We are excited to announce our partnership with legendary National Geographic photographer and filmmaker Bob Krist.
In October of 2019, we’re offering to our most enthusiastic and dedicated photographers, a truly unique and outstanding opportunity to take one’s visual storytelling skills to the next level. This workshop will take place in Karl Grobl’s hometown of Siem Reap Cambodia, where Karl has held his annual visual storytelling workshop since 2011. Cambodia’s eerily gorgeous temples may be a first-time visitor’s draw, but participants soon discover that the Cambodian people and their stories are the real treasures to behold.
Whether you like shooting stills, video, or a combination of both, this workshop will help you develop the visual storytelling skills you need. The workshop begins with lectures and instruction to introduce you to basic visual storytelling skills and then immediately facilitates the use of these skills in a real-life photo documentary that you’ll develop and shoot on the streets, and in the rural villages of Cambodia.
Bob and Karl will not only help you develop and plan your story before you arrive but also challenge and mentor you from its inception all the way through to its final edits. During the workshop, you’ll enjoy and benefit from the camaraderie and collective wisdom of like-minded individuals who are willing to travel the world and dig deep to find and tell a great story. Multi-media storytelling can seem overwhelming at first, but Bob and Karl break it down into easy to grasp, digestible pieces for you.
Come along on this once-in-a-lifetime experience, it will not only change how you see and photograph your adventures, it will also influence how and why you travel in the first place.
Day 1: (Oct 5) Participants arrive in Siem Reap, are picked up at the airport, and transported to our hotel, the Foreign Correspondents’ Club (FCC). Guests who arrive early can relax by the pool, explore the riverfront area or take a stroll to the nearby old French Quarter. This evening we’ll have a cocktail reception and welcome dinner where you’ll meet Karl, Bob and your fellow participants. Bob and Karl will show a short slide presentation, and give an overview of what to expect during the workshop. Overnight in Siem Reap.
Day 2: (Oct 6) No trip to Cambodia would be complete without a chance to photograph the stunning temples of Angkor. So, first thing this morning, we’ll warm up our visual senses on a visit to the South Gate of Angkor Thom, and then to Bayon Temple. We’ll return to the hotel for breakfast and our workshop will begin in earnest with a talk on the fundamentals of dynamic visual storytelling—from a story’s inception to the multimedia product’s final edit. You’ll learn methods for capturing images and video using digital cameras and smartphones, and how to choose appropriate audio options for recording sound. In the late afternoon, we’ll turn our attention to Angkor Wat and shoot until the light fades. Around 7:30 p.m. we’ll enjoy dinner together. Overnight in Siem Reap.
Day 3: (Oct 7) This morning’s lesson continues with the components of visual storytelling. After lunch, your team meets with the instructor to discuss your predetermined story ideas. Perhaps you have chosen to document the history of a local family’s restaurant, a day in the life of a rice farmer, or the efforts of a stone-carver working to replace the lost artifacts of the Khmer Empire. Or you might have decided to follow the good work of a Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) aiding the environment, children’s education, microfinance, or community development. Today we’ll help you plan for and zero-in in on your story and subject, it’s time to jump in: make contact with your interview subjects, and assemble and prep equipment for tomorrow’s fieldwork. Overnight in Siem Reap.
Day 4: (Oct 8) Head out into the field today to start bringing your story to life! Make photographs, film interviews with your subjects, record ambient sounds, and begin drafting narration. Capture additional stills and video footage around Siem Reap to enrich your story descriptions. This evening we’ll gather in the classroom to review the day’s work and plan for your next phase of shooting. Overnight in Siem Reap.
Day 5: (Oct 9) Today we’ll take a break to decompress from our assignments and have some fun. We’ll travel by bus to the floating villages on Cambodia’s largest lake, Tonle Sap. First, we’ll photograph this amazing area on foot, then we’ll board small boats to better observe and photograph a floating market. We’ll enjoy lunch at our boatman’s house, then head to Beng Mealea Temple for an afternoon shoot. We’ll return to Siem Reap and cap off the evening with a private, traditional Cambodian Apsara dance performance. Overnight in Siem Reap.
Day 6: (Oct 10) Continue collecting your story video footage, stills, and audio this morning before returning to the classroom for more lectures and presentations on visual storytelling, focusing on the postproduction phase. Begin pulling together your content and start editing your story into a cohesive visual narrative. Soon you’ll put finishing touches on your story with help from your instructors, incorporating expert advice on finalizing the sound, stills, and motion of your presentation. Overnight in Siem Reap.
Day 7: (Oct 11) Today offers a second chance the capture the breathtaking Bayon Temple and Angkor Wat. This repeat visit allows you to improve upon your shots from Day 1. In the late afternoon we’ll visit Les Artisans d’Ankgor workshop to photograph local craftspeople. Overnight in Siem Reap.
