I realize that taking screenshots isn't a scientific process and is really just about timing, patience and preference. But when you go through a show frame-by-frame trying for a certain image- you notice things. I've been putting some time here and there to filling out the image banks of the Wiki for the Black Lagoon series. Considering this is my third blog post about this show, I'm probably getting close to being known as "that Black Lagoon guy" which I can deal with. But basically, I wanted to share the things I noticed after two seasons snapping pictures of characters, places, guns and muzzle flashes.
It's probably too late by now to mention that there are going to be a bunch of pictures.
Fun with Rock Faces
Rock has a lot of great expressions when he's hanging in the background while other characters talk. Sometimes it's easy to notice, but other times it's usually just a result of the angle and the loss of detail as things get further away from the screen. I didn't really notice a lot of them until I was trying to get a certain pose or expression, mostly because these scenes are only a few seconds long. Here are two of my favorites.
Taking a Double Take
Quick cuts in action sequences (and a few other scenarios) often give you a second or two before whipping over to something else. A lot of times they aren't meant to be poured over and picked apart like you can in a screenshot. Of course you can also pull this off by pausing the video at a weird time and catching something that usually goes by in the blink of an eye.
Case in point is a intelligence file on Roberta the maid that is glossed over as Boris talks about it. I had thought about taking a picture for the episode gallery of Rasta Blasta... but it's actually a lot Engrish not meant to be closely examined. I thought it could work better in Russian... but if you could read Russian it would be the same problem over again. But to be fair and a lot more realistic, its main purpose is just to let you know that Balalaika is one well informed woman.
Can you see it? Can you see Mr. Chang's smile as he shoots under his arm at a terrorist thug on a stairwell? Okay, it's actually just his cigarette. But for the longest time I thought it was part of his mouth as he grinned or something. It wasn't until I took this picture (and several days later) when I realized you can't actually see his mouth in this shot. It goes by so fast in the show that I let my brain fill in the rest.
And then there's this guy, Ratchman. From the screenshot below he looks eighty years or older. Compare to any other screenshot on his character page. He's not a young guy... but he looks ancient here. Probably because of the way his hand is positioned. He looks like he's got flaps of skin hanging around his mouth or something.
Hey, It's That Guy!
I usually end up re-watching an episode a couple of times trying to locate the scene I was thinking about taking pictures of. Along with funny faces and shots not meant to stay on screen for a long time, you can sometimes notice characters appear way before they ever get center stage. In this case it's a minor one, but he makes a big splash.
The best one so far is the Guy with the Gatling Gun who first shows up in Season 1 "Maid to Kill" and then comes back in Season 2 "Roanapur Freakshow Circus" as a hired gun. I might be stretching, but he's got the same bald head and ratty gray tank top. They probably just reused a character design.
Bright and Shiny Muzzle Flashes
One thing I have a weakness for is the muzzle flash. They often make things hard to see or ruin a perfectly good screen shot... but I can't help it. I love flashy lighting effects.
The Many Gun Barrels of Balalaika
I'll end this blog on Balalaika and poses. Apparently her favorite past time (besides waging war and burning her enemies to the ground) is pointing guns in people's faces. With a smile. Also, I'm pretty good at terrible captions. Just saying.