Making the Shot: Yuegene Fay as Kaneki from Tokyo Ghoul

"Teaser"

#theartofmezame #thoughts

First thing that came to my mind for this shoot was “I should get a lightmeter.”
Taking this shot of world-renowned cosplayer Yuegene as Kaneki from Tokyo Ghoul made me realize how important metering in the dark is. I am convinced that shooting “blindly” to meter for background and then to subject can be a time-consuming process. From what I understand, a lightmeter can help shorten that duration, and above all, looks more professional.

This also happened to be my first time doing a shoot utilizing a tripod because “I have to”. I usually use a tripod to do tests or shoot without one for my night photography.

For those who love tech talk, the settings for this shot are:
Shutter: 1/6 sec (this is the reason why I needed a tripod)
Focal length: 130mm (on the EF70-200mm f/2.8L IS II USM with IS on)
Aperture: f/14 (because I needed to keep things sharp)
ISO: 2000

The shutter speed is set as such because I wanted to get as much light as I could from the window lights in the city in the background. The ISO was a cause for concern as it could get pretty noisy but thank goodness for the 5D Mark III’s full-frame goodness, ability to handle lowlight and Lightroom, noise wasn’t much of an issue. It was still a little grainy but I had it fixed in post.

My bigger concern was losing details to overblown highlights and dark shadows . As it is, the shadows here are pretty much too dark for my liking initially but after a bit of tinkering, I thought hey that works – it created a bit of drama in the image.

Here’s Kaneki walking down the streets with the city in the back, and he pulls off his hood to reveal his face with part of it still in the shadows.

I could have used the Macro 100mm f2.8L IS but at this juncture, speed was everything and the 100mm wasn’t ‘fast enough’ at focusing in the dark, even with a helpful focusing light thanks to an assistant. In fact, most of the time, it was struggling to find its mark. It got frustrating.

Furthermore, with the 70-200, the image would have a ‘flatter’ feel to it, which is what I wanted.

A Canon 580 EXII provides a backlight to separate Yuegene from the background and one of my Bowens Gemini Esprit GM500 with an octobox was placed to the right of her to act as a keylight. A reflector on her left provided the fill required with light falling in from both the speedlight in the back and the keylight itself.

Light Diagram - Teaser

Overall, this was a really fun shot to get done and Yuegene approves of it (which is really important to me, considering how big of a following she has).

Anyway, I might be looking into one of the Sekonic lightmeters soon. Maybe something with a touch screen or back LEDs so I can work it in the darkness of the night.

See more of my collaboration with Yuegene at my Facebook page: Tokyo Ghoul’s Kaneki Ken feat. Yuegene Fay

This shoot was made possible with the awesome people from The Neo Tokyo Project and Kachang Puteh!

Hot Toys Iron Man 2 MMS120 War Machine + Light Blaster fun!

The Light Blaster strikes again, this time with War Machine taking center-stage. Colonel James Rupert “Rhodey” Rhodes never looked so badass until he dons the War Machine suit. The 85mm lens works really well with the Light Blaster, allowing for a more focused cast of the slide on the wall.

Hands on experience with the Light Blaster!

Heya guys! DIYPhotography recently sent me a copy of the Light Blaster and here I got the chance to check it out and test it on two of my collectibles. Special thank you to Udi especially who sent me this awesome device!

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Gravity didn’t agree with me when I played Jenga with the boxes.

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Just reading those words make you more awesome.

This image of Hot Toys‘s Selina Kyle and Batman which you will see later were both taken with the help of the Light Blaster.
The following walls of text are the results of my own personal opinions/review after a hands-on experience with the Light Blaster.The Light Blaster is both easy and a challenge to set up. It is by itself a unique and interesting creative kit that works like a projector, casting light from a strobe/speedlight onto a slide and then through a lens before casting the image on a wall/backdrop.

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Any image can be used as long as you place it on a 35mm slide or cut it onto a transparent sheet that fits the catch.

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This one goes here. That’s easy.

Attaching both the lens and the strobe/speedlight onto the Light Blaster’s main body was easy. Fixing the main body onto a light stand was easy. I was genuinely surprised at how sturdy the whole thing came together. Initially, I felt it was too plasticky and light but hoisting the whole thing in one hand proved otherwise after everything was attached. It held its own and both my lens and my speedlight did not fall off the main body. That’s a very good thing! Slotting in the slide for creative backgrounds into the Light Blaster itself was easy too. Everything felt secure and steady.

