Libec, a high end camera equipment company whose products are used on Ressha Sentai ToQger, interviewed two of the cameramen who are responsible for the miniature tokusatsu elements on the show.
Libec– Thank you very much for making time to chat with us. Can you introduce yourselves please?
Keizo Suzuki: I am in charge of the Special Effects shooting camera. It’s been 10 years since I entered the Tokusatsu Laboratory (Special effects division of Toei). I used to be a freelance cameraman assistant but one of the cameramen of the Tokusatsu Laboratory invited me and that’s why I started working here until I formally became part of the Shooting crew of the Lab.
Junpei Okamoto: I am also part of the Shooting crew. When Suzuki is in charge of shooting, I assist him and when he is not around, I am the cameraman. I came to be part of the crew pretty much the same way Suzuki did. I was invited 7 years ago from being a freelance.
— Were your careers in Tokusatsu from the start?
Suzuki: Yes. I did many jobs in this area.
Okamoto: When I started being a freelance assistant, I didn’t make enough to survive. I then started helping out at the Lab through a friend that was in the Art department.
Suzuki: This one time, when there weren’t enough assistants, we heard that a guy named Okamoto that was working part time in the Art department wanted to do shooting. It was then that we contacted him.
— So timing and connections were a factor. Is there any particular scene that made you think “This is what Tokusatsu is about.”?
Suzuki: There is this scene in a project (Ressha Sentai ToQger) in which we need to shoot trains called Ressha in a miniature set. Shooting this with two different cameras went really well in my opinion.
— Sounds like fun. It is exciting to see how our products are being used in these scenes.
Suzuki: If it were just shooting the Resshas with a fixed camera, they don’t look too different than the toys. In order to avoid that, we moved the camera together with the Ressha. This was an instruction from Special Effects Director Wakita and the “theme” of this shooting.
―Can you tell us about things like the atmosphere and what you use when shooting?
Suzuki: There are many shots with pyrotechnics so there is a certain tension associated with this kind of shot. It’s about 15 of us. Scale wise it is a really reduced number. An actual tokusatsu shooting location has many more people. The Tokusatsu Laboratory always shoots with the minimum of staff. We work for big productions with an independent movie staff size. It is one of the characteristics of the Tokusatsu Laboratory.
— So you only shoot in sets?
Okamoto: We don’t usually go outside.
Suzuki: That’s true.
Okamoto: This time they asked us to shoot real buildings as a background so we took the miniatures and went outside. It was a rare case.
-It must’ve been really hard to adjust colour shooting with a RED ONE and a NX70J.
Suzuki: The quality and colour are issues certainly. But now you have GoPro, handeld, wearable cameras and in different sizes. However, what is important when shooting Sentai and Kamen Rider special effects is produce an interesting and fun image not seen before.
— What made you opt for the JIB50KIT amd the REMO30?
Suzuki: When we thought about what was necessary to shoot the moving miniatures while moving the camera along, we chose the Jib Arm JIB50KIT Remote Head REMO30.
Okamoto: We had been renting jib arms and cranes but we thought that buying them would be more efficient in the end.
Suzuki: There had been thoughts of using a finer crane but the assembly and storage were a problem.
Okamoto: A big crane would not work with small turns to shoot the miniatures, it wasn’t really compatible. The Libec jib arm and remote head are really quick to assemble and we use them a lot.
— Thank you for your time.
Suzuki, Okamoto: Thank you.
All English translations are accredited to The Tokusatsu Network staff members. Please do not repost without crediting and directly linking back to the original Tokusatsu Network article.