Cosplay Cascade – MinamiCon 7-19


12 years in the making, who’d have thought it?

So I started off with a video camera, just as I started going to cons I’d upgraded to a miniDV camcorder from an old Video8 thingy, so at least we’re spared analogue noise here.

MinamiCon was my first ever convention, Minami 7 to be precise.  I had no idea what I was in for, I was merely told it was a good time and I was too late for the year people I knew were going (6) so I signed up for the following year when they’d all graduated and promptly realised I had no clue whatsoever what actually went on at a con!

It would be a few years later when I made the switch to photography, my video camera had died and photos gave a much more instant gratification, also I hadn’t tried to shoot anything useful and had just swung the camera around at anything that looked interesting – I could edit but was useless at having a purpose to filming.  When I couldn’t get photos I’d switch to video on a tiny IXUS 70, and when I upgraded to a DSLR I would often thrust the IXUS on whoever had the misfortune to sit next to me to film skits with.  It wasn’t until I strapped said DSLR to a steadycam that I ventured back into video proper.

So there’s kind of a few dark years where there’s not much video at all – I was too busy taking photos!  Nonetheless I put together everything I could find, every scrap of useful Minami footage that I personally have over the years.  This means anything prior to 7 hasn’t made it in for obvious reasons!

It’s a wonderful convention if you’re the type to enjoy it, it’s small, it’s quiet, it’s chilled, you’re never far from a place to sit down and socialise.  We play stupid games, go to interesting panels, and just chill out rather than most events where it’s run around like a headless chicken time.  Being my first convention it’s also the one I share the most memories of, it’s where I’ve met the majority of my friends, it’s always the con that sees my new equipment first because it’s the most relaxed, and the easiest to practice at.  It sees a good turnover of new faces every year but still feels the same – in a good way. It’s like coming home once a year.

To that end, to celebrate its 20th anniversary I put this together. It’s not polished, it’s not an exciting beat-filled track, but it suits Minami perfectly.

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London MCM Expo 19 Coming up

General last-minute-ish update.

I’ll be in attendance is usual, packing up so I can head up early and help with cosplay desk setup ecetera, so posting this now.

If there’s wallspace again near the cosplay desk then the 3D gallery will return! With fancier glasses! Yay. On that note also, I have created something monsterous:

NertCamMini-65274b.jpg

That right there is a stereo camera bracket!  To what end, you might ask?  MORE 3D

Currently I’ve been taking 3D stereo photographs with a single camera, by getting the cosplayer to hold still and physically moving myself to get the dual images required to mimic each eye’s view. Since I now have two cameras, and the old 50mm lens was damaged (no longer closes aperture past f/2.8 T_T) a replacement was required but the old one can sit on my old 450d and VOILA, both strapped to each other I can now take true stereo photographs. ACTION SHOTS, PEOPLE!

Sadly only at f/2.8 when 3D pictures work better with sharp backgrounds but can’t really be picky here.

I went through various iterations of how to make this thing, I don’t have a great deal of money or tools and accuracy is kind of a big thing with this.. So it’s made from a doorframe’s carpet edging slat, for lack of an accurate name, which had screw holes in exactly the right distance apart for what I needed, how lucky?

Sawed it to measure, drilled larger holes for the tripod screws (broke a drillbit in the process, metal is haaard T_T) and bent into the correct shape with a vice and MY TWO HANDS.  Cameras are held in place with aforementioned tripod screws, and a couple of anti-slip self-adhesive furniature pads.  There’s also a little plug holding the hotshoes together for extra stability made out of hotglue and bits of a plastic CDR-protector disc, and tied to the rest of the bracket with fishing wire so I don’t lose it.

Cameras are linked via HARD WORK AND TEARS.  I was trying to solder together a Y-splitter for 2.5mm jacks so I could use my current remote trigger and link both cameras to it, but you know what? 2.5mm jacks are TINY, I got one done fine but the other was a different design on the inside and near impossible to solder.. They were the last two I could find too -_-  Ended up with a 3.5mm->2.5mm converter and then pillaged a 3.5mm jack from old earphones. Once finally wired up and after several misfires where wires crossed and many inadvertant photos were taken, I found out that the remote isn’t needed – as luck would have it when you use the shutter button, the signal cable is closed so a straight 2.5mm->2.5mm lead in each camera will essentially sync them without hassle, press the shutter on one, both fire!  bonus. Saves juggling the rig and a remote trigger cable!  A quick rewire and it’s good to go for Expo time.

Long story short, if you’ve got a cool costume that’d look good in 3D, FIND ME!  I doubt I’ll be lugging both cameras in the bracket all day but can’t hurt to ask. If the weather is nice I’ll likely be outside for the majority of the time, but this is me, I’ll be everywhere really.

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