Today I’m joined by David Jaffe, a professional photographer from North Carolina and the owner of Lift-Off Studios. He’s here today to talk about his unique project called Blood Night. I first reached out to David because he’s published a Photo-Novel, a graphic novel using pictures rather than illlustrations, because I wanted to talk to him about the process and learn some things as we are about to create a photo-novel ourselves, but I certainly got more than I expected with this interview.
David made the Photo Novel and, to build buzz and excitement for it while it was being made, he also made a short film to promote the project. What I like about this process is that it mixes multiple types of media and formats to tell a complete story and that they don’t shy away from using new and exciting methods to get it done.
Blood Night is a Punisher Cosplay story that follows Frank Castle on a unique mission that ends rather differently than what you’d come to expect from a Punisher story line. I won’t go into details or spoil it at all, you can read the entire graphic novel for free on Lift-Off Studio’s page (here) and also check out the short film they made.
The amount of information David shared during this episode takes up over an hour and a half and I had to cut down some of our conversation from what I had recorded because there was so much that he had to say. What I love about talking with David is that he’s completely open and forthcoming with all of his techniques, style, drive, motivation, and what he plans to do in the future with this genre. He really embodies the whole “Indie Community” that I keep talking about, where we all band together to help one another realize our visions.
Here’s David’s press release:
Charlotte, NC – Locally owned Lift-Off Studios is a commercial photography studio that has been working outside of the box since it opened its doors. With over ten years of photography experience, David Jaffe the owner and photographer of Lift-Off took an interest in Cosplay Photography after he attended the local Hero’s Con a few years ago. Once he did a few small shoots for some cosplayers he was hooked on the creativity the genre offered. With a background in commercial photography he could bring creative lighting and concepts to these shoots. One of his biggest pushes is not using Photoshop unless absolutely necessary, he believes in practical effects, locations, and creative lighting to get the shot.
About the Photo Novel.
The photo novel is over eighty pages long and is laid out in a graphic novel format. Lift-Off has employed a “cinematic” approach to the images, which means that instead of posed scenes the images were capture as the cosplayers acted out the scenes. This technique allowed them to capture the raw emotions and action that has definitely taken the imagery to the next level.
Blood Night took nearly a year and a half to write, plan, and shoot. Shooting took three nights at over nine hours per night, plus a few smaller shoots for promotional images. David shot and processed every image in the book, as well as doing all of the page layouts. Almost all of the images were done with practical effects, leaving about five images that were manipulated in Photoshop. For the dialog he turn to Mike Powell, the star of the book and a lifelong fan of the comic books. David said that Mike’s knowledge of comics was invaluable for writing the dialog to keep it true to the nature of a comic book.
Blood Night stars all local cosplayers from the Charlotte area, this is a huge dedication to the cosplay world as Lift-Off has produced what is probably the single largest cosplay photography project seen and all while not asking for a dime and keeping it not-for-profit! That’s right, the final digital book is 100% free and can be viewed/downloaded on their website. There are print books available, they are sold at print cost.
David has hinted that there will be more of these photo novels and they will be even larger than this first project.
Oh and as if all of that wasn’t enough, David also filmed a short film with the help of a good friend and incredibly talented local cinematographer, John Errington as a teaser for the project… Needless to say, we cannot wait to see what David comes up with next!