Over the last few decades, the gaming industry has gone through some very drastic changes. From the humble stages of Atari, to Nintendo, Super Nintendo, Genesis, Playstation, Xbox, PC Gaming, Online Gaming.... the evolution has been great and very profitable.
I was contacted to shoot a gaming tournament for a fairly new mobile game called VainGlory, that can be played on smart phones and tablets only. The concept was a bit bizarre to me since in the past, pretty beefy desktops were needed to play games like World of Warcraft, Counter Strike, League of Legends, etc. Now you can download the game for free and play it right off your mobile device. Um, that was a new one for me.
At a very new venue called eSports Arena in Santa Ana, the first ever VainGlory Tournament was being held for the 2015 Autumn Finals. It was filled with very enthusiast players, fans, organizers, media and sponsors such as Amazon Coins. The tournament was a 3 day event starting on Friday and the finals ending on Sunday.
One of the first things they requested from me on Day 1 was photographing every player (there was about 28 of them) on chromakey so that they can isolate them and paste the portraits on a more suitable graphic. I made the setup with a chromakey background and on each side was an Alien Bee B800 with umbrellas. This was to ensure that the light hit the background nice and evenly so that extracting the subject would be easy. If you have shadows on the background, it makes for a very long day. Then to keep the portraits more dramatic (meaning adding more shadows/contrast) I used a single B800 with a softbox and a large 48" Lastolite Difflector on the otherside.
The remaining parts of the tournament I had to capture moments of play and reaction. Since each round was about 20 mins long, there was a lot of downtime in between plays. Most of the time, they are facing down and there was little to capture until the end of the round was up.
One of the more difficult parts of the gig was trying to accommodate last minute requests for group photos since we didn't have much room to shoot them around the arena. I tried to use the environment and blend with the color tones that were already existing.
When I had the opportunity, I liked trying to grab candids of the teams before they headed to the staging area. Here is one of the younger teams strategizing before playing a higher seeded team.
The fans were great and appreciative for the opportunity to view the tournament live. The entire tournament was being fed live on Twitch's gaming broadcast.
It was a cool experience getting to know all of the team players and organizers of this wonderful event. I am a fan of anything that keeps kids and adults active and that builds upon a community and I can see how big this will become in the very near future.