Archer Roelants as temporary stand-in for lighting setup. Photo credit: Michael Paletta
As part of the 2023 Professional Development program the NZCS ran a long-awaited Masterclass on LUT (Look Up Table) Building for Cinematographers in collaboration with The Rebel Fleet and Metro Camera Rentals at their Auckland base.
Dave Cameron, NZCS ACS tutored from the cinematographer’s perspective, and Pete Harrow, technical director at Rebel Fleet gave an extensive presentation from the colourist’s point of view and a practical demonstration of the DIT/Colourist role in setting up for a shoot and designing specific LUTS for a project.
The course was limited to 10 participants, so everyone got a good chance to access monitors and be interactive with the process. There was a good mix of experienced cinematographers, DIT technicians and post production representatives. More than 20 people applied for places on the course, so its planned to hold another Masterclass in the next few months for those who missed out first time around.
Dave Cameron NZCS ACS demos his process to the assembled group. Photo credit Michael Paletta
The day began with a powerpoint and technical overview of the whole LUT process by Pete Harrow. Dave Cameron then talked of his approach to pre-production and camera testing and showed clips of some of his previous set-ups and explained the why and the how of LUT creation for a specific show.
Dave Cameron NZCS, ACS with Pete Whittaker, Murray Milne NZCS and Peter McCaffrey.
Photo Credit: Michael Paletta
The afternoon was a move downstairs to Metro Films to a pre-lit set with stand-in, where test footage was shot on an Arri Alexa 35 with a comprehensive collection of textures and light sources to emulate a real environment. Side by side monitors displayed LogC, Rec 709 and applied LUT versions and various options were explored to arrive at a final product, including Day and Night Interior scenes.
Footage was then taken in the system to demonstrate how the LUT integrates into the post workflow and can be used to link to the final grading session.
Pete Harrow (left) and Dave Cameron NZCS ACS (centre) demonstrate to course attendees.
Photo Credit: Bayley Broome-Peake.
Special thanks to Michael Paletta for the lion’s share of organising the workshop, Ryan and Andy Roelants from Metro for their generosity in supplying camera gear and premises, Mike Urban from The Rebel Fleet for his support of this venture and Tony Blackwood for supplying a truck of lighting equipment.
~ Donny Duncan NZCS | Professional Development Manager
Photo taken by Richard Simmons of attendees getting hands-on with latest camera equipment.
NZCS recently hosted a Masterclass in Queenstown in collaboration with Film Queenstown Lakes and the Queenstown Camera Company.
The course was targeted at cinematographers who wanted to take a step into shooting short films, web series and tv drama, and directors and assistants keen to learn more about this creative process.
Demand for the course was high, and as well as Queenstown locals, attendees travelled from Wanaka, Christchurch, Dunedin and Invercargill. One big success of the masterclass was the network opportunities afforded by this rare gathering of South Island cinematographers.
Many of the participants had a strong background in shooting documentaries, sport, natural history and web content, but were keen to understand the process of breaking down scripts and working with actors and directors in the fictional realm.
The masterclass was tutored by Donny Duncan NZCS, and local AC, Raj Patel, showcased practical demostrations with an Arri Alexa 35, Alexa Mini and comprehensive lens kits, kindly supplied by Brett Mills from Queenstown Cameras. Local gaffer Max Catterick arrived with a lighting truck to demo a range of traditional and contemporary lighting units under Donny’s supervision.
NZCS sponsored two places in the workshop for up-coming young talent with a keen film-making passion. Jack Trounce and Jack Smillie from Wakatipu High School had an introduction to the professional world of film-making.
Thanks go to Kahli Scott from Film Queenstown Lakes for initiating discussions and facilitating the workshop which has long been in the planning. Accomodation was kindly provided by Holiday Inn, Queenstown Remarkables Park, who are keen to attract film crews to their hotel facilities, very conventiently located close to Queenstown airport.
NZCS has a mandate to bring more professional masterclasses and workshops to the regions outside of Auckland as there has been good support for these ventures in the past.
~ Donny Duncan NZCS | Professional Development Manager
Photo taken by Richard Simmons of "the Jacks" from Wakatipu High School checking out the Arri Alexa 35.
Photographs taken by Director of Photography John Ross show the panel's informal conversation in the afternoon.
One of the events preceding the 6th Annual Cinematography Awards was “An Afternoon with Erika Addis” – President of the Australian Cinematographers Society, and guest speaker at the awards.
