Tag Archives: anime

SMASH 2011 Photos and Wrap-up

SMASH! has come and gone. It was an excellent effort given it was it’s first time at the Sydney Convention Centre.

Unfortunately, I was quite sick this past week and have only just gotten over that – so I cut my kit down heavily (I only brought one camera, 2 lenses and my speedlights), kept my activity down to a pretty low level and literally only took a few (about 40 total) photos.

To contrast, at both this year and last year’s Supanovas, my shot counts were up around 2000 photos for the whole weekend, of which I have to cull pretty heavily to get down to the 100-200 photos that get posted. Also, because I’ve taken so many photos of so many people, I feel compelled to at least publish some of the poorer photos if they’re still ‘viable’ because it features a cosplayer who has gone to great efforts to make their costume, etc, and I simply don’t have a better photo of them.

This time, because it was so short and sweet, the culling and selection was extremely easy, and the quality of the results compared to some of the other events speaks for itself.

The gallery of photos can be found on Flickr.

Technical Details

(Because for once, my workflow stripped the EXIF – I’ll work out why later…)

All photos were taken with an EOS 5D Mk1 with EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS. (I had my EF 17-40mm f/4L in my bag, but didn’t use it at all).

The first 6 (predominantly outdoor) photos had fill-flash from a single on-camera Speedlite 580EX II with Rouge Flexible Flash Bounce Card. After I shot the first few photos, I also connected the Speedlite to a CP-E3 battery pack to improve it’s cycle time

The last 6 (indoor) photos were lit using an off-camera Speedlite 580EX II with Rogue Flexible Flash Bounce Card. Triggering was done via a standard Canon ST-E2 trigger. Flash held by captive flash bunny (thanks Retro!) – the camera weighs about 3kg in this configuration and I can’t balance the 70-200mm for conventional shooting one handed without introducing a LOT of shake to the camera.

All flash metering was Automatic. No Auto Exposure Bracketing or Flash Exposure Bracketing (FEB) was in use.

All post-production was done in Aperture from Camera RAWs. All edits are crop, exposure, dynamic range, and vignetting only. For once, I needed to do almost no cropping.

November Wrap-up

So, November is practically over and I haven’t really updated all month.

I posted some photos I took whilst at Watson’s Bay on flickr.  This was all standard slow exposure + tripod stuff – nothing fancy, but the results are plesant.  My 17-40mm f/4L USM is showing it’s worth nicely in some of these.

I do quite like night photography when waterfronts are involved – you get such nice, and sometimes hard to predict, results with the light reflected off the water.

I also went to 3 Japanese Film Festival sessions (planned for 4, but missed one due to an emergency call) in the last few days.

Anime Matsuri 1 (Time of Eve movie + Precious PV) was mixed.

Precious was interestingly animated, but felt like it missed the mark slightly being shown in the JFF.

Time of Eve followed, and was interestingly recut from it’s original 5 episode format – with some nice material added to help flesh out the circumstances surrounding the stories.  I won’t bother saying much more about Time of Eve’s plot or execution – plenty of others have posted about this series and can preach it’s virtues better than I can.  I will state, however, that it’s worth a watch in either format.

Unfortunately, the subtitles used in the JFF screening were amateurish with all sorts of errors, missed line and repeated/mistimed lines all over the place.  Even when I was involved in a little 3 man fan-subbing effort quite some time ago, we were churning out subtitles with fewer timing and repeat errors, with practically no external QC.

Oh, and the guy from SMASH! waffled on too much leading up to the session’s start.

Next up I saw Castle Under Fiery Skies, which was a compelling movie about the building of Azuchi Castle in the late 1500s.  The cinematography was excellent and the story development was great… up until the last 5 minutes.

My issue with the finale was the movie encouraged you to empathise with Mataemon (the peasant carpenter) with the feudal lord’s unreasonable requests and the hardships he endures as he pushes on to make the castle a success.  The movie culminates with a major challenge that threatens the completion of the castle, and once the threat is resolved, we suddenly lose focus on our master carpenter and are left with a closing statement – a very abrupt way to part ways with the characters we’d been following so closely.

None the less, it was a beautifully executed movie despite this flaw, and I would happily recommend it.

The last movie I made it to was Sword of Desperation.  Whilst I mostly enjoyed the plot and story of this movie, the presentation lacked coherency – the movie jumped around between flashbacks and ‘present’ time, frequently with little prompting to this fact, leaving you to work out which events were in the present or the past.

For the most part, I found myself using the presence of those who were deceased in the ‘present’ to identify the flashbacks from the ‘present’ flow of the story – mostly as this was the only way I could find to do so.

Movie presentation issues aside, the plot was engrossing as you followed Sanzaemon and looked into the justifications for a sudden and cold murder, and the events that culminate afterwards that lead to the movie’s finale.

I can’t help but think this movie could have been significantly better had a bit more effort been made to make the flow of events easier to track.