Friday, October 23, 2015

Bangkok - Part 4

And finally, some field work...

At the hotel lobby waiting for my ride

En route to the MSE Thai cooking school in Sukhumvit
As usual, I got up from sleep and headed straight for my walk at the Banjasiri park across the road from the hotel.
Had a hearty breakfast and strolled across the street where the trainer and some of the students were already waiting.
While nearly 80% of the people who attended this workshop are using only their smartphones to complete the job, I came prepared.
I was upbeat and looked forward to the chance to apply my videography skills at a Thai cooking school.
We have been briefed about the assignment and here are the requirements:

  1. Do a script to capture the story.
  2. Interview the key subject at the location.
  3. Capture establishing shots.
  4. Record B-rolls.
  5. Edit the video.
  6. Do a voice-over.
  7. Do a "piece to camera".
  8. Present the completed assignment with all the criterias given.
At 09:00 sharp, we rolled out towards mid-town. 
The destination was a cooking school at the Thong Lor district. Our van driver got lost and retraced his way to the actual address where the school was located.
My perception was an old wooden home teaching traditional Thai cooking. Just like the ones in Cambodia.
But this one caught me by surprise. It was a modern set-up with a real professional touch.
They have chef's equipment displayed at the main lobby of the school.
We were given a welcome drink and a briefing before the head of the school Chef Chumpol Jangprai gave a cooking demonstration. That was one of the main tasks and with my minimalist rig, I went to work on capturing my "B" roll before zeroing on the main event.

My video rig at work
Most of the guys have large tripods to stabilize their video capture. I only had a table top rig which proved to be very useful.
But I had to get very close to make the most out of my Canon EF-M 11-22mm lens and the EF-M 55-200mm zoom lens.
Both lenses worked wonders as I utilized them to capture the required footages for my assignment.

Experience counts...

We had very limited time to complete the field work.
To me, the highlight of the day was rigging up Chef Chumpol for an interview. I chose a good spot and worked on rigging him up with a lavalier microphone to pick up a decent audio for the required soundbites.
By lunch time, it was all over.
We went back to the hotel and worked on the final edit.
I had my Microsoft Surface 2 tablet and tried to edit the video. But to now avail.
And my years of experience in the field kicked-in. Frustrated but not given up at all, I went to the hotel's business centre and tried my luck with their computer.
By the time I got to a proper one, it was late in the afternoon.
Fortunately, there as an i-mac desktop on their business centre and I went to work right away editing the video.
I managed to trim everything in and submitted my first-cut.
The trainer rejected it and told me there was no voice-over. I had to redo the clip and was given a lavalier microphone and taught on how it's done on the Apple i-movie software.
So, I went back to re-work the video and at last, I got it right...

My submission was finally accepted and shown to the rest of the class. You can click on the YouTube link above to view the final cut.

All in a day's work
Made the cut!

With a tight deadline, some of the students were not able to submit their work on time.
My goal was to keep it simple and follow all the rules. 
I did not divert from my plan of telling a simple story using all the techniques that were taught earlier.
Later that day, out hosts treated us to a dinner in downtown Sukhumvit. I had some beers with the rest of the guys and thanked them for being such sporting people.
The remaining days of the workshop had focused on other aspects of videography and networking among the Asian News Network members.
For me, the Bangkok experience taught me some useful skills such as getting good audio, sticking to the rules and deadline.
Most important of all, be confident in getting a good story.
If there are more opportunities as such, I would never hesitate to sign-up...

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