DiGiulian, Webb Win Inaugural Pisobloc Masters Series Event

Climbing has the report from the inaugural Psicobloc Masters Series event held Friday night that saw Sasha DiGiulian and Jimmy Webb both walk away $5,000 richer for besting the competition in their respective fields.  I have yet to have any time to actually watch the comp myself, but I get the impression that overall it went off very well with some common complaints surfacing regarding things like announcers and other aspects of the broadcast that can always be improved on.  Most tellingly, the sentiment I saw from viewers and competitors alike seemed to be:  when will people stop posting pictures of the wall on Instagram when can we do this again?  Catch a replay of the event here.

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41 Responses to DiGiulian, Webb Win Inaugural Pisobloc Masters Series Event

  1. Owen August 5, 2013 at 12:14 pm #

    Enjoyed is massively. However there’s still some ironing out to be done with the format. Jimmy almost canonballed Vasya from 40 feet..

    The walltopia wall was pretty awesome. Maybe they couldve made more out of their lighting?

    They need to figure out how to give climbers enough time to rest without breaking up the action too much. Impossible?

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  2. THE menace August 5, 2013 at 6:38 pm #

    Thought it was awesome! Seems like the water was great but seeing 2 climbers head to head made cool too maybe more interesting to the non climber. The water was the icing on the cake. Hearing the male announcer say GD i think 3 times was extra funny!

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  3. How to make yourself look like a jerk August 6, 2013 at 1:49 am #

    I thought it was really rude the way the announcer asked Miguel Rivera (spelling? ) to speak in English, even if it was a joke. He really looked uncomfortable after that and to be honest I felt it was just a dick thing to do to someone who doesn’t speak English as a first language.

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    • SB August 6, 2013 at 4:07 am #

      I had the feeling everybody was uncomfortable talking to him. Maybe as an European I am not accustomed to the non hippy American, and no personal offense but I found the announcer an odd fit for the show. And where is that vocabulary from: “operate”, “execute”?
      The offensive introduction of Miguel Rivera was definitely the lowpoint.

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      • Narc August 6, 2013 at 9:57 am #

        I don’t think most climbers have looked comfortable talking on camera at all during these comps regardless of who is interviewing them

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      • jah August 6, 2013 at 12:36 pm #

        I think that both of the announcers were ill-prepared and obnoxious, and the “speak english” comment was not acceptable in the least bit. Even if the competitors are uncomfortable talking to any interviewers, they looked especially so during this comp.

        Also, I think Miguel spoke better English than both of the announcers…

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    • EJS August 6, 2013 at 11:17 am #

      I thought the exact same thing. His comment was definitely in bad taste.

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  4. Adrian August 6, 2013 at 6:57 am #

    I have to agree, but the guy’s name is actually Miguel Riera not Rivera. In my eyes that made it even more akward.

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    • Narc August 6, 2013 at 9:56 am #

      That’s what I was thinking too. An honest mistake, but I think clearly that entire interview was not a great idea.

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  5. cabbagepatchkid August 6, 2013 at 8:29 am #

    the announcer was really rude to colette, too. lame.

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  6. m00nshine August 6, 2013 at 8:58 am #

    I felt bad for collette the whole time…her cohost was a total DBag.

    That said…jimmy webb…candidate for best year evr?

    Flashing testpieces from Daniel woods, dave graham and pRob, and beating sharma in a DWS comp.

    Oh my!

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    • Narc August 6, 2013 at 9:56 am #

      Jimmy has had a pretty good year I’d say

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    • bob August 6, 2013 at 10:31 am #

      Sharma pretty obviously came off intentionally. I think from the start he had no intention of standing on the podium at an event he organized.

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      • michael August 6, 2013 at 12:02 pm #

        I disagree. I think he really wanted to win the event. He kind of did in a way as the only one to top out the route. He probably sticks that dyno 19/20 times but like he said with that kind of move there is always a chance you fall.

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        • bob August 6, 2013 at 2:06 pm #

          No way. After being the only male to top out the wall he had nothing else to gain at a competition he created/organized, in an environment he was by far the most comfortable in (DWS), and on routes set by one of his best friends (Andrada). He bowed out gracefully in a way such that most people wouldn’t notice. Dude’s a class act and always has been.

