Like many people, I spent a little money on Sentai’s recent Spring Sale… They always have great bargains on DVD’s and BD’s. When the box dropped on my doorstep yesterday, I decided to try something new – shooting a series of unboxing photographs.
How did it turn out? Hit the jump and find out!
Like a many people, feeling a little cooped up right now… So, when I saw a tweet about Sentai’s Spring Sale I was in the mood to splurge a little. Their prices make that so easy to do! They were offering free shipping on order over US $50, but I couldn’t quite see splurging that much… But shipping & handling on a $25 order turned out to be less than a buck a disk. I couldn’t resist the bargain.
Whenever you’re pretty serious about a hobby, you look for learning opportunities and chances to push your boundaries… Or at least I do. Since I’ve never really done any product photography or done any unboxing photography, I decided to give it a shot.
This will get a bit technical in spots, so I apologize in advance to my anime readers.
Since this was experimental, I decided to shoot the series handheld with my phone (an iPhone 8) and concentrate on composition and basic technique. With the lighting available, my ancient steam powered DSLR would have been troublesome to work with. The iPhone 8 can create RAW files (minimally processed image data), so editing and processing would be a breeze. Plus, using the Lightroom camera app meant that the images would automatically be synced to my desktop via the cloud.
For the rest of this post, I’ll put actual blog type text into block quotes and my comments and thought on the process in normal text.
Starting from scratch…
I kind of shot myself in the foot with my setup though… I decided to use our dining room table since the overhead light would give a nice even light source. Using a waist high table limited the angles I could get. It was pretty hard to compose a shot that didn’t include unwanted background. (Such as the really ugly blinds right out of the top of the photo.) The background is also a little distracting. Should have used something without a pattern, or at least gotten the wrinkle out.
I have to ask myself, was this photo really needed though? I need to do some research and thinking on this point. It does show why video is so much handier for this kind of thing, the host can be talking over this part.
Opening the box and getting the actual package out…
The slideshow feature is really handy here, but even so I think I need a lot more text. Again, this shows off the advantages of video, the host can be talking during this part. Why didn’t I shoot it on video? I don’t have the proper equipment and I’m a photographer not a videographer. I think photos can work – I just need to research and practice more.
Also, if you look closely in the “Nicely packaged” shot, you can see that I made a n00b mistake. I didn’t make sure my background was clear and the pocket knife I used to open the package is partly visible. If it’s not fully visible, it should be completely gone.
No blog type comments here… Another slideshow opportunity, but I forgot to get shots of the actual process of unwrapping the interior packaging. Lesson learned! Takes lots of shots. Lots and lots of shots – because I can’t go back and get shots I didn’t take. Time’s arrow moves ever forward.
The last step on the photography side is editing the images to make them attractive and to make them look “real”. This step is easy, mostly just correcting the white balance. That is (for non photographers), is making the whites white and the blacks, black. The image above is a before-and-after comparison side by side.
Now the part which anime folks are interested in, and which will bore the photographers… Talking about the anime. The titles follow my usual format, and since they’re all bolded and italicized you can tell they’re all “us” shows. (Shows my wife and I watched together.)
Not going to block quote this part because it would just get tedious.
There wasn’t any master plan involved in choosing the anime. My wife and I each added everything we could possibly want to the shopping cart… and then we went back and eliminated stuff (I want/like this more than I want/like that) until it was down to a range we felt comfortable spending.
Tonari no Seki-kun: The Master of Killing Time
A classic short series, and funny as heck. I think this was one of the first shorts I watched, and I’m glad it was. There are bad shorts out there, and they might have soured me on the format. Then I’d have shot myself in the foot and avoided them.
Most idol series concentrate on idols trying to Make It Big. Locodol is more slice-of-life-ish and is all about small town idols and their daily lives. It’s also about local revitalization efforts which appear in so many anime. Along with it’s CGDCT angle, there’s many reasons why folks should check it out.
The last half (especially the last six-seven minutes) of the final episode are one of the most satisfying conclusions and closings ever. I don’t mind saying that I’ve rewatched just that part many times… Including when I should have been working on this post.
Locodol was also reviewed in my Looking Back – Summer 2014 season review.
Koufuku Graffiti (Gourmet Girl Graffiti)
CGDCT, slice-of-life, and food – three of my favorite things and elements of found family? How could I not fall in love?
Koufuku Graffiti was unusual in that it had an animation supervisor dedicated to overseeing the animation and presentation of the food. That had some… interesting results. More on that can be found in my Looking Back – Winter 2015 season review.
Also, since I mention this show, I am obligated by law to earworm you with it’s incredibly charming episode preview music:
A deeply endearing Iyashikei series… (Warning, TV Tropes link) Packed to the brim with solid worldbuilding and great characters, there’s a lot more here than meets the eye.
Hard to say much about Flying Witch other than I love it to pieces. Makato’s naivete, Chinatsu’s journey from being afraid of magic to being an apprentice, family, friends, and a plethora of fascinating magical encounters… There’s a lot to love.
The Garden of Words
Shinkai. What more is there to say? We saw a chance to add one of his works to our physical media collection and leapt on it. I think that when we were slimming down the list to make it affordable, this is the only disk that wasn’t compared to others. It was unquestionably on the list.
And those blurbs encompass the final lessons learned… If I do this again, I’ll outline them and start working on them as soon as I click the “order” button. Unlike the weekly post that I’m currently avoiding working on, there’s no rush, no hurry, and no deadline. On the other hand, some kind of goal is definitely in order because otherwise I’ll procrastinate forever.
Man, this started as simple idea – and I ended up writing a small novel. I certainly hope you enjoyed it or found it useful and interesting. Did you pick up anything from the sale? Add anything recently to your physical media or other anime collections? Drop a comment and let me know your thoughts.