Happy New Year’s Day, folks!
Today marks the arrival of 2017 here in Singapore, and also, in the U.S. where it’s still the 31st December 2016, the 20th anniversary of the day we stepped into the world of Sanctuary in the Diablo universe by Blizzard. In time for both the arrival of the New Year and the 20th anniversary of a beloved franchise is this exclusive look at the behind-the-scenes of Revenge of the Nephalem – a themed pre-wedding photo series that we did for a couple last year in a collaboration with our friends from Neo Tokyo Project – featuring Alvin Lau and Alexis Loo.
The best part of this project is understanding the history of how Alvin and Alexis both met. The couple met in-game in Diablo III.
Alvin plays a male Crusader whereas Alexis plays a female Demon Hunter. When they approached us for a photoshoot for their pre-wedding, I could only think of one thing – re-enact scenes from the game as they quest together to take down the main antagonist of the game, Diablo. However, we were faced several issues during pre-production that we were more than happy to tackle.
Since most of the Diablo universe revolves around Sanctuary or the town of Tristram, I had to find ways to have similar looking backdrops in our images reminiscent of in-game locations. Furthermore, it would be really cool to have the couple in armor from the game. That’s where Crimson and Angelus from Neo Tokyo Project come in.
Being talented cosplayers themselves, they knew exactly what was required and crafted brilliant replicas for the couple.
Both Alvin and Alexis were provided with armor and weapons made of foam and cloth that made them look like they were straight out of the Diablo universe! Mizdesert from Alter Ego by Mizdesert was on board to do their make-up and hair to complete the look.
Singapore is a small country with limited locations – and we photographers face the issue of not being able to shoot our subjects in key locations that we think work best for our final images. I guess it is understandable that most places are not keen on having people running around in armor vanquishing evil demons within their vicinity :P
To counter the locations issues, I had to shoot the backdrops on location at various places in Singapore, shoot the couple separately in a studio with a grey backdrop (easier to do masking with) where they can do stunts in comfort (air-con is such an amazing invention) and put them together complete with effects in digital composites during post-production via Photoshop and Lightroom.
I even went to Pantai Klebang in Malacca, Malaysia, to get a shot of the desert scene and the Straits Mosque (Lut Gholein, anyone?).
Finally, to add more depth to the images, I shot a replica of Diablo (by NECA). Using a macro lens, I captured the demon’s intense ferocity as he sought to take down the couple.
For this shoot, I used my Sony A7RII – an ideal choice for digital composites due to its ability to capture images at 42.2 mega-pixels.
For the final images to work, I had to keep in mind during the shoot of several important factors – ensure that the lighting taken during the shoot of the couple, the locations and Diablo replica match. It will be awkward if the different elements of the final composite show different key light sources in the final images.
Here’s a behind-the-scenes look at what the couple had to go through during our shoot with them in MacPherson Studio – an ideal studio that fulfilled our height requirements since Alexis had to do some ‘hang time’ shots and I had to create some top down-angled images of the couple. Many thanks to our friends at Seven17 Films for helping out with the behind-the-scenes video!