Over two decades Paul 'Huffy' Houghoughi has dedicated his life to climbing. With the birth of his second child imminent he decided to try to send his hardest first ascent to date - a low start to a short steep boulder problem. Starting from the footholds would add a couple of extra moves, but adding those moves would take months. This commitment would mean countless hours of training and many days spent away from his wife Portia and their first child Ava. One year later he succeeded - and his journey with the sport was complete.
This is a film about bouldering, but more than that, it's about one man's mindset, motivations and battle to understand what he had dedicated his life to. Sometimes it's about something greater than the route.
I filmed Huffy's video over 2 days with bouldering on Portland at the Cuttings and Portland Bill, grappling at his local Jujitsu gym and capturing parts of life at his family home sat between the two. The most important and difficult part of this was sitting down and chatting to him about his life and climbing. Knowing what questions to ask, when to talk or be quiet and when to probe a little more and how to do this. All quite a nervous experience for both of us. Fortunately for me Huffy fully embraced making the film and even let me crash at his pad! We did 2 interviews and I captured lots of incidental audio with probably the most insight coming in the last 7 minute recording, after we both had time to think about things.
I used 2 different cameras and a range of vintage lenses for the digital footage. The digital camera was the bmpcc, known for its ability to capture great colour and its wide dynamic range. The vintage lenses included a Helios 44 used with a speed booster, an old Pentax C mount lens for the wider / cramped shots and a MIR 37mm used for the middle shots and fighting. The bmpcc doesn't have in camera stability and neither do the lenses so a steady hand was needed helped by a shoulder mount adapted from my 16mm Krasnogorsk 3. Each lens has its own distinct characteristics with the Helios being my favourite, giving a lovely low contrast look with a tendency to flare and great shallow depth of field when used with a speed booster. The second camera I used was an old AGFA movezoom super 8 all handheld with this the intention was to capture a sort of home movie feel. I used 2 rolls of Kodak Vision 3 50D colour negative stock due to the bright daylight high contrast conditions it was quite a challenge for that old camera to handle and it mostly did it well! Particularly when shooting a 54fps.
I received the film back in a 4K scan and had my 1080p digital footage both in a 'flat' profile for colour correction. I tried to keep this as natural as possible using film convert and colour finale in fcpx to add a bit of contrast and balance the colour as much as possible between lenses.