CosBlog #25: Faith Connors By Benny Lee - GIMeagan Blog - www.GameInformer.com
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CosBlog #25: Faith Connors By Benny Lee

The CosBlog officially hits a milestone today – 25 weeks of showcasing the best of what the costuming culture has to offer. To celebrate, I’ve found one of the most remarkable tributes to a video game yet – easily on par with the Big Daddy Rapture recreation from earlier in the year.

This time, however, there is a twist. While the model herself makes a perfect Faith Connors, the entire effort was orchestrated by photographer and Mirror’s Edge uber-fan Benny Lee. Over six months he played the role of creative director – searching out and casting the best model, extras, makeup artists and more. Afterwards, he used his extensive post-production skills to make the downtown Atlanta skyline pop like that in DICE’s super-saturated world. From the thumbnail images it’s near impossible to tell that these pictures aren’t screens or concept art of the game.

Major kudos goes to Lee and his entire team. The end result is inspirational.

Who: The Character
Faith from Mirror's Edge

Why: The Decision
I sort of just fell in love with the character and setting when I first saw the trailer back in E3.  It was simply breathtaking! The idea of having a strong and realistic female protagonist doing parkour on rooftops was really inspiring and cool to me. From the clean and modern looking city with abundant blue skies to the fitting and catchy theme song, they're all very unique and perfect for a surreal concept photoshoot.

What: The Process
The costume for Faith was fairly simple, and it didn't really require anything to be custom made since it consisted of just a tank top, a pair of runner shoes, and a pair of khaki pants along with other minor accessories.  The tricky part was finding the right color for those pants and shoes, and boy was it difficult to find a pair of matching red shoes!  It took me a few months but I finally found it two days before the shoot from a local mall.  The black tank top was hand painted with dual white strips on both sides, and I used some old shoe lace to tie up the bottom of those khaki pants. The most difficult part for Faith's costume was probably her tattoos.  I knew it was going to be difficult seeing how other cosplayers have attempted this before.  I wanted to do it right and didn't want anyone to critique the tattoos later on, so I decided to do a casting call for some professional help.  In the end, I found a facial makeup artist for Faith's eagle eye tattoo and a body artist for her arm circuitry tattoo.  I also printed pages of references for the artists prior to the shoot as well. I spent about $50 at most, which is probably the cheapest costume I've attempted.

As for the SWAT team member, I had to scout around a lot and pay a few visits to military clothing stores. It wasn't as difficult as Faith's costumes, but I did spend some money in order to import the parts from Hong Kong.  I spent about $100 on the SWAT team member's costume.


Where and When: The Debut

The costume debuted on August 23, 2009 on top of of an industrial building in Atlanta, Georgia.  After more than six months in planning and preparing, I was able to gather a team of six people including me: The photographer (me,) an assistant, two models (Faith & the SWAT team member,) and two makeup artists.  They were great and they were all professionals, so there was a lot of pressure involved.  It wasn't easy; I had to do a lot of research about the environment, the shots I wanted to capture, getting the accurate lighting, and post editing.  It took three tries to finally make this shoot happen; the first time we wanted to do it, we've had a bit of issues with the original model for Faith, the second time we wanted to do it, the weather wasn't ideal. 

I was told that everything happens for a reason, and it's true! Soon after the original model got cut, we found Chryss, which is the Faith you see now. She looks just like Faith, and she's got her physique as well.  I was so relieved and everyone seemed to think she was the perfect model for that role as well. 

Finding the perfect setting was very frustrating; I was debating whether I should shoot it in a studio environment or on an actual roof top since finding an accessible rooftop location was quite difficult.  Luckily, a friend of mine worked in a science building, and he was able to give us access to a very industrial looking rooftop.

I had the most fun with the post-editing. I remember I would always play the theme song, "Still Alive," whenever I was editing this shoot. I wanted to get the feel right, and I want viewers to instantly recognize that this is a Mirror's Edge shoot. 

Links: The Photographer
My website is emanonDesign.com  and I'm quite active on my DeviantArt account as well. Chryss, the model, can be found on her Model Mayhem account.

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