Erika was keen for the session to take the form of an informal round-table discussion on the general themes of Gender, Diversity and Inclusion in our cinematography world, so a panel was assembled that comprised interns from our program; Aline Tran, Bayley Broome-Peake and Vanessa Vandy, program DP mentor ; DJ Stipsen NZCS, independent producer; Jo Raj, NZCS Vice President; Nina Wells and Executive Director of Women in Film and Television NZ; Patricia Watson. It was also great to have a diverse audience including 1st AD’s, directors, writers and a good turn-out from the camera department.
The session kicked off with an introduction to Erika’s background and her passion for diversity and inclusion in the selection of our crews, so our film stories truly reflect the make-up of our society. We screened a short video showcasing the “A Wider Lens Survey” of which Erika was an integral force, and then discussed the recent positive trends in Australia with the international success of female DP’s like Mandy Walker, ASC, ACS and Ari Wegner ACS, ASC.
PHOTO: One of the many informative key findings from 'A Wider Lens' report.
Patricia Watson from WIFT talked about the soon-to-be-released Gender Pay Gap survey in our industry and how the camera department has serious need for improvement. Producer Jo Raj talked about her support and passion for diversity in our crewing and Nina Wells acknowledged Jo’s fantastic support during while she DP’d a film during a recent pregnancy.
We heard first-hand experience from some of the interns who had been on the NZCS Gender Diversity Program and DJ Stipsen gave a most enlightening talk about his role from the mentor’s perspective, and the insights he had gained from the process.
Erika then discussed the Australian government-funded ACS Credit Maker scheme, where mentees get to shoot a full episode of a TV series after spending time with their mentor on previous episodes.
The floor was open for lively discussion on a variety of issues centered around making our part of the industry reflective of the demographic of our society, because currently we have a long way to go before this is a reality.
~ Donny Duncan NZCS, Professional Development Manager
Kioko Wang with mentor, DP Matthew Chuang ACS
The NZCS recently awarded a Gender Diversity DP intern placement to Kioko Wang who has just finished an Auckland-based 3 week internship on the Jason Momoa TV series 'CHIEF OF WAR' under the mentorship of cinematographers Matthew Chuang ACS, Michael Snyman and Joshua Bleibtreu ASC.
Coming up through the ranks in 2nd AC and 1st AC roles, Kioko began concentrating on camera operating in 2022 and has set a goal to embark on the long journey of becoming a DP. Kioko looks forward to producing unique stories from a female’s perspective and blending her Chinese background with Kiwi culture.
Her intern experience has been enriched by spending time with the different DPs and observing their individual approaches to the shoot. She has been able to spend some prep time on 2nd Unit, which has been very helpful to her learning. We look forward to Kioko reporting back on the experience when she’s had time to reflect on her journey (which she wishes had been longer!)
The Gender Diversity program is made possible with the kind support of a New Zealand Film Commission Talent Development grant and equal contribution from the production company, Fifth Season NZ Ltd. This was the last placement under our current funding, and we are now waiting to apply again to the 2023/24 fund when it opens shortly.
~ Donny Duncan NZCS, Professional Developement Manager
I recently had the honour of representing the NZCS at the 2023 International Cinematography Summit, hosted by the ASC in Los Angeles. Societies from 33 different countries were present and the program included panel discussions, screenings and presentations by DP’s, and off-site visits to technical facilities.
Photo: International delegates at final dinner at ASC Clubhouse
One of the highlights this year was being invited onto a Gender, Diversity and Inclusion panel discussion and receiving some great feedback about about our NZCS/NZFC initiatives. The LA based IATSE Local 600 (Camera Union) Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Coordinator has subsequently requested more information about how our NZCS program works.
I also joined a panel on the subject of “Building Our Film communities through our Societies”. There was much interest shown in how a relatively small society like the NZCS runs an annual Cinematography Awards, is able to hire Executive Officer, Professional Development and Event Management staff, and runs successful intern programs,events, workshops and masterclasses.
Photo: Bob Richardson ASC and his colourist discuss AIR
Technical demonstrations included a visit to Kinoflo to view their “Magic Box” collaboration – a fully portable VR studio mounted on a semi-trailer truck rig that can be driven to location or studio and unpacked and set up within 90 minutes and will accomodate vehicles on a turntable for quick and easy car-driving dialogue scenes. Check out details here
There was also a live test environment and demonstration of Angenieux Optimo Prime lenses with their innovation internal lens filtering option (Integrated Optical Pallette) for ultimate creative control. The modular design of the lens system allows the internal components to easily be pulled apart and put back together within minutes using relatively standard tools.
