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Who are NZCS?

The New Zealand Cinematographers Society was established in 2008 to foster the profession of cinematography.  Today we have members from all image related fields. 

Join, and you become part of a network of image-makers working in all genres and across all distribution channels -from the web and TV, through to cinema and live shows.


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Upcoming events

  • We have some fantastic events coming up, but no confirmed dates yet - watch this space.
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  • 12 Nov 2018 10:48 AM | Amber Wakefield (Administrator)

    Of all the tools a cinematographer employs, the most important we have are our eyes. Recently there have been an increase in news articles outlining the damage that increased exposure to blue light waves does to our eyes. 

    Whilst we cannot completely avoid screen exposure to blue light spectrum, we can be mindful of the potential long term hazard. Many screens on computers and phones offer a warmer version of the screen, which can be taken advantage of when we are not colour balancing our work. In addition blue blocker lenses are now available for spectacles, which I wear whenever I am not required to assess colour accuracy. Don’t forget that sunglasses can also be excellent weapons in the fight against excess UV light exposure when working outside.

    The links below offer more information on the issue, as well as providing some interesting background on how our eyes actually work. 

    - Simon Raby NZCS, President

    https://www.forbes.com/sites/fionamcmillan/2018/08/11/how-blue-light-damages-cells-in-your-eyes/#6f73ef4a384b

    https://www.aoa.org/Documents/CRG/Blue%20Light%20and%20Eye%20Damage.pdf

    https://amp.theguardian.com/society/2018/aug/09/blue-light-from-phone-screens-accelerates-blindness-study-finds?__twitter_impression=true 
  • 08 Nov 2018 1:45 PM | Amber Wakefield (Administrator)

    This workshop on a Saturday in mid-September was not to be missed by anyone with interest in top-end drone technology, and camera gimbal stabilisation systems. Held at Studio 230 in Ponsonby Rd, there was a most impressive array of equipment on hand for display, demonstration, and hands-on participation. 

    Notably featured were new products such as: DJI Inspire 2 drone, DJI Ronin 2 gimbal rig, Zenmuse X7 camera with Super35 sensor, DJI Masterwheels – a high precision electronic replica of the geared head system which are fully wireless remote control or cable, very heavy-lift drone systems for cameras like the Arri Alexa, very tiny drones at the other end of the scale, and displays by PLS, Imagezone and Mandy VFX.

    Centre-piece of the workshop was a panel discussion featuring local experts and NZCS members Murray Milne NZCS, Rob Marsh, Jess Charlton, and Sam Peacocke. As well as local DJI rep Jonathon Kubiak and Jiajia (River) Chen from DJI Global. Jae Morrison led a wide-ranging discussion. Encompassing tips and tricks from seasoned professionals, new cunning ways to mount and utilise systems like the Ronin 2, requests for new features or improvements to DJI gear (dutifully noted by River, to take back to the R&D team in China!) and thoughts on how this new wave of technology has revolutionised the way we move cameras.

  • 08 Nov 2018 1:28 PM | Amber Wakefield (Administrator)

    Mid-August saw an enthusiastic turn-out of regulars and newcomers to listen to Denson Baker NZCS ACS, show clips and talk about his work on three main projects: the yet to be released feature film 'Ophelia' shot in the Czech Republic, a season finale episode of the English TV drama 'Victoria', and the award-winning NZ feature film 'The Dark Horse'.

    The evening hosted at Department of Post’s new facility in Newton Rd was kindly facilitated by Denson’s old film school buddy, Mark Lapwood ACS, and Murray Milne NZCS.

    Denson showed a great cross-section of his cinematography work, which was accompanied by some exciting previews and behind-the-scenes stills shots, showing very detailed technical set-ups. An informal atmosphere for relaxed discussion about his different creative approaches to the various projects and questions flowed from the audience.

    Of particular interest were some of Denson’s challenges. Such as shooting in real historical castles in the Czech Republic for Ophelia. Being a guest appearance as DP on Victoria, with an English crew who had settled into an established approach to lighting often-visited sets, which Denson didn’t necessarily feel the mandate to duplicate! Also, his varied visual approach to shooting the different mind states of Cliff Curtis in his lead role in The Dark Horse.

    The NZCS thanks accredited member Denson, for taking time out of his schedule to share, connect and discuss with members and friends. 


  • 26 Oct 2018 8:43 AM | Amber Wakefield (Administrator)

    Congratulations to all the nominees for this years NZCS Awards. It was a fantastic showcase of incredible work making us proud of the world-class industry we have all helped to create in little old New Zealand. Please see attached link to see the photographs from the night taken by White Door Event Photography. 


  • 31 Jul 2018 6:48 PM | Amber Wakefield (Administrator)

    This is a chance to see your images on a grand scale as a backdrop to New Zealand’s best Cinematographers. At the 2018 NZCS Cinematography Awards we will continue with the tradition of the Rosco Day/Night Backdrop. This year we are holding a competition for the best series of Day/Night photos.  