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  7. Van August 6, 2013 at 12:25 pm #

    Seems like announcers for these events try too hard and talk too much. Colette did nicely though. Can we just agree to have Timmy O as the mc for all future events? At least he’s quick witted

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    • Narc August 6, 2013 at 12:33 pm #

      I haven’t finished watching yet, but one of my biggest problems thus far has been the announcers not talking enough actually. They provided very little context as to who was climbing and what was happening. Most of the time climbers were on the wall was filled with dead air.

      Either way, I’ve long maintained that a broadcast needs separate announcers than the in house MC and this comp was really no different.

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    • Jackie August 7, 2013 at 1:37 pm #

      If they do go with other announcers I think someone besides Timmy would be better, as after…how many years?…as the Vail WC MC he still doesn’t seem to know anything about the competitors and still pronounces many of their names wrong. I think someone very in touch with the comp scene and competitors would be good.

      Loved Colette cause, you know, she’s awesome.

      Honestly I thought JT was funny though of course probably not PC enough to be on a live broadcast and I missed some of the commentary including the Miguel Riera intro.

      My biggest issue with the broadcast was that they didn’t put enough emphasis on the falling climbers, or do slo-mo replays, or anything that would make it more exciting in that way. Instead they just followed the top climber and often the bottom climber would silently disappear. Maybe even having a separate “fall cam” and fall commentators with a “best falls” replay at the end would be a good addition.

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      • Narc August 7, 2013 at 2:24 pm #

        The bottom climber disappearing was a big problem. It was especially odd when the leading climber kept going after the lower climber fell.

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        • peterbeal August 7, 2013 at 2:52 pm #

          Pool cam like in diving events!

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      • douglashunter August 7, 2013 at 5:19 pm #

        Having slow-mo replays would have been great and it would have allowed them to have a camera that was a dedicated “fall cam” so when a climber dropped out of frame, at the end of the heat, they could go to the replay. Being able to do that requires more staff, more equipment and more knowledge, and therefore more money which they most likely did not have. Maybe next year.

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  8. Colin P August 6, 2013 at 1:00 pm #

    I watched the entire comp a couple nights ago and although I loved the lineup and the DWS-style, I felt that the announcers were AWFUL, and (less importantly) there were a few things that needed to be ironed out with the format: Mainly the close call falls and the uneven pump factors for the athletes. It was also pretty clear that athlete strategy will change as this comp format progresses. I doubt we’ll see many climbers continuing after beating the high point of their opponent in the future, except in the finals round. As for the announcers, JT was insensitive, ill-prepared (asking someone off-camera what the prize purse is and knowing nothing about how ties are judged), and I thought his personality was completely overshadowed by the amazing climbers he talked to, many of whom were clearly annoyed with his prodding. I thought Sasha did a wonderful job of glazing over his nonsense and she showed a lot of class. As for Colette, she was a nice person and harmless, but her speech was a bit jumbled and she struggled for things to say. I really hope the production companies sort out the announcing issues in our sport…

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  9. yomama August 6, 2013 at 1:24 pm #

    Agreed with with total dbag MC comments, turned the sound off. And why did they have to wear shirts? At least some eye candy would make watching without sound more enjoyable.

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    • Cody Jones (@DrJones13) August 6, 2013 at 1:33 pm #

      I don’t know if you all noticed as well, but the camera angles and choosing when to cut to another angle was gawd awful. Its not like its very hard to video shoot a climber..(pretty slow movement) but countless times we missed falls, or the heights the opponents reached because the cameras were off showing splash heights. I think overall it was a bust after Louder than 11 has been doing so well shooting competitions and having that great british guy doing all the announcing. The Hosts needed to realize why this competition was held in the first place, It was a chance for Sharma to showcase his dream, rally the climbing community after getting snuffed at the olympic voting, and to bring to light the great personalities our idol climbers have. I mean come on. Sasha is a class act (though she needs to lighten her red bull intake a bit). Instead we got a rendition from the hosts of an X-Game type of event where every person is out to win it all. Not the case.

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      • Narc August 6, 2013 at 2:02 pm #

        The british guy, Dan, is quite good, but he has never announced an LT11 broadcast from what I can recall.

