We speak to the fantastic people behind the “The 86th Floor” who make wonderful Cosplay Music Videos at comic con events and also dedicated videos.
First of all, introduce your team behind 86th Floor Crew. (*Cause I know there is a lot of you)
There are five of us in total here at The 86th Floor! Oisin (founder & videographer), Miranda (production coordinator & videographer), Agatha (music producer), Emi (social media manager & photographer) and Alice (graphic designer). Oisin, Miranda and Emi are the faces you may be familiar with as they are the ones who visit the conventions
Always curious where“86th Floor Music” name came from?
Osh: I’m a big fan of 1930s pulp hero Doc Savage (even the really bad 1970s movie). Doc and his team had their secret headquarters on the 86th Floor of the Empire State building so we’re named in homage to that.
How do you explain cosplay to friends/family member who don’t know this hobby?
Miranda: Since cosplay has actually become fairly mainstream, I find I often don’t need to explain it anymore! If I do have to explain it, I say it’s dressing up as characters from tv/video games/comics/films/etc and it’s a whole lotta fun.
What got you involved with the cosplay community?
Osh: Cosplay actually reignited my love of fandom and geek culture, I’d not been to many comic cons since the early 2000s. When I went to my first MCM in 2012 I realised that there was a whole new generation of fans who were breathing creativity and vitality into the convention scene. I’ve since come to love cosplay and the cosplay community as an incredible force that both celebrates the things we love but also showcases and displays an amazing creativity that is unique in fandom.
Miranda: I got into cosplay through my best friend who was going to conventions in 2010. Me and my brother went along to MCM London in May 2011 and had literally the best day ever and have been going ever since! I love how creative everyone is and the different kinds of skills that you learn just being in the community.
You produce a number of Cosplay Music videos, all around the world. Before the first person is recorded, do you plan what and who will feature in your videos?
Miranda: We always go to a con knowing what song we’re going to be shooting for, which usually dictates the kind of shots we get. We sometimes have specific shots in mind, but a lot of the time we’re just making it up as we go along and work with the cosplays we see on the day.
Osh: We’ll often have a tone we’re aiming for with the video as well, so sometimes we’ll be looking for specific cosplays or characters to film. However this often falls apart when we see something amazing we HAVE to film.
Regarding your music, it’s original bespoke music. As you know the song you’ll be using, does this help set a theme for your videos?
Miranda: It really helps shape the tone or pace of the shots. For our dedicated projects, the music is often written during the filming process and adjusted as we edit.
Osh: Agatha who creates our music is a savage genius, and I think her work really fuels us and makes us go in different directions. When she wrote the track “Games” (used in the Harley Quinn CMV), it was originally intended as a convention track. However when we heard how incredibly epic we wanted to make something very different which turned out to be our Harley Quinn short.
You feed is a mixture of Cosplay Music videos and dedicated cosplay video. Which do you enjoy the most doing?
Miranda: They’re such different experiences that I don’t think I can choose! At conventions, it’s great to get to shoot a large variety of different things in a short space of time, but with dedicated videos we get to have more time to plan and be meticulous with each shot. We also get more time to edit a dedicated video, rather than a con video which is usually a three day turn around!
Osh: As Miranda said they’re really different experiences – I love the fast paced fluid nature of shooting con videos especially when you come up with a different shot or film with someone you’ve never filmed before who blows you away. Dedicated shoots are for me a great way to spend more time with cosplayers and actually showcase their performance as well as their costumes.
How do people spot you are comic con events and be involved in your videos?
Miranda: Look for the grey 86th Floor t-shirts! If you’d like to be involved in the video, come and ask us, it’s as simple as that! Emi keeps our social media stories up to date with our location (as much as the slow internet connection at a convention will allow) as we always want to be as accessible to cosplayers as possible.
Osh: Please come up and talk to us. We’re so grateful to everyone who gives up their time to shoot with us that people shouldn’t worry about approaching us. Generally we’ll always shoot with people and if we can’t do it there and then we’ll be able to make arrangements for later that day or weekend.
Which has been your favourite video you’ve made and why?
Miranda: The Harley Quinn video we made will always be among my favourites, but one of my recent personal favourites is the Miraculous Ladybug School Play video we did. I’m super into theatre AND Miraculous Ladybug so it was the perfect blend of two of my favourite things. We’ve got a Star Wars video coming out soon though that I think might be my favourite thing we’ve shot in 2018… stay tuned for that one!
Osh: In terms of con videos, it’s almost always the last one we shot, although I have a soft spot for our Connichi 2017 video because I think it shows how lovely the con is. In terms of dedicated videos that’s too hard to choose but I love our Overwatch video we shot at a funfair in Germany partly because the shoot was a massive logistical challenge completed in one day and partly because it’s so ridiculously over the top!
Is there any funny stories when it comes to making your videos?
Miranda: The nature of shooting cosplay videos is that funny things happen all the time so it’s hard to pick one story! One I’ll always remember was on the first Spiderverse shoot; we had all the cosplayers queueing up outside the venue for a shot and traffic started slowly down because of it. I think the sight of 30+ Spiderman cosplayers outside a pub in Camden very nearly caused a car crash… Someone also yelled “DC IS BETTER” out of their window… not sure what a group of obvious Marvel fans were supposed to make of that.
Oisin: As a lot of my shooting involves walking backwards with a gimbal I often fall over, however I managed to outdo myself at MCM 2017 when I walked backwards and stood on a baby! The baby was fine but no one will ever let me forget it!
Miranda: Osh also smashed a teapot in Spain in a similar fashion.
Is there an event you’d love to visit?
Miranda: We’ve been lucky enough to go to most of the events that I’ve always wanted to visit! I have still yet to go to an American convention, so am looking forward to being able to do that.
Osh: For me I would love to go to a Russian, Brazilian or Australian convention. I think each country we’ve visited brings their own quirks to cosplay and I’d love to see how it’s represented in those countries.
To Follow The 86th Floor on social media, here are their links.