much ingenuity goes in to climbing.

As we see in the final video some groups want to provide people with the opportunity to climb at least once and to reach the top of the wall. Whether they become passionate about the sport or not is not what matters. What matters is that they get a sense of accomplishment, of setting and reaching that goal. These videos are empowering as we see that anyone with


Rock Climbing and live distribution

Live distribution of sports such as Rugby, Football, Tennis, Skiing and other sports is easy to justify because of the audience size. Rock climbing and live distribution of this sport however is harder to justify because it is a niche sport. Sponsors exist and interest in the sport is growing. We see that there are a number of climbing events, via ferrata groups are popular, the number of local climbing gyms is increasing but for a mass audience to watch these events is still unlikely.

I noticed recently that recorded as live climbing events are available on youtube and that we can watch two to three hour broadcasts of these events. If you are learning to climb and if you want to perfect your climbing technique then these broadcasts are excellent because you can watch exactly what the climbers are doing. You can see where they put their feet, which hand they use for a certain hold, how they balance their body on the wall and how they clip in the rope. In effect these videos are climbing lessons for the youtube generation. You can imitate climbers with the same physique as you. You can really watch the climber try hand holds and foot holds. “Does it feel comfortable? No, then I try this, ah yes, this is comfortable.” Watching this process teaches the average climber to be methodical about finding foot and hand holds. In climbing you need to look up and down. You also need to look for small movement opportunities. Moving a foot up five to ten centimetres can make a hand hold easy to access.

One of the IFSC Climbing World Cup climbers in Villars
One of the IFSC Climbing World Cup climbers in Villars

People have been rock climbing for generations but it is making its way in to the mainstream. Recently Rock climbing was accepted as an Olympic discipline and we will see this sport at the 2020 olympic games. As this is a sport that requires strength, agility, stamina and intelligence it is a natural, although modern, olympic sport.

A Nonverbal Autism Video Interview

I saw Horyou share a link to Speechless with Carly Fleischmann. This is a Nonverbal Autism Video Interview carried out via typed words on a tablet.  The text is read out electronically. The interview is warm and convivial.

It stands out because it does not use a fast talking or energetic host. The interviewer does not talk, in the conventional sense. They could easily have inter-titles rather than synthesised voice. It is because they show the challenge of this interview that it is interesting. It shows that charismatic fast talkers are not the only people with an opportunity to interview artists. It shows that given the right circumstances anyone can interview artists and that desire and interest are required but that solutions can be found for other challenges. It opens up the world to a diversity of people. Imagine video interviews in sign language for example. There is no reason for a specialist channel not to take on this challenge, to fill this niche.

Three things make this possible: Video production costs have gone down so it is easy to find the budget to record such an interview, technology makes communication for nonverbal people much simpler and finally Youtube makes content distribution to an audience easy. This video has three and a half million views.

I will find more videos like this. I believe that they play an important role in modern society where we believe that everyone should be treated equally, to have equal opportunities. It is too easy to idealise the charismatic radio presenter who has a way with words and forget that charisma can be found in people’s intellect. You see it through the laughter in the interview, you see it in the way the interviewee is so relaxed. It’s a shame that there is just one interview. Imagine it as a weekly show.

Automotive Narrowcasting

Thanks to cheaper cameras, cheaper editing systems and cheaper means of distributing video content automotive narrowcasting has become an entertaining way to cover the subject. Everyone knows about Top gear, the flag ship of automative journalism and mischief but there are dozens if not hundreds of lower budget and fun alternatives. One of these alternatives is by Motor Trend, an automotive magazine that provides written reviews of new cars and other automotive news. Their about page ignores their video activity and yet this is the part that I enjoy.

When I watched this specific episode it reminded me of articles from Popular mechanics because it is about reviving an old vehicle that has been dormant in a garage/barn for many years. They show us the steps that were carried out in order to make it road worthy and then they throw in a road trip and fooling around for good measure.

Some of these projects are light hearted and fun. The idea for the PreRangerRoverLandeRunner is amusing. “…they combine an old Range Rover with a Ford Ranger to build an overlanding prerunner that can also play in the mud and rockcrawl with the help of Maxxis’ Bighorn MT-762s.  The build process uses the eyechrometer and by the end of the video their machine is broken. 

The stats for this channel are impressive. They have 50 channels and twenty four thousand videos. The average views per video is fifty five thousand two hundred views although globally they have one billion three hundred thousand views overall. Those figures are no longer about narrow casting.

Network statistics

  • 50 channels
  • 24,792 videos
  • 5,235,424 subscribers

What I like so much about niche content and narrow casting via youtube is that the barrier to entry is low in terms of cost and sustainability can be achieved relatively quickly. There is little need for pitching and getting funds.

In the video above they make it clear that this is a side project that they are working on over two weekends. They are doing this in their free time, in between articles. This is a side project video that has been viewed six million times.

Printed Media are said to be suffering as people move towards the world wide web for news and information. From what I observe the world wide web is great because it provides a place for writers to write articles, radio shows or podcasts and scenarios for videos. As people with skills or passions unite with video producers so new markets can be tapped. The beauty of websites such as Youtube and Vimeo is that they share that revenue with content creators. Websites such as facebook still want to pay to distribute content and be seen. They have not shifted to the new model.


Slow Motion Climbing

It is interesting to watch Slow motion climbing because you get to see precisely what people are doing. You get to see how each muscle group is moving and you see how much the body swings as someone jumps from one hold to another. It allows you to appreciate the subtlety of the moves.

People like to say that rock climbing is about technique rather than strength but it is evident from these slow motion sequences that muscle groups are working hard. You see the arm muscles, the arm muscles and the back muscles move. You also see how the legs act as counterweights. The video above would be better if it was one or two minutes.

The same can be said about the video below. What makes slow motion interesting is to catch details that you would not otherwise notice. Ideally slow motion edits should show the action in real time and then show the same action in slow motion. The beauty of slow motion is that you can see how technically perfect a move was. In some cases a person starts from vertical and goes for another hold. In this action they go from vertical to horizontal, swinging on their fingertips. Slow motion brings the effort to life.

There are other moments where a massive effort, when seen in real time, is clear to see When you watch that same motion in slow motion it looks relaxed and serene. That is the beauty of this medium.

Slow motion should highlight the beauty of a well executed move to help emphasise that it was technically good. Slow motion should be used sparingly.