This masterclass aims to introduce beginning and mid-level DP's to basic and intermediate cinematography techniques in a semi-formal, educational environment. It will consist of two main components: 1) Showing clips of the selected work with an explanation of the creative and technical techniques used, and 2) Practical demonstrations of these techniques in an interior location environment, so the attendees can learn how to execute them.
Basic cinematography techniques that will be demonstrated:
• Three-point lighting
• Contrast ratios
• Setting exposure (light meter, false colour, waveform)
• Depth of field
• Lens choice and composition
Intermediate cinematography techniques that will be conveyed:
• Coverage and ensuring set-ups will cut together
• Quality of Light
• Camera Movement
Email your application here. Note - this workshop is intended for South Island locals, and a workshop in the North Island will be held soon.
Course will be limited to 10 participants to guarantee plenty of "hands-on" time.
$180 for NZCS members, and $260 for non-members
Note: You can join the NZCS as a student member for $46 if you qualify (up to one year after graduation)
Lunch and short breaks will be provided. Details of venue upon acceptance of application. Deadline for applications Thursday 23 June.
Event kindly sponsored by:
Late Knight Productions
Dear friends of ARRI,
You are invited to be one of the first to experience the new ARRI 4K Super 35 camera. This exclusive event will feature hands-on demonstrations with the new camera, in-depth product presentations, and discussions with our experts.
Please choose a session that best suits your time.
Date: 01 Jun, 2022 (Wednesday) Time: 5:30 PM – 7:00 PM NZST Location: The Capitol Cinema, 610 Dominion Road, Balmoral, Auckland 1041, New Zealand Slots are limited, and registration is on a first-come, first-served basis. No admission without registration.
REGISTER FOR SESSION 1
Date: 01 Jun, 2022 (Wednesday) Time: 7:30 PM – 9:00 PM NZST Location: The Capitol Cinema, 610 Dominion Road, Balmoral, Auckland 1041, New Zealand Slots are limited, and registration is on a first-come, first-served basis. No admission without registration.
REGISTER FOR SESSION 2
We look forward to sharing this exciting news with you in person,
Your ARRI Team
Photo: DP Intern Nikki Winer with DP Bevan Crothers on Wellington Paranormal 3
The NZCS is seeking production company partners to collaborate on our Cushla Lewis Gender Diversity Program which places women in paid roles on films, as interns in the camera department - either at the trainee level or as an emerging cinematographer observational role. The NZCS will subsidise 50% of a living wage for up to five weeks (camera trainee) or three weeks (DP intern) and production company pays the balance.
We had four placements in 2021, although the difficulties of production under the Covid 19 conditions have made it a challenging year for the program.
The Gender Diversity program was established in 2019 and has proved a great success, with thirteen placements so far, giving women an opportunity in roles to enhance their career development on projects such as The Luminaries, The Power of the Dog, Sweet Tooth, and Wellington Paranormal 3.
There remains a great need for this initiative. While it is hard enough for anyone to get a career established in camera, it is even harder for women, and this program will make a significant difference to the ongoing imbalance in gender diversity, if it can be sustained.
Looking forward, our hope is that we can continue to address gender diversity issues by helping women kick-start their careers in camera. This will, however, depend on engagement from producers to provide opportunities and budget for interns on their upcoming projects. We have NZCS funds available to subsidise the roles, an unfulfilled need, and a gender imbalance that we have only begun to address.
Since current participants are generally in the early to mid-stages of their careers, the full effect will only become truly apparent in future decades when women, among the ranks of senior cinematographers, are no longer a novelty but a normality.
If you are a producer with an interest in supporting this program, please contact Donny Duncan on firstname.lastname@example.org.
When roles become available, they will be advertised in the NZCS newsletter or direct mail and NZCS members who identify as female are encouraged to apply. We also have intern positions available to all genders and advertised from time to time when the NZCS is approached by production companies with a vacancy.
Mike Potton photographed on a previous shoot
Cinematographer Richard Bluck NZCS, and 880 Productions NZ Ltd Partnership has very generously provided a training opportunity on the set of the Avatar 2 Pickups for two up-and-coming local cinematographers. Jess Charlton and Mike Potton from Wellington were the successful candidates for the 3 week positions and have both been very enthusiastic about the chance to immerse themselves in the latest technologies.
Jess Charlton: “It's going really well! It's been super inspiring and I have learnt so many things that I couldn't learn any other way.”
