Toronto Anime Con

Sunday, December 4th 2005

Convention Report

I think first off it was gracious of Hobbystar to restore some faith in anime con by offering free entry to those who had passes to failed Con no Baka. It meant taking a loss of sales at the door. Those retailers who were at both events were grateful for the sales at this con. This con I would say was a success after the fall of Baka Con a week earlier. It was simple event without too much trapings of having TOO much going on.


Anime hats


Lessons in colours and white balance



Fluorescent White


Above is same subject, same location, same lighting. Obviously flash is the best of the lot.

The others are white balance settings. Not every source of light gives an even spectrum of light. Fluorescent bulbs are heavy on green wave lengths. Incandescence (tungsten) tilt more to red. Fluorescent White is another setting that tries to give more even spectrum. What makes taking pictures SO difficult is MTCC has been replacing it's incandescent bulbs with energy efficient fluorescent bulbs. The problem is only when the older bulbs burn out. So what you end up with is a mish-mash of the colour spectrum.  One key to figuring out, what setting is best should auto white balance fail, is checking the white areas in the photo. Obviously the last photo is closest to white as in her blouse and lettering on the sign behind.  It's not perfect because there is still a greenish tinge the background. Ideally, I could set white balance every time but that means having someone holding up a white board every time.

Flash and Incandescent

I had left the last setting on which worked fine for the hallway but when I moved back to front area.  It was a mixture of sunlight from the window behind and lighting above, which left me and the photos feeling a little blue.

The truth about FLASH

As much as everyone complains about flash, it's hardly a threat. As you can see in this photo, the flash drops off  DRASTICALLY! The effective range of most flashes is 10 feet. My SD300 is listed as 6.5 feet but actual test have proven it much less.  You can hardly see the kid walking with the adult about 10 feet away. Meaning the chances of light from a flash actually reaching a stage and causing a change in an already well lit stage is NIL! 

So does that mean you can use flash at masquerade?  NO. 

All you will do is get a nice picture of the back of people's heads for 2 to 3 rows and you still don't get the picture you hope for. Also you drastically reduce life of your batteries. The camera is rated at 150 photos with flash.  I can over 250 without flash before having to change battery packs and that is with the LCD display still on.

One way to practice is setting something under a outdoor light and try taking photos at night. Play with the settings. Mostly likely you're using digital so you have don't have to keep your mistakes. When you're at a con, you're stuck with your mistakes because there is no way of going back and retaking the photo. Take more than one. Flash memory is cheap. 

Also invest in card reader because you can access your pictures as though it was a flash drive. You can also remove and add photos then take them to various photo stores to print them off on real photo paper.  Also camera stores (not camera departments in large stores) are more than willing to help you with your camera. Some even hold their own courses.

I have been thinking of get a DV camcorder for masquerades.  Longer optical zoom and they can handle lighting conditions better. Plus most of the stuff on stage is in motion, it makes more sense.

I love playing with feature but sometimes it just doesn't work like above panorama shot. What makes them difficult is people shift over time. While the pictures used were taken in quickly, it just didn't piece together well.

Tale of two panels

Also there were two fan based panels a this convention. One, cosplay panel never had anyone show in spite of people poking their head in the door. 
The other, the Anime High School Summit, was very fruitful in sharing useful information to all that attended. There was prizes which I did get my ticket drawn for 4 manga books. Instead, I passed and let the prizes be split to two books each.  If I kept them, I would have donated to London Public Library anyway.

Candid Moment - The Usual Suspects!


With the lines on the wall, I couldn't resist doing line-up photo.


Hanging out in hallways of DTAC

Main Attraction - Brad Swaille

Brad Swaille was cool as usual. He answered questions, and even sing and dance for the crowd.



Brad packed the room where it was standing room only. Abandoning sitting behind the table to sit on top which he continued to do so in the Dealer's Room afterward.

  • Brad Swaille
  • Brad Swaille
  • Brad Swaille
  • Brad Swaille
  • Brad Swaille
  • Brad Swaille
  • Brad Swaille
  • Brad Swaille

I was glad to hear that he's using his artistic side to create paintings for charity auction. Maybe if he kept prints of his paintings, we might see Brad in the Artist Alley next year... Or at least have them available for signings.


I bought little this time around due money constraints. Still  I had a blast though I didn't come up with some 'con' game like last year. (Last year I had people wear a Laughing man mask.)

See you in March I hope.