September 5, 2011

Including today, there’s only 3 days til wrap.
Here, we’re shooting around a temple and graveyard.
There’s a lot of cast on set and it’s been a struggle to keep everyone calm.

It’s a big production now. For each shot, we have as many 50 people working.
And of course, it’s up to the production staff once again to organize everything.

Production staff Yuji Saito.
I wonder if he’s drafting the next day’s charts…?

On location at a temple.

This tôrô lantern was knocked over by the earthquake.

The graveyard. Reminds me of “Ge Ge Ge no Kitaro”.

Makeup assistant Junko Watanabe.

Preparing the next shot location with the staff from the art and props department.

We gather fallen leaves… and then we wrap them.

Making a Jizo statue for special effects purposes.

The typhoon still hasn’t fully passed us over, so it’s very humid. And hot.

Because we’re under the typhoon’s tail, the clouds are also moving rather unpredictably. We spent much time on weather checking the whole day.

Adjusting focus via remote control.
Adjustments are made by hand for all kinds of distances. Even with advances in technology, art still relies on man’s sixth sense and taste.

Arata Yamanaka from Zeros has emerged from his suit.
“Need energy…! Water!”

photo Murakami

A poster hung on the temple grounds. Jellyfish Eyes is being made with exactly this kind of juvenile aesthetic.

photo Murakami

I used to be a kid too… Now I’m pulling up those memories as I travel with my protagonists.

September 4, 2011

The third day of green-screen shooting. An almost unbearable misery has begun to spread over the set. We have dozens of shots that must be taken everyday. Cameraman Nagano-san hasn’t had a breather in days. Not even a second. I’m not kidding. Nishimura-san keeps pushing forward with scene after scene, shot after shot. The production team conveys the extremely detailed instructions to the actors, takes extra care to make sure things are right when the cameras are on, and cracks the whip all over the set… every part is moving as if it’s a cog in a machine.

photo Murakami

I leave the Miyoshi studio at 6:00 every morning and that is exactly when the lotus flowers start to bloom.

A maze of cables.

So many characters to design…

The team responsible for building standing models of said characters… Hige Megane staff Chiaki Otake (left),Mr. Hige megane himself Taiga Ishino (center), and Ayumi Nakajima (right). They’ve need to make clay models of the expressions of all the main characters! And they’re doing it on set!

Another warm, wonderful catering lunch.

The modeling team and stunt team share some banter during a smoke break.
“So how’s that costume we made workin for ya” “It’s heavy!! Unbearably heavy!!”

A meeting to discuss photography for posters, held while the green screen is repainted in between scenes.

On this paper cup, provided for drinking barley tea, you can see the results of the day’s pent up resentment… Everyone is really… sleepy…

On the left is stylist Manami Ohsumi. On the right is Hige Megane staff Ayumi Nakajima. Even people who met for the first time on set have, over the month’s shooting, become a real unit!! Everyone is very proud of the world they’ve come together to create!

The sky during a typhoon reminds of the ones drawn in Castle in the Sky.
Cumulonimbus clouds just keep speeding by.
There’s only four days left in the shoot!!”

September 3, 2011

We’re on the final stretch of shooting.
Staff are finally beginning to show signs of fatigue, but there’s no room for delays now. We’re shooting all day long on set and everyone is moving around like mad. I’ve long thought that we at Kaikai Kiki work pretty hard, but I’ve been taught once again that there’s always another level above you. I am impressed. This really is the pinnacle of the human ability to sew dreams. Filmmakers have my utmost respect, but the work is simply exhausting.

Skip City in the Saitama town of Kawaguchi.
They give special considerations (like lower daily rental fees) to companies based in Saitama Prefecture.

We crafted this pair from let over greenscreen material.
There’s no way to do green screen shooting without them.

Costume staff Nomura-san drew this passable likeness of Hiromi Kasuya (Oden-chan).

And here is the model, Oden-chan herself…
You’ll have to draw your own conclusions about the likeness.

Nishimura-san strips off skin from his sun-tanned crown as he looks over the schedule… Are we ever going to finish?!

Shooting here with a super-special lens from a Hoar periscope.

Making adjustments to the green screen.

Yamanaka-san gets a break from his green-fitted suit. “Uh, it’s hot, it’s so heavy, I can’t take it anymore.” Ah, but that’s the life when you’re in green-screen action. We’re sure all that suffering will pay off on screen.

Shoko Suzuki too makes her way on set.
She’s here to create the schedule chart for post production preparation.