Mike Potton: “ Walking into the studio feels much like walking into the future, not just because of the film's genre but also the cutting edge nature of the workflow. It's been a bit like watching a magic show and learning piece by piece the secrets to how the illusion is put together. I've been able to observe how Richard projects a calm confidence in his decision making on set. Chatting to the wider crew uncovers more knowledge, it's been invaluable to drill down into technical details and to hear stories from their years of industry experience.”
Many thanks to Associate Producer/UPM Brigitte Yorke and her team for facilitating this placement under the umbrella of the NZCS Cinematographer Intern Program.
Covid-19 has bought big changes in our society. Feelings of disconnection and loss usually bring a fountain of strong opinions and confronting stories. The full impact of Covid-19 on technology, narratives, employment, and mental health has yet to be understood.
But right back in April 2020, the Global Policy Journal gave good advice which still holds true: ‘Optimism is more important today than ever, as is our collective mental health and well-being.’
After our first lockdown in March 2020 and a successful year keeping Aotearoa Covid-free, the industry experienced a lucrative boost. Now, to align with the new traffic light system crew have started to implement the newly updated ScreenSafe guidelines.
This is a mutable landscape. Fortunately, Aotearoa is used to four season in a day, and a change-with-the-weather attitude is part of our industry. Even before the new traffic light system came into force last week, most have readily come to accept a Covid test with the regularity of a morning coffee.
Technical tools have experienced a real push since the start of the pandemic. For instance, live feeds during production, now cover not only angles from the camera, but from around the set. For offshore directors, producers, clients, agencies and the like, this has become common practice.
Physical distancing restrictions haven’t just affected travel. If longer lenses weren’t already the preferred option for cinematographers, practicality may move the creative choices in that direction.
Additionally, Covid is changing some priorities. Framing for online platforms, rather than theatrical releases may come to define the look for this era of film-making.
Dave Garbett NZCS is of a different opinion. With Evil Dead Rise being one of the first productions to recommence during Level 3, new regulations have not interfered with his creative approach. The use of a remote head is a useful tool to overcome the challenge of physical distancing.
While cinematographers are taking up their challenges, intimacy coordinators have a different physical distancing perspective.
Level 3 guidelines did not allow physical touch between actors but the new traffic light system brings more latitude. Jennifer Ward-Lealand, President of Equity NZ and co-author of Intimacy Guidelines for Stage and Screen, has not said goodbye to physical contact onscreen. She says they deal with actors and boundaries all the time, and the restrictions add another layer to the creativity.
Further, she notes that film productions in Aotearoa are probably one of the safer places to work at the moment due to the rigorous safety protocols, such as regular Covid tests, vaccinations, wearing masks and use of safety officers.
Ride with the tide
The changes may appear drastic in the film production landscape but the industry has gone through many forced growth spurts in the past like the introduction of sound or colour, moving from standard definition to HDTV, moving from film to digital, and then on to 4K.
Perhaps our new motto should be: Things take longer than they used to. However, limitations can sometimes see new and unexpected creative, technical, logistical, financing and distribution avenues open up.
Let’s ride with the tide and approach the new year with well-deserved optimism.
~ Originally from Germany, Alyssa Kath is an emerging cinematographer and NZCS member. She is an NZCS committee member but her opinions are her own, not those of NZCS.
Mark Lapwood NZCS ACS has loved experimenting with timelapse photography for over 10 years, so about a week into lockdown he got his game on, decided to clear out the garage and turn it into a controlled lighting environment to film seeds sprouting in timelapse.
The idea was to have a controlled lighting situation, so the light remains consistent for as many days as it takes for the seeds to sprout.
I blacked out a small space and set up one LED panel as a three-quarter back light, with a couple of small white balance boards for fill.
To shoot I used two Canon DSLR’s an old school 6D & 70D, one as a wider shot on about a 35mm lens and one as a close up with a 100mm macro.
After some experimentation and many calculations I set my intervalometer to take one shot every 90 seconds over a period of about five days.
Then I got my hands dirty and planted whole lot of radish seeds in seed raising mix on a plate and put it in my little studio space.
The challenge of watering these seeds so they keep growing introduced a problem, because if I sprayed them every time they would jump in the final shot.
So my solution was to use a syringe and gently inject water around the outside of the plate in areas that were outside the frame.
Another challenge was the issue of camera power running out, and space running out on SD cards. Because every time I would have to touch the camera there’s the risk of bumping the shot. Fortunately I managed to find an old power supply for my Canon SLR, so that enabled the camera to stay on for many days as needed.
And I used the largest SD card I could get my hands on, 256 gb.
All in all I shot three varieties of seeds, Radish, Rocket and Beetroot, the longest went for five days with a total of 5770 frames!
