Editor’s note: Kaard Bombe is a videographer, still photographer, owner of a small-scale (his words) production company called kb films, and a digital media student based in Phoenix, Arizona. Kaard Bombe also is young, ambitious, passionate about people and places, and very committed to visual storytelling.
Our product design team met him at Dead Horse Point in Utah as he was setting up a time-lapse shot for the ongoing Colorado River Re-Storied project (more to come about that).
We caught up with Kaard in between trips to cover a story on the mayors of Arizona, a quick flight to Washington, D.C. to shoot a rally on prescription drug use, and keeping pace with his Arizona State University coursework.
What inspired you to get involved in the world of imagery?
I had always been interested in technology and computers from a really young age, but my interest in video really started when my 3rd grade teacher Mrs. Curran asked me to help on my elementary school’s brand new monthly broadcast show, MBC (Moulton Broadcasting Company). After being featured in my school district’s film festival for my first video on math within the art at the Getty Museum that year, I was hooked. However, it wasn’t until I broke my neck my freshman year of high school that I switched my focus back from sports to video, where I started by filming my teammates games as the Varsity Video Coordinator. After eventually filming for almost varsity sports team, starting our own sports webcasting network, and making the videos for my high school’s pep rallies. I knew video was the career I wanted to pursue.
How do you balance your journalism studies and your video and still projects?
A lot of people don’t realize that shooting video or photos is only half of the process – when I get home from a shoot, I have to dedicate time to transferring media, re-organizing gear, charging batteries (all of my LED lights use AA’s – over 20 batteries total), as well as syncing my audio and video files for editing. All of that takes time, and I can’t put it off when I need all of my gear set and ready to go the next morning. When I go on an 8 hour shoot, it takes at least another 2 hours back at my computer to be completely ready to go for the next day’s work, and that’s not even taking into account my edit time to take that raw footage to a finished product. Partly because of this workflow, balance is something that I honestly have never achieved, and probably never quite will. I switched from a traditional degree in Journalism to a non-traditional completely online program, Digital Media and Mass Communications, which is still through Arizona State’s Walter Cronkite School of Mass Communications. The ease of taking classes online far outweighs the benefits of personal interaction and networking that occur in more traditional classes, and enables me to maintain a more respectable GPA. I’ve found that dedicating more time to work instead of sitting in a classroom brings me in contact with a lot of different people, each with different stories, perspectives, and backgrounds. Personally, I get a lot more from that than I ever did in your typical school environment.
Please share your list of go-to gear with us.
I always joke that video, especially DSLR video, is a black hole when it comes to gear, in the sense that you can throw all the money you ever have at it and still never quite have all of the gear you possibly want (or maybe that’s just me – G.A.S. anyone?) My typical shoot starts with my camera, a 5D MrkIII, along with 3 Canon lenses: the 100mmL Macro, the 50mmL f/1.2, and the 16-35mmL. I’ve found that these lenses work best with my style of shooting, although it is likely a lens package that seems limiting and strange to most. The rest of my gear is mainly audio – I use a Zoom H4n as my primary recorder and a Audio Technica Shotgun AT8035 as my primary mic, and I pack in a Lav as well as Rode Video Mic-Pro as backup (I have to keep everything from XLR to 8mm AUX cables in my bag also, since I need to be able to pull audio from any AV set-up on event and wedding shoots). My LED lights fit in my belt bags, as well as my nifty Triple Hot Shoe Light and Sound Bracket to mount my zoom, a shotgun mic, and LED to my camera without a full-blown rig. I’ve fallen in love with my Lowepro Fastpack, as I can fit all of that stuff in without having to put all of the weight on one shoulder, and it enables me to build my camera quickly yet still keep other accessories on me while I’m on the move, which is vital for many of the events I shoot.
How do you use your particular videography style to tell stories?
I’m really focused on stories of place and people as it relates to my subject, and it’s less about the actual videography than it is in the approach to the project and making that interview or shoot an interactive conversation. I believe that the most organic and truthful answers and actions come from a foundation of comfort and open dialogue; making my subject know that the only angle I’m coming from is that of someone who is passionately curious. I almost never send a list of questions in advance to my subjects, and I never keep a list of topics or specific details I want to ask about, and very rarely will I ever stage a shot to advance the type of dialogue I want to create. Instead, I rely on the passion of my subjects to give me all of the pieces of their story, which I then do my best to assemble in a way that portrays their reality.
What’s up on your project list?
I have a couple of long term projects in the Colorado River Re-Storied and Overtaken 2, both of which are going to keep me busy for a few more months. Right now, I’m just wrapping up the AZ Mayors project for the VerdeXchange conference, where I’ve crisscrossed Arizona interviewing mayors of Arizona cities about economic development and future projects. For the Arizona State student paper The State Press, I’m developing a longer-term multimedia project about water, a subject I’m very passionate about and something that’s very important to the Southwest as a whole. However, it is football season, so a lot of stuff on my schedule is ESPN and Pac-12 work in Tempe for ASU Football and Volleyball, where I’ll be learning to run a live “hard cam” during the broadcast.