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        • Cody Jones (@DrJones13) August 6, 2013 at 2:41 pm #

          Hmm I wonder how I got confused then. bummer, thanks for the clear up. You did a broadcast with him right? I mean, maybe it would have been better if the hosts of this competition did a sort of check with the feeds and the fans, give shout-outs..that sort of thing. All that had was an instagram contest, and I couldn’t for the life of me even find what photos won.

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          • Narc August 6, 2013 at 2:49 pm #

            I’ve done two with LT11 but Dan was not there for those. I was supposed to be at the psicocomp to help integrate the online chat with the broadcast but I had a prior engagement I couldn’t get out of.

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      • douglashunter August 7, 2013 at 11:36 am #

        A couople of comments: as someone who has produced a number of live, multi-cam events for brodcast at remote locations, I think it’s important to keep in mind how hard these things are do to. To fully staff such an event with seasoned professionals, to have enough audio coverage, lighting, good hosts, and a signal path that will give the best results you really can’t do it for under $45K. I don’t think these guys had anywhere near that kind of money meaning they had to take a lot of short cuts and they were still able to pull it off, so I think they did a really good job with what must have been a budget that didn’t come close to matching the demands of what they were trying to do!

        You mentioned the editing and the camera work. I agree there were a lot of problems but keep in mind that editing this kind of event is different from typical editing because the cutting is done LIVE, by the director who calls the cuts. He is in the booth saying ” . . .camera four in 3 … 2… 1… ” It takes a seasoned live event director to do a good job at this. it sounds simple but its not. the director is looking at the feeds from all the cameras at the same time and has to anticipate when to cut to a camera to get the best angle on the action. The cutting would have been better if they didn’t try cutting from the crane on the left side of the wall to the camera on the right side of the wall that was on the water. Cutting between those two angles is a jump cut in the firt place and it was too hard to make the cut in time to see the fall and impact. A wider shot from a netural angle would have been a safer choice, we would have caught the fall and the impact if they had done that, all be it in a wider shot. But I can imagine that the director was being ambitious he really wanted to get those impacts in a closer shot so he tried and it didn’t quite work. Also, from what I saw, it looked to me like this event was done totally wireless. That adds another level of complexity in that signals from cameras can go down, there can be delay in the signal, etc.

        As for the hosts they were horrible, both of them. I don’t really balme them though, they just weren’t up to the task, it was a hiring mistake. Hosting a live event is really tough, a host needs to be well supported, they need to be articulate, they need to be able to multi-task without looking like they are multi-tasking, they need to have the right instincts and the right kind of energy. For example, it was a horrible choice to try to get interviews with the athletes as they were approachgin to the wall, and he was so in their faces! Show respect for the athlete! Get an interview afterwards. A debrief has a far better chance of being a good interview than getting in someone’s face 30 seconds before they have to compete. A host also needs to know who they are dealing with and if someone is not going to be a good interview, then don’t interview that person! If the producer / director insists on a specific interview with someone who is not good on camera, the host needs to know how to draw someone out, put the athlete at ease and ask the kinds of questions that anyone can answer. It takes a ton of pre-production work and planning to be a good host.

        Anyway, despite those notes, I say what LT11 did was very impressive! Live events, involving live internet streams are pretty much the most complex challenge there is in broadcasting (it’s easier to do a live TV broadcast than it is a live webcast.) and they deserve a ton of credit for pulling it off!

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        • Narc August 7, 2013 at 2:21 pm #

          Well said. Pulling something off like this on a small budget leaves little margin for error.

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        • Jordan Shipman August 8, 2013 at 4:45 pm #

          That was really good feedback–especially coming from your experience. I was directing the show and it was very difficult–for a lot of reasons. Most difficult we’ve ever done (which is only 3 comp broadcasts really) and yeah the budget was less than 1/4 of what you say it would take to pull it off to meet demand 🙂 I’m glad people enjoyed it despite having criticisms with the comp. I’m working on a blog writeup of my behind the scenes experience. I’d be interested to get your thoughts after I post! 🙂

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          • Silver August 8, 2013 at 11:03 pm #

            1/4 of…yeah, that’s bloody amazing considering what we saw. And the fact you could grab a replay basically right after? C’mon, how great is that? I can’t think of any other sport I watch that does that.

            I’ll be waiting for that blog post of yours, I’m curious to see how it looked from the other side. This might be an oddball question, and you might not be able to answer it, but who owns the wall? Is it a Walltopia standard piece of equipment they can manufacture, or was it a one off?