The most delicate part of the entire operation was the daily checkups morning and night see if ‘my babies’, had enough water, checking batteries and cards without bumping anything. I did clip a tripod on my way out of the tiny little space on one occasion which required a bit of time in after effects sorting the glitch.
On the whole the results are mesmerising! What creative projects have you been up to during lockdown? Would you care to share in the next newsletter? If so please email Amber Wakefield on: email@example.com We’d love to see your creative pursuits!
Below are some pix of behind the scenes to enjoy.
You can also view the 'Radish seeds growing time-lapse' here.
~ Thanks, Mark Lapwood NZCS ACS
Feature film ‘Sons of the Sea’ recently won the Best South African Film Award at DIFF, and is currently playing at the Austin Film Festival.
Set in a small fishing village on the outskirts of Cape Town, we follow brothers Mikhail and Gabriel who discover a dead body and two bags of abalone. They take the loot into the shadows under a sliver of a moon, but are tracked down and pursued by a corrupt government official. Eventually cornered, the brothers turn violently on each other. But they also shoulder one another, softly and seamlessly. In both brothers we see reflections of us all, as we watch their journey to maintain their tenuous clasp on survival unfold.
Cinematographer Sebastian Cort discusses his experience shooting ‘Sons of the Sea’.
I had the pleasure of working on my first feature film with long time collaborator, writer/director John Gutierrez. John and I first worked together in London and he later relocated to Cape Town, where we came together again to shoot ‘Sons of the Sea’ in 2019. We both have a strong background in documentary, and our approach here was very similar to developing a documentary film - from forming relationships and being welcomed into the community, to shooting with intuition in a documentary style which gives the film a “social realist naturalism feel”
Coming from the world of documentary, this was the perfect story for me to sink my teeth into. The film is grounded so heavily in the real world, that I wanted to capture the raw, grittiness of the story and honour the underlying truth in what the characters were experiencing. John and I have very similar aesthetics, in prep we mostly communicated through references and stills. A lot of the discussions were based around capturing the emotions of the characters, with emphasis on the change each would go through in the story.
It was a really special project to be a part of. John, who is of Mexican American and Yaqui heritage, and I both feel strongly about telling the stories of indigenous peoples. These stories are ones that need to be heard, and are not told enough. John summed up our aims for the film in an interview with New Frame, “I wanted to show connections between Indigenous communities across the world, reflecting on the legacy of colonialism and show how we share a common experience of systemic racism. There’s a symmetry around the pain and struggle even to this day and a magnificence in our survival.”
Before production John spent several months visiting the community listening to oral testimonies- hearing their stories and understanding their point of view. Through these stories he began to draw parallels to his own people’s history, which became a way in to making the story his own. One teenager from the community, Noor Emandien, had a special interest in developing his skills as a filmmaker and wanted to get more involved, so he became our advisor and was later cast in the film.
From the beginning our producers Khosie Dali and Imran Hamdulay wanted to decentralise white narratives both in the filmmaking and the casting. We had a majority Black & mixed race South African crew as well as an all Black cast. The Kalk Bay community (where the film takes place) also own a share in the net profits of the film - they were such a huge part of telling this story, so it’s fitting that they can benefit from its successes.
As a DOP, I’ve always been passionate about capturing stories that question a sense of belonging, provide windows into the human psyche and inspire us all to grow as humans. Filming ‘Sons of the Sea’ allowed for all of that and more. It’s inspired me to pursue narrative film deeper with hopes of contributing to telling more stories like these, those which have long been brushed under the carpet and slowly eroded from history.
Check out these other articles about this beautiful project.
Trailer - https://vimeo.com/491005222
The NZCS was fortunate to facilitate a live webinar discussing Virtual Studio Cinematography with NZ-born, US-based DP Barry “Baz“ Idoine, while he was in Auckland recently during lock-down in October.
Baz has rapidly achieved a high profile as cinematographer for his work on “The Mandalorian”, winning an Emmy for Outstanding Cinematography for a Single Camera Series in 2020 amongst other awards, and has recently wrapped shooting in Sydney on “Thor: Love and Thunder”.
He was joined by a local panel with an interest in Virtual Production, including DP Dave Garbett, Harry Harrison from X3 Studios, Richard Lander from Avalon Studios and Victor and Amber-Marie Naveira from The Granary.
Baz was very forthcoming with his experience and knowledge in this field and explained the in-depth intricacies and challenges of the virtual production process in great detail.
