Interview with Koji Tanaka, Director of Photography of “Gargantia on the Verdurous Planet” [4/4]

Interview with Koji Tanaka, Director of Photography of “Gargantia on the Verdurous Planet” [4/4]

The leader and the ace

Ishikawa: Sometimes you need to cooperate with others. What kind of person would you like to work together with?

Tanaka: Although I am the director, photography is a process done in a team, it’s not like I have to take care of the whole thing alone. Despite having previously said that I could see the whole picture, I don’t do 300 or 400 cuts by myself, so at times like that, I have to look at the whole and think about the power balance. For instance, I can’t focus my powers on the processing of one specific cut. Explaining it with a commonly used example, the ace player can’t assume the role of a leader. For a photography director, the ace is a different person, and the director has to be a leader who can make good use of the ace. If the director starts working as an ace, the others stop working.

Ishikawa: Is that so?

Tanaka: Yes. That’s why, you leave the ace to do his work, and you, the leader, while following the ace, check the balance and make adjustments in the places needed. If you turn into an ace, no matter how far you push on, you can’t even be sure if you will be able to finish the work until the deadline. In that sense, the answer to your question of what kind of people would I prefer to work with, well, different people. People all have their own personality, they have good and bad things about them, and if you are able to put that to use, you will be facing in the right direction and it will turn out very nice. Producing results while keeping the balance, such as if the ace lacks power, the leader takes up part of his role and evens it out, is one of the interesting things. Photography would be difficult with someone who disturbs the peace.

Ishikawa: So, cooperative people are the best.

Tanaka: Being cooperative is the most important.

Ishikawa: The ideal person is someone who values individuality and is exceedingly cooperative.

Tanaka: As long as it is someone who, based on the principle of going toward completion with everyone, can lend his mind to the collective, I don’t mind. On the contrary, it’s better if it’s an interesting person.

If it’s noticed, it’s blown

Ishikawa: In your work until now, which episode was the most difficult?

Tanaka: It’s have to say the first, although episode 3 was pretty difficult, too. That’s because in the first episode, you’re bound to make mistakes in thinking, since you don’t know what will become of the anime. Although we do talk things over with director Murata, in actuality, many times, it’s not until after we have taken pictures for each cut that we realize, “So this part was supposed to be something like this.” This applies to every anime. You have troubles with the first episode, but as the story goes on, you start to understand the rules, so the things you were seeking can gradually go on to change the power balance, and go on the offensive.

Ishikawa: I think I understand! At first, you were desperate, but if you get used to it, you will find the fun in it, so to speak... Did you run into any other difficulties?

Tanaka: The processing of the characters’ eyes. We have to do them one by one, and there are parts that can’t be done automatically, so we have to do them by hand.

Ishikawa: You can do it automatically?

Tanaka: Yes, to a certain degree on a computer. The eyes were hard, but I think they are worth the trouble.

Ishikawa: One of my friends is also watching Gargantia, and he also said, “Their eyes are very pretty.” I was very excited when talking about how beautiful Amy’s eyes were, but talking to you today, I realized that it took quite the work.

Tanaka: I’d be very happy if you bought it without hesitation (laughs).

Hirasawa: You mean it.

Tanaka: Yes.

Hirasawa: In an ordinary anime, this adjustment that makes their eyes glow is mostly used when their eyes are drawn relatively bigger, in other words, in cuts where they close the camera in on the characters. In Gargantia, however, it is done even in cuts which, in other anime, don’t go through photographic processing and are colored only.

Ishikawa: The glow in their eyes is very elaborate.

Tanaka: The highlight part in their eyes is supposed to be the brightest, so if you make other places too bright, the characters will turn into robots. It needs to be adjusted to the proper amount. Chamber also shines all the time, so you could say all the important characters are all shining.

Ishikawa: Glittering.

Tanaka: Besides older men of course, because their eyes are cloudy.

Ishikawa: (laughs) Do you also highlight the area around Ledo’s chest?

Tanaka: It’s not highlighted, actually, it only lights up when manipulating the lines of Ledo’s suit and when giving and receiving orders. It is also visible in the first episode. If you watch carefully, I think you will notice something that looks as if “the particles have changed their flow direction.”

Ishikawa: I’ll watch it one more time.

Tanaka: Well, that’s not the main thing. It is true that making the viewers think, “So they also did things like that,” is one of the flavors, but to me, the most important is that you can enjoy the anime without paying too much attention to such details and without feeling there is anything weird. If you can guess that, “This part is processed,” that’s a failure. If the processing is noticeable, it’s no good for the trade, either (laughs). The adjustments aren’t made to emphasize a certain part, we do it to make the characters’ standpoint more prominent. When I am told, “You haven’t really done anything,” I grin a little (laughs) because I think that it’s good work.

Ishikawa: I see. Photography is kind of a thankless job, but I think it’s amazing. Thank you for today.

Gargantia x Tokyo Otaku Mode Special Site:
http://otakumode.com/sp/gargantia

Source:
http://gargantia.jp/#kaito_3 (Japanese)

© Oceanus / Gargantia on the Verdurous Planet Production Committee

Interview with Koji Tanaka, Director of Photography of “Gargantia on the Verdurous Planet” [4/4] 1
Interview with Koji Tanaka, Director of Photography of “Gargantia on the Verdurous Planet” [4/4] 2
Interview with Koji Tanaka, Director of Photography of “Gargantia on the Verdurous Planet” [4/4] 3
Interview with Koji Tanaka, Director of Photography of “Gargantia on the Verdurous Planet” [4/4] 4
Interview with Koji Tanaka, Director of Photography of “Gargantia on the Verdurous Planet” [4/4] 5
Interview with Koji Tanaka, Director of Photography of “Gargantia on the Verdurous Planet” [4/4] 6
Interview with Koji Tanaka, Director of Photography of “Gargantia on the Verdurous Planet” [4/4] 7

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