    It will be judged by Phil Greenstreet (Advanced Backdrop Technologies) , Lizz Vernon (Sydney Photographer) from Rosco and Guy Quartermain and Mark Lappwood from the NZCS. 

    The competition requires two photographs from the same locked off position, one taken during the day and one at night so that image can fade from day to night.  The subject is 'Auckland City Lights'. 

    In addition to the aesthetics of a good photograph, there should also be emphasis on what makes a good backdrop - it needs to look good (and realistic) through a window, doorway, or other aperture, or behind an actor, without stealing the scene. The photos must be a minimum of 30 megapixel resolution.

    The winner will receive two free tickets to the Awards and sit at the Rosco table.

    NZCS and Rosco reserves the right to use the photos as they see fit and the judge’s decision is final.  

    The competition closes on the 10th September 2018.

    Email your entries here

    Competition for NZCS members only.


  • 23 Jul 2018 9:12 AM | Amber Wakefield (Administrator)
    Richard Bluck and Paul Richards have announced they will not stand for the President and Vice President roles for the NZCS at the AGM on the 21 August. This is a great opportunity for Senior NZ Cinematographers to take on the helm of the NZCS, and drive the advancement of the art and craft of Cinematography in New Zealand.

    The role of the President is to:
    • Represent the society at engagements
    • Fact as media spokesperson
    • Report to the membership at each AGM
    • Ensure that the Rules are followed
    • Convence Meetings and set the agenda
    • Chair meeting, deciding who may speak and when
    • Oversee the operation of the Society

    The role of the Vice President is to:
    • Stand in for the President, by arrangement or when the president is unavailable.

    Like all members of the committee they are voluntary positions, but with tangible rewards in the form of leaving legacy for future Cinematographers. This is an exciting time for visual media, with many issues including the economics of our industry and gender equality in play. If you think the time has come to give back to your professional community, please contact us for more information.

    We also welcome all interest in joining the Committee - again this is a rewarding experience, offering a unique insight to both the broader Cinematographer world through our relationships with Imago, the ACS and the other overseas guilds, as well as insight to other NZ guilds.

    Committee members duties include:
    • Develop strategy 
    • Appoint sub-committees
    • Authorise operational budget and expenditure
    • Approve annual plan and budget
    • Approve project plans and budget
    • Publicly support NZCS awards, projects and events 

    The Committee has overall decision making responsibility for the NZCS – so if you join your vote will make a difference to the future focus of the society!

    For more information about the President or other roles, please get in touch.

    Kind regards,

    Amber Wakefield
    Executive Officer

  • 22 Jul 2018 9:42 AM | Amber Wakefield (Administrator)

    Marc Swadle is a cinematographer member of both he NZCS and the ACS. He is also one of our valued NZCS committee members.

    On the 14th of June, I jumped on a plane from London to Frankfurt with an invite from cine lens manufacturer CW Sonderoptic, for the launch of The Leitz-Park, in Wetzlar, Germany. 

    To celebrate the event, 1,200 guests, photographers, cinematographers and journalists were invited from all over the world to witness the inauguration and experience the completed park, and to take part in a weekend programme of talks, seminars, exhibitions, tours, concerts and hands on areas where you could try your hand at food, automotive, sport, wildlife, portrait, macro, and cinematic, photography.

    So what is the Leitz-Park?

    The Leitz-Park is (mind the pun) the focal point of Leitz/Leica: a complex that contains The Leica Museum and shop, company archives, photo studios, the factories for CW Sonderoptic/Leitz Cine Wetzlar, Via Optic, Uwe Weller, the Leica Camera AG headquarters, luxury hotel, restaurant and café.

    CW Sonderoptic – becomes – Leitz Cine Wetzlar!

    The change makes a bit more sense when you realise that ‘CW’ stands for ‘Cine Wetzlar’, and the business has moved into a brand new high tech facility.


    After the logo unveiling, I had a talk to Seth Emmons, Director of Communications, and Gerhard Baier, Managing Director, about the move and name change.

    Seth: ‘The building started 18 months ago when we broke ground, and here we are. The CW factory was based in Via Optic over the road, where we were for the last ten years – we just outgrew it. We did the move in a week, first production, then the office staff, and here we are!

    Gerhard: ‘Our rebranding to Leitz marks a natural evolution - until the late 80’s all Leica lenses carried the name ‘Ernst Leitz Wetzlar‘. Our new name carries the weight and responsibility of this heritage.’

    A recap on the company:

    CW Sonderoptic GmbH was founded in 2008 to design, manufacture and market Leica-branded cine lenses for film, television and commercial production.  
    The game-plan was to design and develop what became the Leica Summilux-C cine lenses, for them to be the most advanced cinema lenses yet created in regards to size, performance, mechanical precision, and optical characteristics. The first sets delivered in early 2012, and the following year they, began working on a new product line, the Leica Summicron-C cine lenses – which offer a smaller, lighter, and a top slower lens. 

    In 2015, underlining this development, and pursuit of quality, Iain Neil and André de Winter (optical and mechanical design, respectively) received technical Oscars for the Leica Summilux-C lenses from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.