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Are we ready to go after setting the hardware up? Not quite.

Now here’s the challenging part. Focusing the lens to get the sharpest image onto a white wall was really tough as I didn’t have a measuring tape with me. Positioning was a little tricky too as placing the Light Blaster at the side, though preventing you from casting the slide’s image onto the figures, made the background image stretched out. Placing the Light Blaster right in front of the figures will cast the slide’s image onto the figures. Not quite what I wanted.

After experimenting with 2 speedlights (one on the Light Blaster and one on a reflective umbrella), I got what I thought would be the perfect placement. And so after almost 73 images of testing and experimenting, the image here was what I got.

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Toy Photography by The Art of Mezame

I love how my flat white wall now has textures, and I love how it looks like both Batman and Selina were both in Gotham City when the shot was taken. Or maybe some sewers or catacombs. I don’t know.It really was supposed to be a city.Unfortunately, I couldn’t translate the image of the city onto it clearly. Maybe I can try another angle tomorrow or work with a wider space. Shooting this in my dining room proved to be quite a challenge in itself. It didn’t help that I was using the 70-200mm too. Maybe I could use the 24-70mm next time, and use a smaller aperture.So much to experiement! Here’s the list of gear that I used for this experiment. I had my Canon EF 16-35mm f2.8 II USM and a Canon 580EX II on the Light Blaster. I had my Canon EF 70-200mm f2.8 IS II USM on my Canon EOS 5D Mark III. I also had my other Canon 580EX II firing onto a reflective umbrella as key light. All my speedlights are controlled by my Phottix Odins.

EXIF data:
Exposure – 1/200 sec at f/22
Focal length – 70mm
ISO – 250

The Light Blaster is just amazing. I am pretty sure I can nail it for toy photography, with more experimentations. I gotta try the Light Blaster on human models too. The initial test proved that it has a lot of potential. I love it, really. I can imagine already what else I can apply it on. Oh, and the slide designs can be expanded to include custom prints too!

2014-08-10 21.47.07This is not a hairdryer.

Final words: If you don’t have it, you should get it. But if you’re not the sort who’s patient and into experimenting with photography, mmmmm… well… stay boring then I say, go get one, or rent one, or borrow one. It’s awesome. You can do so much with it! I’m gonna take my time with learning how to use it. It does need some time to get used to. I might want to experiment with smoke and water soon with it. The possibilities are endless. Have a go with it and have fun with it
Take note: This was just an experiment. I didn’t really pose both the figures because I was more interested in trying out the Light Blaster. I’ll do a proper shoot once I get the hang of it the Light Blaster.

Epic Giveaway Contest for people residing in Singapore!

#contest #giveaway #theartofmezame #ironman #singapore

Heya friends!To celebrate The Art of Mezame hitting 2K Likes, I am giving away this epic print of a Hot Toys Ironman Mk VII which I have shot a while back to one lucky winner in a Like & Share contest! This contest is only valid for people residing in Singapore.
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The image will be printed on canvas, specially sponsored by our friends at I-fourdesign.To participate in this contest, all you have to do is make sure that you have already Liked my page at The Art of Mezame, then hit Like on the image itself here and Share it on Facebook! (Be sure to set your share to Public.)Using a random number generator, I will pick a random winner on the 23rd July 2014 (10pm Singapore time). Winner will be notified via my Facebook page and through a private message with details on how and when the giveaway will happen.“May the odds be ever in your favour!”Disclaimer: This contest is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with, Facebook, Hot Toys or Marvel. Prototype is shown, final product may be slightly different.

The Art of Mezame crew members and associates and members of the immediate family of any such persons are not eligible to participate and win.

Monty Oum approved RWBY/JNPR/Penny cosplay!

The folks at The Neo Tokyo Project got me to do a shoot of some of their cosplay friends in their RWBY costume. I’ve never seen a single episode of RWBY prior to this shoot but it looks pretty interesting. Had a crash course in their fight scenes on Youtube just to get an idea what this anime is really about. Turns out, it’s an awesome web animation by Rooster Teeth about gravity-defying girls and boys and oversized weapons and massive monsters… and a professor obsessed with a mug, apparently :P I’ve gotta start watching the series now that I’m finally done with Game of Thrones (for now).

