Saijo Matsuri is a festival held every year in October in Saijo, Japan. It is truly one of the most exciting, energetic experiences I have ever witnessed. I have been to the festival about 5 times and have always wanted to capture the energy and mood of the event. But I never had a way of getting "in" it the way I wanted and to have the quality that I was seeking that could showcase it in a way that comes close to actually being there.
This year was different. For the first time, with the 5D Mark II, it was possible to get right up close and personal to the event and have it be amazingly crisp 1080p quality. I do not think a film like this would have been possible anytime before with any other camera. Especially considering that it was done solo. One person, with one camera. This is one of the many reasons that I am so hooked on the 5D Mark II right now. The ability to get into tight places, amazing low light capabilities and great HD quality.
A little background about the festival:
Saijo Matsuri is a three day event celebrating the fall harvest. They carry 135 of these 700kg(1500lbs) Danjiri all over town and parade them in a very enthusiastic fashion. And when I say "all over town" I mean ALL OVER TOWN. They will all be in one spot for 4-5 hours and then carry it to the next 10-20km away to the next spot and continue the fun. And they do this, almost non-stop, day and night for three days.
They lift these Danjiri up over their heads and present them to the Kami(God). Sometimes when they get a good bounce going the Danjiri will actually lift away from their grip several centimeters in the air and hopefully they catch them again. And then there are 7 larger Mikoshi that come from a neighboring town, Niihama, to join in the festivities. These larger ones weigh a tremendous 2.5 tons.
This film focuses on the second day, Oct. 17th. It starts at 1am, goes to three locations and ends around 8pm.
I suggest watching with good speakers or headphones to get the full effect of being immersed into this amazing event. Enjoy!
*Now available for download*