Monday, September 26, 2011

Making cosplay come alive on video - Angel James de Ocampo

Video has become yet another popular media that people uses to project cosplay out to an audience. A small amount of people proved themselves in its art on video streaming sites like Youtube and Vimeo, and received praise and joy from their user. One of these upcoming names are Angel James de Ocampo. James refers to himself as the nick 'Omaru' when online. But on the service Youtube, his videos can be found on the channel Alarzy.

James started out his cosplay video adventures back in September in 2010, where he attended one of the small conventions in France. His reason for starting to make videos of cosplay, was that he got tired of cosplay photography, and at the same time he started getting an interest in capturing video with DSLR cameras. James did a lot of research on the Internet, and came across the group StillMotion that creates wedding videos with DSLR cameras. StillMotion's style of recording inspired James a lot. Their clean and simple style encouraged James to take up the media instead of just doing still photography.

After some time, James stumbled upon the channel of the American cosplay video artist Acksonl. With a look at what Acksonl had created with his SteadyCam and Canon equipment, James thought it was possible for him to contribute to the cosplay community.

James interest has mostly been in cosplay photography, but he has tried out cosplay a single time as the character Kohta Hirano from High School of the Dead. Now most of his time in the world of cosplay, is spend at conventions capturing cosplayers in their elements.   

I asked James about his relation to Acksonl, and he responded that they actually talk relatively often on Facebook, where they give each other pointers and encourage different techniques. When I told him that people online has begun to refer to him the 'French Acksonl', he responded: "I feel flattered being compared to him!". At the moment people are getting used to James recording at the conventions in France, and there when people are talking about him, they say "Oh yeah, it's that video guy". James is currently planning to tour Europe to do cosplay videos of conventions.

How do you approach the creation of a 'fan video'?

Before James goes to a convention, he chooses a song that he wants to use, and as he explains, he "goes with the flow", and just feel his way through the convention. On special occasions he makes storyboards for his video on ideas he gets. He gives an example of this with his Vocaloid Music video.

Interacting with the cosplayers for good footage, is a whole other side of the box. The way that James approaches cosplayers for videos at the conventions, is pretty much like headhunting. Often, he talks to cosplayers that he knows before the particular convention, and asks them about which cosplays they will prepare. James refers to this process as scouting. At the conventions James are often approached by cosplayers that asks that if he would film them, and he chooses to record them, if he feels that they will fit into the video.

Working with cosplayers can sometimes be a struggle he says, but most of the french cosplayers knows of his videos and how he works, so most of the time it's easy to approach.

When going out for an average shoot, James equips himself with about 10kilos of gear. For making the shoot as comfortably as possible, he wears a light shirt to easily lose heat. For choice of pants, he mostly wears cargo shorts with many side pockets, to keep spare batteries and memory cards for easy accessibility.

Heading towards end of the interview, I asked James for some finishing remarks to the readers; like if people would like to start doing the same that he does. James responded with: "Just start! Don't be limited with gear. If you have a camera than can shoot 60 fps and in HD (yeah I am biased, SD sucks anyway) then that is a good start. Try to study other guys doing cosplay videos and learn from them".

Interview by Casper Jensen

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