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For this shoot, we found an aisle somewhere in Singapore and set up two Bowen Esprit Gemini GM500s. I wanted to get the shots during the golden hour but that also meant we were running out of daylight. We had only a few hours to do the shoot and it didn’t help that the traffic that evening was exceptionally busy. We had vans and cars passing through this back alley every half an hour or so. At one point, a police car drove past with its lights flashing, causing the Bowens to trigger (it was funny!).

To soften the lighting on the cast, I attached a 95cm octagon softbox to one of the Bowens. The other Bowen faced the background to light up the surrounding area so I can separate the cast from the backdrops if I need to. Truth be told, I feel the need to invest in another Travelpac battery unit as the cables for the Bowens are ridiculously short (3m each) and they do not sell the 8m versions in Singapore anymore. As a result, the Bowens couldn’t be separated far apart.

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A lot of post-processing was done to ensure that the cast look like their anime counterparts. The biggest challenge was getting Penny to look right as the cosplayer initially came with a few swords which were used by the character in the anime to display her powers. Unfortunately, there was no way we could make the sword float like in the anime. Another tough challenge was getting the swords to behave like they should – the swords had to be precisely placed in a circle around the character before she fires her green beam at her enemies.

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The only way to do this was to Photoshop those swords in. I wasn’t really keen on finding images from Youtube captures as they would definitely suffer a drop in resolution so I had to craft a PSD image of a sword and clone them so they could look like they should and could be placed so they would behave like they did in the anime.

Overall, the shoot was fun – a little uncomfortable as some of the vents from the kitchens in the surrounding cafes blew hot air at us. It didn’t help that the day was quite hot and humid also (but that’s expected here in Singapore). But the results paid off! Monty Oum himself shared our shots on his Facebook page.

Trivia: We shot this on the eve of Monty Oum’s birthday, and released the photos of Team RWBY on my Facebook page on Monty Oum’s birthday.

Now, that’s amazing!

Photography by The Art of Mezame

Talents
R: Hibiki Xtyl
W: Chang Xuan Hui
B: Max’s Derps
Y: Eugene Lim

J: Koh Kai Jian Leon
N: Akari XOnpu
P: Esther Evangeline Au
R: Yuuno XMegane

Penny: Yan Li

See more at RWBY by The Art of Mezame

“A Survivor is Born”

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“A Survivor is Born” #TombRaiderCosplay#LaraCroftCosplay
Photography by The Art of Mezame

This is a joint passion project by The Art of Mezame. We built the props and weapons, got the costumes done ourselves with the help of so many wonderful people who encouraged and supported us along the way. We had the wonderful Taryn-Ann Rae Swyny Fonseca to model for us. It’s awesome working with girl-gamers like her!

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One of the most fun aspects of this project is our very own customization of weaponry made from toys you can find in major departmental stores and Black-Tactical.com.

Cast:
Taryn-Ann Rae Swyny Fonseca as Lara Croft

Solarii Brotherhood:
Alfred Tang
Amanda DS
Sean Padman Israfil McMenamin
Suffian Zain

FX Makeup:
Cyanosis
Alter Ego by MizDesert

Assistants:
Estoy Enamorada (BTS)
Eugene Khaw (Driver)

Weapons Supervisor(s):
Amanda DS (Rifles and pistols)
Xelrr Ang (Bow and arrows)

Crafters/Painters:
‘Ain Salleh (Quiver)
Joey Lim (Pistol holster)
Kuah Wei Long (Ice-pick axe)
Sueanne Teo (Walkie-talkie)

Weapons Sponsorship:
Shyam Luiz Ramasamy

Special thank you to all who believe in us.

Additional background: http://www.gaming-wallpapers.com/wp-content/uploads/wallpapers/HD/Tomb-Raider-2013-Game-Game-Wallpaper.jpg

Additional slogan: http://www.gamecatchup.com/wp-content/uploads/a-survivor-is-born.jpg
Tomb Raider logo: http://msgeocachers.com/msga/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/tomb-raider-logo1.jpg

RBWY Cosplay: Ruby

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“Ruby”
Photography by The Art of Mezame

Talent: Hibiki Xtyl
Costume/Props/Make-up: Talent’s own
Assistants: Siti Zahara, Ranger Khai Khai, Jason Koh, Shiki

Roses: http://www.officialpsds.com/Rose-Petals-PSD41217.html