Day 8: (Oct 12) This is the final day to shoot more images for your story or use it as your free day to shop/relax and/or prepare for this evening’s “best-of” slideshow. Karl and Bob will be available all day to assist you with anything photographic. Tonight we’ll meet for a delicious dinner, followed by the presentation of each student’s completed visual story. Overnight in Siem Reap.
Day 9: (Oct 13) After a leisurely breakfast, we’ll board our private transportation for a 5-hour ride south to Cambodia’s vibrant capital city, Phnom Penh. Along the way, we’ll witness local Cambodian life, rice fields, and stop in a town where fried tarantula is the local delicacy. After arriving in Phnom Penh, we’ll check into our hotel and then enjoy dinner overlooking the river. Overnight in Phnom Penh.
Day 10: (Oct 14) This morning we’ll be transported by tuk-tuk to visit and photograph the infamous S-21 Prison, Toeul Sleng, and the Killing Fields at Choeung Ek. Participants have the option to capture a variety of images and sound files that will that could be combined into another short visual story, or just enjoy photographing what you see and experience. If you do decide to create a short visual story about your time in Phnom Penh, after lunch, Bob and Karl will provide some ideas and guidance for you. This evening we’ll do some riverside street shooting, then dine at a local restaurant. Those interested in an after-hours night shoot follow Karl to the Heart of Darkness. Overnight in Phnom Penh.
Day 11: (Oct 15) We’ll rise early to capture images of the city of Phnom Penh waking up. Following breakfast, Karl will review tomorrow’s road trip to Battambang. The remainder of the day is free for shooting, shopping, resting, or exploring Cambodia’s capital. Overnight in Phnom Penh.
Day 12: (Oct 16) After breakfast, we’ll board our private transportation to Cambodia’s second largest city, Battambang, a French Colonial town more sleepy and charming than Siem Reap or Phnom Penh. We’ll make frequent stops along the way to stretch our legs, see roadside life and capture images. Overnight in Battambang.
Day 13: (Oct 17) We’ll be up early to photograph Battambang’s largest market (some areas of the market are not for the faint of heart), then return to the hotel for breakfast. Midday, you’ll have the opportunity to have Karl and Bob critique/review your work and offer support with items you need help with. You’ll have time to relax by the pool or get a nap in, if you want. In the afternoon we’ll photograph monks, locals, and activities along Battambang’s riverfront park, Stung Sangke. Tonight’s group dinner will be at a local Cambodian restaurant. Overnight in Battambang.
Day 14: (Oct 18) This morning we’ll fan out into Battambang town for some street shooting. In the afternoon, depending on time and our energy levels, we’ll visit and photograph a brick factory, ice factory and/or a community living along the abandoned train tracks. This evening we’ll enjoy dinner and our final image sharing party. Overnight in Battambang.
Day 15 (Oct 19):
After an early breakfast, you are transported back to Siem Reap for your international departures. (2.5 hour ride from Battambang to Siem Reap).
OPTIONAL Aerial Photography Extension:
Day 1 (Oct 19):
Upon returning to Siem Reap, we’ll have lunch then begin our Aerial Photography Extension.
Patrick and Karl will go over the essentials of Aerial filmography including:
- Components of the drone
- Safety for you and others
- Basic operation of the drone, controls: take-off and landing, camera movements
- Filming and flying: how to keep it safe and simple
- Emergency procedures (a.k.a Plan B): how to get the drone to take over control (auto-pilot) and return to landing zone sound and safe
- The workflow from drone preparation, flight plans, take-off check-list, flight, landing, off-loading media, editing, sharing
- How to compose from above: altitude, movement pace, light, focus areas: how to combine these and get engaging clips
Later in the day, you’ll have on-location practice – learning to take off and land, basic moves, rotation, panning and dolly shots both low and high altitude. We’ll capture the sunset on the lake, filming the sunset reflections on the lake, with houseboats in the foreground.
This evening we’ll review dailies, sharing some of the unedited clips of the day. Constructive feedback will be given on strategies to get stable, flowing, engaging footage. We’ll also plan our filming for the next day.
Day 2 (Oct 20):
We’ll get an early start in order to film at sunrise. Our subject will include fisherman tending their to nets. We’ll return to Siem Reap for breakfast. After breakfast, we’ll have a short viewing session and discuss workflow – including how to compose a draft clip with videos and music.
After lunch in Siem Reap, we’ll visit the Floating Village to film the Pagoda, the fish farms and fishermen and the hundreds of houses on stilts. We’ll stay until sunset to take advantage of the beautiful evening light. After dinner in Siem Reap, we’ll have a sharing session of our work.
Day 3 (Oct 21):
In the morning, we’ll head out for an early flight at a nearby mountain.
We’ll spend the balance of the day working on your final edit, including music and color coding. We’ll discuss media sharing strategies so your work can be found. We’ll have a final discussion on theory and best practices. We’ll have a farewell dinner at a local, contemporary restaurant in Siem Reap.
Day 4 (Oct 22):
Participants are transported to the airport to board their flights home.