tirsdag 13. mai 2014

How to edit music for your Stage Performance

If you enter a larger cospaly competition chances are that you have to do a live perfomance with your cosplay. And you should never do this without background music. 

Why? Music sets the mood and makes it less awkward to be on stage or talk. The silence doesn't seem to last as long if you have music in the background. 

But either if you are posing, dancing, miming/singing or holding a speach, you might want to edit that song. Maybe it is too  long or you only want the last part, or you want the middle part to fade in and out.  

How? For sound editing I use Audacity. It is a free program and it is fairly simple to use. (tutorial here)

The sound samples I use I either take from games, from youtube (any youtube to mp3 converter will help you there) or record them my self. And of course I use original soundtrack. Please bear in mind the copyrights when mixing music and where you are going to use it.  

But you have more possibilities than just using a plain song! 

In Norway you are only allowed to be one on stage, and monologues can become a bit dull if you don't do it right. So prerecording a dialog either that you can communicate with or lip sync to might be a way to go. Or maybe you wear a hemlet and can't speak live. 

And you can add more effect sounds, like explosions or magic or the sound of footsteps.. This makes the performance come more to life. 

The Results! I have two examples for you from my own stage performances: I am in no way an expert on this, just showing you what I know, but I have gotten great feedback on from the judges and audience on these two. 

Vi performance
First example is my Vi performance from League of Legends. Here my performance concept is a commentator reviewing a character from LoL (in this case Vi) while showing off her moves and quotes. So I had a friend read in the presentation monologue and I added the music in another layer in Audacity. That way I could change the "music volume" without changing his voice. For the quotes I added "silent" slots so I could speak them live. 

And here is the performance. 

Adjutant performance
For my second example I will use my latest performance with the Adjutant. This character only comments on actions in-game, so that was my angle for the performance concept. I wanted the performance to be "a player logging in to the game and starting a tutorial" with me as an adjutant commenting. Then is the "problem" with the adjutant having a robot voice. Hence I had to prerecord my speech and run it through a robot voice change filter (on my mobile phone actually, there are tons of apps for this out there)

The final soundtrack file is several layers of sound samples. 
1. The Starcraft login music
2. Me hitting my keyboard to simulate a "Player" playing the game
3. My prerecorded robot monologue
4. In-game sound effects. 

So many layers in audacity. 

For this I had to lip-sync and then it is important to really know the soundtrack to get the timing right. And it is a tip to overdo the lip movement (or it will disappear on stage). Here is my performance. Not perfect with syncing my lip movements, but again, this was the first time I tried doing something like this ;)

Hope this helped a bit, just some random thought about how I prepare for a stage performance. 

fredag 2. mai 2014

Adjutant random parts

Before I started on this Cosplay I had only seen one other do it, and she ended up winning the Blizzcon contest in 2011, talk about though act to follow. She made her costumes to more of a "ball gown" where as I wanted a more couture look with mine, with a slimmer skirt inspired by in-game photos. 

I have written tutorials for the head piece, shoulders and the chest armor. This is a sum up of the rest of the parts including: 
  • Corset
  • Neck corset
  • Makeup
  • Arm pieces
  • Wire skirt
The corset.
I have written several other tutorials about making corsets, but the details worth mentioning here is the stomach piece and the wiring. There is actually glowing wire here. (El wire)

Adding a zipper in front so it would be easier to take on and off. 

And a small armor piece is attached with a D-ring and velcro. 

The neck corset. 
So I didn't take any wip photos while making the pattern, but in theory I wrapped my sisters neck in tin foil, and added masking tape on top. Then I could draw out where I wanted the lines to go. Then cut it to pieces and I had my pattern. 


Finished. The boning are bits of wire and the method used is similar to how I make ordinary corsets.  

This costume includes a lot of makeup, I don't have step by step photos (because I had very little time when I put it on the other times). First I need a gelatin prosthesis to cover my forehead and hairline so my face blends with the head piece. See this tutorial on how to make gelatin pieces

I used a grease base silver face paint, but to get it to "pop" i base coated my face with white creme makeup first.  And Kryolan it is. 

Then I added black details with a brush and water based color (easier to apply). 

And last, the real job, with black and grey eye shadow add shadows along every line (along the nose, under the eyes, along the black lines). You also need to "dull" down that silver color so it matches the rest of the armor. Trial and error here guys. 

Blue contacts and false eye lashes finish it up. Remember to seal with transparent powder and fixing spray.  

Photo by Pål Andresen

And just for you guys, funny photo of my taking off the head piece while the forehead is still stuck. 
I am so tired here :p

Arm wires. 
Just "arm warmers" with different colored string sewn in. 

Wire skirt
Then we have the skirt. The best is worbla again, with a clip lock. Several attachment for the tubes are added. The tubes them selves are a type of isolation tubes, some of which I sew mesh fabric on. 

Not perfect, but I had to include the Terran emblem somewhere. (a little rough around the edges, but I didn't have a smaller brush atm)

And I used my fab Black Milk leggings as a detail. When I update this I will definitely improve the skirt, need more tubes. 

Hope this helped if you wondered how this costume was made. 

Adjutant shoulder armor.

Not the biggest piece, but here it is. The shoulder armor for my Adjutant. 

For more tutorials for the Adjutant Cosplay see these: Head PieceChest/back armor and other parts. 

Shoulders Again this is worbla wrapped around a cardboard base, and I shaped the top over an easter egg I had laying around.

For the circular shape I used a hair product box and shaped the worbla over it.

Added a few LED

More Gesso. 

Silver base paint and black wash. Details with acrylic paint and silver marker. Four 3mm orange LED for each shoulder. Finished off with a clear coat. 

The shoulders are attached to the chest armor with this Velcro solution and D-rings, keeping both the chest, back and arms together.  

This piece actually holds the chest and back armor together over the shoulders as well, so the shoulder armor won't slide down because it is then attached to the upper body armor. 

Adjutant Chest Armor

Of course I had to choose another cosplay with incomplete reference photos. And a character without arms or legs, hmm interesting. 

The StarCraft Adjutant Cosplay has been done before, in the style of a ball gown, I on the other hand want to make it more like a space armor cocktail dress ;)

Starting off with the chest plate. First off I will be making Second Great War Adjutant and not Adjutant 23-46, but I will use it as inspiration for the parts I cannot see on my reference photo. 

Chest armor and Worbla
For the front I needed boob cups, so I shaped the worbla over a plastic sphere (my codex staff to be exact)

And pieced together. Since worbla is a little difficult to get hold of here, I am only using one layer to make it last longer. And I do regret that somethimes, when it gets too wobbly. I also didn't have a pattern, but tried and reshaped it all the way. 

Adding details

The back
You can't really see the back, so I designed it as a space armor using reference photos from other space suits from the game. So in theory this is my original design. 

And using pizza boxes a supporting material to the worbla.

One idea I had was that you could attach the cables coming out of my head to my back, so I used the screw mechanism from a jar, with the lid attached to the back. This makes more sense when the head is finished. 

Used tulle for details

And Lights. For once I can actually take out the batteries. 

Vents on the back - Robots need cooling. 

Adding a few more details. 

Then you need to prime it with Gesso. I like to use a mix of wood glue and gesso during the final layers. 

Then I spray painted it with a silver base color. 

Black weathering and black details. 

The bar code is hand painted. The LED is 3 mm orange. 

Screws were added to get a more mechanical look. 

The threads from a can lid was added to the back construction, so I could screw the tubes from the head piece into the the back piece. 

You can find the other adjutant tutorials here: