Satoshi “MIZ” Mizushima is a video photographer from Japan who takes stunning scenery shots and adds the unique touch of including characters from the Ultra series standing above the cities.
When did you first start photography?
The first time I started it was in 2011 when I made promotional videos for my friend Nob Akima’s BBQ delivery company in Singapore. Video-photography is just a hobby, but it has always been fun since I started it 9 years ago. I started shooting time-lapse videos in 2015 when I made bridal videos for my friends that live in Singapore and Tokyo.
How did you become interested in tokusatsu?
My family introduced me to tokusatsu. As my mother was a make-up artist for Ultraman Leo, I have heard about Ultraman from her when I was a child. I remember that she told me how to create a tokusatsu and what happened in backstage. She said that Ultraman Leo’s actor Mr. Nikamoto’s thigh was as thick as her body. She was always particular about the details of Gen Ohtori’s scratches. I think you might remember episode 6 when Gen was chased by Dan driving a jeep. The serious scratches on his face were her work. Alien Paradi’s green hair and Ully’s silver face were also made by her. Besides Ultraman Leo, she took part in Kikaider and Fuun Lion-maru.
What inspired you to start adding Ultraman into your photographs?
I like shooting cityscapes however many other creators have been posting pictures of cityscapes as well. So I wanted to utilize “anything that was eye-catching” so that it would leave an impression on people. At that time I remembered a silver giant I loved from my childhood. Since I began to posted time-lapse videos on Instagram, I was very surprised to know that Ultraman is loved by so many people around the world.
What is your process for picking out a set location to photograph?
I love cityscapes that have futuristic structures. Preparation is important to shoot overseas. I have four steps prior to shooting: First, I always search on Google and Instagram for inspiring structures around the world. Second, if there is a stunning spot, I confirm its geographic location on Google Maps and the rules about shooting in the city. Third, I think about compositions and how to fit Ultraman to the city. Lastly, I write a planning sheet about when, what, where and how to shoot.
Although my friends always ask me “Is it really fun your travel without drinking and strolling?”, I always have fun because I can make my imaginations come true. By the way, a time-lapse video is a bunch of pictures. To make a 10-second time-lapse video, I have to shoot 240 to 300 pictures in a row at one location. It takes me to about 60 minutes per one cut.
Do you have a favorite location to shoot at?
I love Singapore especially the Marina Bay district. There are many futuristic structures in the city that makes scenic landscapes. I have always been fascinated by the equatorial city since 9 years ago when I first visited there. That inspired me to shoot time-lapse videos. I always wondered what beautiful videos could be made when I shoot a time-lapse videos in Singapore.
What type of equipment do you use to take your photos?
I use a Sony a7R3, 16-35mm lens, 35-70mm lens, a tripod, and an auto camera trigger for interval shooting. Ultraman figures are essential parts for my works. I have professional builders make them. The figures are selected from viewpoints of what locations I want to shoot.
What is your editing process in making a photo?
There are three processes in my works: color grading, photoshopping and video editing. First, I adjust of my pictures through Adobe Lightroom. I adjust many parameters in pictures to make cityscapes vivid. Second, I composite Ultraman figures to cityscapes through Adobe Photoshop. I adjust the chromatic and luminosity of Ultraman to match cityscapes.
Lastly, a bunch of photos are converted to a time-lapse video by Adobe Premiere. A 10 second time-lapse video consists of 240 pictures in a row.
Who is your favorite Ultraman?
Original Ultraman (1966) is always my favorite. He was never worried. All he did was save us by using his wonderful skills.
Who is your favorite Kaiju from the Ultra series?
Nelonga is cute. He seems like a crocodile and a pug dog.
Which piece of work that you made is your favorite?
These are my favorites. I can express futuristic Singapore and huge Ultraman well.
Can you tell us any plans for future projects in mind?
I want to try setting Ultraman versus Antlar under Burj Khalifa in Dubai. Besides tokusatsu, I also want to try setting a 170 ft. Shiba dog in Time Square. When the COVID-19 pandemic is over, I plan to shoot time-lapses in Singapore, Melbourne, Dubai, Hong Kong, London, and the US.