Some of the interesting insights from the discussion included the following:
• Baz had the luxury of working with a top-end system in LA, which featured a volume (seamless collection of LED screens) 23m in diameter, 7m high with a 270 degree array of screens including a fully domed ceiling. A similar studio set-up is also in use in Sydney now.
• A wrap-around volume as above, is invaluable for reflective surfaces such as the Mandalorian character’s shiny chrome costume, but its a mis-conception that the volume will provide all the lighting needed. Invariably, supplementary lighting is needed off camera or behind the subject to provide contrast and modelling.
• The frustum (specific area of screens in the camera’s field of view, which will move as the camera tracks) is allocated higher resolution than the screens outside the field of view, to economise on processing power. The outside screens can have independently controlled brightness levels and areas which helps their use as light sources or “light cards” both as fill light or anti-fill negative sources.
• This is primarily a single-camera medium, although two cameras are often used, with the limitations being; there can only be one frustum in view at a time, and the “B” camera must be able to see that same area of screens as the “A” camera.
• The Emmy Award for “Single Camera Series” needs to be renamed, as its a legacy from the earlier days of single-camera film production versus multi-cam studio sitcoms like “Cheers” and “Friends” - whereas most productions invariably use more than one camera nowadays.
• Volume shooting is not limited to fanstasy/science fiction genres, and can be adapted to any script requirements with certain limitations: for example, situations involving interaction with a large crowd of extras are probably not best suited to shooting in a volume. Its also not easy to replicate daytime exterior hard sunlight situations on a Virtual Stage, which is more suited to soft ambient lighting.
A recording of the 90min webinar discussion is available for NZCS members on the NZCS website here.
Thanks to Baz and all the contributers to the discusssion, and host Alex Glucina from KiwiCinematographer podcast series.
~ Donny Duncan NZCS, Professional Development Manager
The NZCS is pleased to announce we have negotiated several mid-career cinematographer placements on an international feature based in Wellington.
The Attachments provide the opportunity to shadow the Director of Photography on set and experience advanced aspects of the craft including pre-production time where possible.
These will be paid Attachments for a maximum duration of 15 days each. The 1st placement is expected to commence in Wellington around 11th October 2021, although this is dependent upon the current Covid-19 lock-down status in Auckland and may get delayed. The 2nd three week placement will commence approximately 1st November, 2021, subject to the commencement dates of the shoot.
The placements are intended for Wellington locals or candidates who can relocate themselves and self-accommodate. The selected candidates will be issued a standard contract by the Production Company and will join the payroll, per other contractors.
The aim of the Attachment is to:
To provide an opportunity for a mid-career cinematographer to upskill their confidence and ability to produce high quality feature film cinematography, and to provide another training pathway to the limited opportunities currently available. This is not a creative input role, but will be a mentored position, closely shadowing the DP and key technicians at work, observing pre-production and the creative decision making process on set.
Note: Unlike previous NZCS attachments under the Cushla Lewis Gender Diversity Program, this particular opportunity is not limited to female applicants only, however the NZCS remains committed to a mandate to grow and diversify the pool of emerging cinematographers in New Zealand.
To be eligible, applicants must:
Please submit the following in electronic form only (Word file or PDF) by 9am Thursday 23rd September, 2021 to firstname.lastname@example.org with 'Wellington Cinematographer Attachment - application' in the subject line:
A shortlist will be developed from applicants and an interview (in person or virtual) may be required, at which time further details of the production itself will be provided.
The NZCS is very pleased to announce that their application to the NZFC Screen Sector Covid 19 Capability Fund in August, for continuing support of the Cushla Lewis Gender Diversity Program was successful, and we are able to continue this rewarding program forward for another year.
We are now actively seeking production company partners and cinematographers who are willing to mentor up-and-coming female DP’s to help redress the serious imbalance in representation of the genders in our craft. Please click here for more information on the program and stay tuned for upcoming opportunities. For more information, you can reach out to our Professional Development Manager, Donny Duncan NZCS, here.
The NZCS currently has three mentored placements in progress on “Evil Dead Rise” feature film, but the Auckland Covid-19 Level 4 lockdown has halted production in the meantime.
Alyssa Kath and Daniela “Nani” Conforte are both shadowing DP Dave Garbett as mid-career cinematographers and Alice Toomer is camera trainee on the 2nd Unit under the tutelage of 1st AC Bayley Broome-Peake and DP Ziga Zupancic.
The NZCS gives thanks to the NZ Film Commission for their ongoing support.
Ariel Camera LimitedCR Kennedy NZ Ltd
Māui Virtual Production Ltd
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