Magic Box portable Virtual production studio-exterior
Magic Box portable Virtual Production Studio-interior
Screenings and presentations included cinematographer David Lanzenberg talking about his work with director Tim Burton on the pilot for the TV series WEDNESDAY, and legendary cinematographer Robert Richardson ASC discussing his recent work on the Ben Affleck-directed movie AIR about the Nike/Air Jordan story.
Another panel was convened to discuss latest technolgies and approaches in Virtual Production and this featured New Zealander Baz Idoine ASC (THE MANDALORIAN, THOR, LOVE & THUNDER) as a contributor.
We were also treated to a screening of the recently restored SUNSET BOULEVARD movie (1950) followed by a presentation from the team at Paramount Pictures responsible for the restoration process.
Paramount restoration team talk about SUNSET BOULEVARD
It was a special privilege to meet the newly elected president of IMAGO (International Federation of Cinematographers) Mustapha Barat, ABC, from Brazil and we had a fruitful discussion about the ways forward for IMAGO after some turbulent years.
This year ICS featured more time for delegates to converse and socialise and feedback will be analysed to decide whether this will be an annual or bi-annual event in the future. Like last year, it was great to meet a variety of ASC members who dropped into the clubhouse during the week, and to establish contact with societies from all around the world.
~ Donny Duncan NZCS
Its with sadness we note the passing of NZ television pioneer and cameraman Don Scott on the NSW Central Coast at the age of 90. His son Ashley kindly informed us of his dad’s passing on April 26th. What came as quite a surprise was that Don was a co-founder of the original New Zealand Society of Cinematographers Inc (NZSC) which preceded the current NZCS by many decades but was only active for a short time and included sound operators, directors, and producers as well as camera people. Ashley has supplied us with some great images from his father’s archive.
Don was a freelance (stringer) cameraman and worked at Reynolds Television, as well as the NZBC, TVNZ and later TV3 and will be known by some of our senior industry members.
Some of New Zealand’s most important historic news events, including the Beatles tour of NZ and Australia, numerous Royal Visits, the Air New Zealand Mt Erebus Disaster, and the Rainbow Warrior Bombing, to name a few, were seen through Don’s lens.
Sport, Documentaries, Māori and Pasifika were also a great body of his work, which he loved very much. Don was one of the foundation crew for the Māori News programme Te Karere, and worked hard to establish the show and drive it where it is today. He was a champion of encouraging Māori and Pacific Islander students to get behind the camera and have more key roles behind the scenes at a time when it was very difficult for anyone to get a start in film and television.
Don retired to his native Australia and is survived by his wife Brenda and two sons who also work in television.
NZCS Mid-Career Cinematographer Gender Diversity Internship Opportunity in Auckland
The NZCS is pleased to announce we have negotiated a mid-career cinematographer placement on an international TV series based in Auckland, under our Cushla Lewis Gender Diversity Program, part-sponsored by the NZ Film Commission Talent Development Fund, the NZCS and the production company.
The Attachment provides the opportunity for a female intern to shadow the Directors of Photography on set and experience advanced aspects of the craft in a location-based shoot.
This will be a paid Attachment at $300 per day for 15 days over a three week period.
• The three week placement will commence in Auckland on Monday 29th May and finish on Friday, 16th June 2023
The placement is intended for Auckland region locals or candidates who can relocate themselves and self-accommodate. The selected candidate will be issued a standard contract by the Production Company and will join the payroll, per other contractors.
The aim of the Attachment:
The program aims to provide an opportunity for a female mid-career cinematographer to observe a working cinematographer mentor on a big budget international production. This program aims to provide another training pathway to the limited opportunities currently available by giving the intern valuable on-set experience, increased confidence and a renewed skill-set in the world of high quality television drama cinematography. This is not a creative input role, but will be a mentored position, closely shadowing the DP and key technicians at work, and observing the creative decision making process on set.
Note: Under the Cushla Lewis Gender Diversity Program, this internship is limited to applicants who are female or identify as female. The NZCS remains committed to a mandate to grow and diversify the pool of emerging cinematographers in New Zealand. We also encourage women from under-represented ethnic backgrounds to apply.
To be eligible, applicants must:
Please submit the following in electronic form only (Word files or PDF) by:
Fri, 12th May to: firstname.lastname@example.org with “Gender Diversity - Cinematographer Attachment, Auckland” in the subject line:
A shortlist of suitable applicants will be forwarded to the production and an interview (in person or virtual) may be required, at which time further details of the production itself will be provided.