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          • douglashunter August 10, 2013 at 4:35 pm #

            Less than a 1/4?! Yea, I would have said it would be impossible to do it for that kind of money, but you guys did it. I’m sure “difficult” is putting it mildly! nice job.

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    • Chuck August 7, 2013 at 8:42 am #

      I don’t think the comp needed announcing quite as formal as a major sports event like and NFL or NBA game but JT was so amateurish it reflected poorly on the athletes, the venue and the other announcer. I kept thinking about how lame the event would seem to a non-climber because there was this buffoon MC trying to look like a 16-year-old babbling nonsense over all the action.

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  10. Chuck August 6, 2013 at 1:29 pm #

    The male announcer, “JT”, was unbearably irritating. Absolutely unbearable. I echo the thoughts above. Rude. Ill-prepared. Incessant, vapid chatter. Terrible, just terrible.

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    • bob August 6, 2013 at 2:14 pm #

      Fact: when a guy is a complete tool in real life and then he’s given a microphone and a camera shoved in his face (along with likely a few cocktails), his toolness is magnified exponentially. I watched with the volume off.

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  11. ky6er August 6, 2013 at 3:05 pm #

    I’d like to see them break the comp into two parts (women first 2 rounds and then men 2 rounds break to reset the route and then the last 2 rounds of women and men). That would hopefully fix at least some of the pump problem and also it would at least mix it up a little for who might win. Obviously, this would take awhile so they’d have to figure out a way to change out the routes faster.

    I would also like to see the announcers in a booth and just have them give us some background on the climbers current travels, accomplishments maybe (or whatever) and leave out all the interviews to and from the wall, its obviously annoying to the climbers to have someone all up in their grill seconds before getting on the wall and someone sticking a mic in their face as soon as they get out of the water before they even get a towel and on top of that maybe having to climb again in the next 5 minutes! When someone’s eliminated that would be the appropriate to get an interview. You dont see basketball players being interviewed on the bench and having a mic in their face as their checking in to play.

    And finally, more cameras and better lighting!

    All that said though I loved it, watched every second of it freaking live! (how cool is that?) and even though I too was annoyed by the MCing I left the sound on cause hey train wrecks can be fun.

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    • Chuck August 7, 2013 at 8:28 am #

      Alternating men’s and women’s rounds is a great idea. Wouldn’t have worked with the wall set-up this time but more rest time for the competitors will be crucial for future comps.

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  12. Silver August 6, 2013 at 3:15 pm #

    Hosting something like this is actually hard to do. Having said that, JT, specifically, would have been better off rocking the flat bill at a Motocross event. Was it my imagination, or were there more than a few obnoxious sexist remarks out of him as well? I remember thinking…”Duuude, did you just say that?” more than a few times, which is not a good thing.

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  13. daustin August 6, 2013 at 11:46 pm #

    JT and Collette were so bad they were good. Can’t blame Collette though, because I can’t imagine working with someone like JT – it’s one thing to be obnoxious, but he also managed to be offensive and vaguely creepy too. They should get announcers that either 1) aren’t totally hammered or 2) can handle their booze better. Announcers aside, they definitely have to sort some format/logistic issues out, as mentioned by others. Especially the whole JWebb almost falling on Vasya and the disproportionate advantage in rest time by climbing at the start of a round.

    side note: shout out to all the other live chatters, that shit was hilarious. I tip my hat to you all

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  14. Alton August 8, 2013 at 5:45 pm #

    For what they had to work with, I think Jonathan and Colette did a great job. How about you guys, who are so quick to point blame and call people out try and announce a comp, live in front of 1,000+ people at the event and 19,000+ watching on-line. NOT easy, in the least. Yes, they probably needed a little better “brief” beforehand, but I think they did really well. They had the crowd on their feet when needed and encouraged the climbers for the most part fairly well and actually asked engaging questions. The swearing was a little over the top, at times. But this is rock climbing, not gymnastics. Get over it.

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    • Chuck August 8, 2013 at 6:06 pm #

      Who said the announcing job was easy? Who complained about the swearing? Are you suggesting that because the job is difficult it is beyond criticism? Why put “brief” in quotes? The consensus opinion of this forum is that the comp was sick despite the crappy announcing. Get over it.

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