Applicants will be informed of a decision either way, by Thu 18th May, 2023 latest.
We invite you to come together with people from across the screen sector and raise a glass to 2022 at one of the three Combined Screen Guilds Christmas Party across the country.
AUCKLAND - Wednesday 7 December register here
WELLINGTON - Thursday 8 December register here
CHRISTCHURCH - Monday 12 December: email to RSVP here
All members are welcome to attend, free entry and nibbles will be provided, with drinks available for purchase at the bar. See regional invites below, for more information on venue and timings.
Registration is essential, so click on the link and let us know you're coming.
We look forward to seeing you there!
The NZCS team
DJ Stipsen NZCS and Aline Tran (top row, centre) with the 'Stonehenge' Camera crew
November has seen our Gender Diversity Program wrap up three DP internships for women on “Our Flag means Death” (Vanessa Vandy) and “Stonehenge” (Pikihuia Haenga-Little and Aline Tran). All have reported having a most valuable experience and we thank the NZFC, producers and cinematographers involved for their support of this program.
“The value of the placement is incredible. It's very rare for a DOP to be able to observe another DOP but I learned in a few weeks what could have taken me years of personal experimentation. I think this scheme is a great way to upskill mid-career female cinematographers so we see more of them taking the role on a production the size of Stonehenge” - Aline Tran
Auckland was host to a 2ndAC Master class on Nov 5thrun by Michael Paletta at Panavision. 12 applicants were accepted onto the course and gained an insight into the professional attitude and approach expected to succeed in this role.
“I can't thank the NZCS enough for putting together the brilliant workshop. Thoroughly enjoyed it and learnt heaps. There was ample time to learn, get hands-on and ask any questions I had. It was also great meeting other filmmakers and networking” – Mike Kim
Reaching Out to Film Schools – Murray Milne NZCS and 1st AC Michael Paletta recently visited South Seas/Youbee film school in Auckland to deliver a presentation to graduating students – this is the beginning of the NZCS reaching out to cinematography students to share our knowledge about pathways into the industry.
The NZCS is pleased to announce an intensive one-day Trainee and 2nd Assistant camera Masterclass in Auckland on Saturday, 5th November
Michael has designed an introductory course to the Trainee and 2nd AC role, that he wishes had been available when he first started his career. This will be the third AC workshop Michael has tutored for the NZCS.
The agenda will include:
· set étiquette
· over-view of Camera Dept positions and responsibilities
· teamwork basics
· AC kit run-down
· rental house liason
· practical demonstrations of equipment and usage
· prepping/building a camera kit
· testing and working with cine lenses
· role of the 2nd AC
· gear management demos
· marking actors
The NZCS has identified that there is a current skill shortage of trainees and experienced 2nd AC’s ready to step into roles on high pressure film sets. This course is aimed at those film school graduates and camera trainees moving into the 2nd AC role, who want to fine-tune their professional attitude, learn tips and tricks and gain the confidence to step up to the plate on a fast moving set.
While it takes a lot longer than a one-day course to hone these skills, the hope is that attendees with a strong desire to do well in this field will become inspired by the course and will be encouraged to seek further experience, other learning opportunities and mentorships with obliging DPs.
The event will be held at a camera rental house and experienced AC’s will be on hand to supervise building cameras during practical sessions, and to add their perspective to the proceedings.
We are looking for attendees whose goal is to work as 2nd Assistant Camera on various levels of productions before moving up the ranks. If you are a camera operator wanting to learn more about working with an AC, then this is probably not the course for you.
The workshop will be restricted to 12 attendees only, so that numbers are manageable, and everyone gets quality hands-on time with the gear.
Potential applicants will need to send a short e-mail with a CV and contact details listing their current experience, and a brief one-page summary of why they feel this course will benefit their career progression and what they hope to achieve from it.
Please email email@example.com by 5.00pm Monday 24th October if you wish to be considered for a place on the course, and we will confirm positions by 5.00pm Wednesday 26th October and provide registration details to those who are accepted.
This one-day master class costs:
$75 for NZCS members, and $125 for non-members
Note: You can join the NZCS as student or associate member by going to our website here.
Lunch and short breaks will be provided. Details of venue upon registration.
Ariel Camera LimitedCR Kennedy NZ Ltd
Māui Virtual Production Ltd
Prices include GST© 2008- 2021 New Zealand Cinematographers Society