    Leitz as a whole has a pretty cool history. A specialty microscope manufacturer since the mid-1800s, in 1914, in Wetzlar, the company invented the 35mm photography film which is the standard for stills photography, and the original compact photography camera. Some of the most iconic images in the world have been shot on Leica cameras – that of Che Guevara, the famous kiss of the sailor and nurse at the end of World War 2, and the harrowing Vietnam picture of the child napalm victim to name a few. 

    90% of what Leitz Camera (renamed from Leitz in the mid-1980s) makes is exported, and 1200 people work in the Leitz-Park optic industry cluster - which has a 2.8 billion euro turnover in the Wetzlar region – making not only cameras and lenses, but automotive sensors, and aeronautic, military and industrial products.

    The Launch Event

    To kick it all off, a Launch event was held in a giant purpose built marquee, on site, with many speakers from the company, government and local government.

    Wolfgang Kisselbach, managing director of Leitz-Park:
    ‘In order to make the possible emerge the impossible must be dreamed’

    Andreas Kaufmann Chairman of Leitz:
    'About the buildings style – quoting Goethe – Architecture is frozen music’.


    After the formalities we headed for the Leitz Cine Wetzlar hospitality area, which had all manner of goodies to sample (of the food/drink and camera/lens variety), where I found my old mates Louis-Phillipe Capelle SBC, Richard Andry AFC and Alfredo Altamirano AMC.

    We all then went off on a tour of the lens manufacturing facilities – a rare chance for us camera types to experience. 

    First up, Seth Emmon took us on a tour of the Sumilux plant.

    As we saw, all production elements happen in one room, that is totally sealed - it is a faster process to make lenses, and cleaner. The clean rooms have positive pressure.. so if a door is opened the air blows outwards.

    The question was asked – ‘How many lenses do you make a year?’ 

    Seth relates: ‘In the last year we’ve manufactured over 300 Thalia Lenses and more each of the Summilux-C and Summicron-C lenses. In the new factory our production output is near 20% improved and we’re still refining and improving it. To date we’ve produced nearly 3000 Summilux-C lenses and over 3000 Summicron-C lenses’.

    The lenses optics themselves are from Leica Camera, and Leica Portugal (where the M series of stills lenses are made). The Summilux-C lenses are individually focus tested on a 16 metre long bench – and the focus markings are dead accurate, and bespoke marked for each lens.

    We then crossed the road to Uwe Weller Feinwerktechnik - where the lens housings are made, and where taken on a tour by Michael Weller, Chief of Operations.

    Each lens is amazingly complex – there are 30 parts (none plastic!) in a 135mm Summilux (excluding glass) 80% of which is aluminium in various alloys – the outer alloy is optimised for anodising, other alloys come from the Aviation and Military worlds, and is stress tested and x-rayed before delivery.

    The factory is ultra-clean – the air is filtered, and every scrap of waste metal is carefully collected and recycled. I counted more than 40 CNC machines – each working to multiple passes, milling specific parts. Each machine can cost as much as 700K Euro, and will last at least 20 years on the job.
    Finally, we came to the engraving department – where they still do the classic deep milled engraving after the lens housing is anodised, then the markings are filled with paint, then the excess rubbed off with alcohol.

    After the tour, I have a much deeper appreciation for the lenses – the sheer quality that arises from taking the path to be the best.

    The weekend was a great one – I got to try other photographic disciplines, enjoyed the gallery and museum, had some great food, met Ed Lachman ASC, Guillermo Navarro ASC AMC and ASC President, Kees van Oostrum ASC, and photographer Bruce Davidson.


    A huge thanks for Seth and his team for making the weekend what is was – a model of German efficiency and hospitality.

    If any of you are in the Frankfurt area

    I definitely suggest taking the 40- minute trip to the Leitz-Park and immersing yourself in all things Leica at the Leica Experience Centre.

    Drop them a line on the link below to on in mailto:leicatour@leica-camera.com

    - Marc Swadel

  • 29 May 2018 7:36 PM | Amber Wakefield (Administrator)

    SWAG held two forums (in Auckland and Wellington) earlier in the year to reach out on a grass roots level with industry women. Below is a draft of proposed recommendations from Screen Women Action Group (SWAG) based on their findings.

    Part of their process has been to refine and collate all the feedback from the forums and consult with sexual harassment specialists and educators, to craft a comprehensive strategy to tackle the problem of sexual harassment in our industry. 

    At this stage the document is a draft and SWAG would like to reach out further for consultation and feedback. 

    This impacts us all - please take the time to read and offer feedback.  SWAG are asking for responses by the 11th June. 

    Email them directly to - screenwomensactiongroup@gmail.com

    SWAG Consultation final.pdf

  • 20 May 2018 2:48 PM | Amber Wakefield (Administrator)

    For the first time in NZ, ICA Colorist training classes at Rebel Fleet.

    These classes whilst run using DaVinci Resolve v15 are designed as an around colour class. That means great for DPs, DITs, Editors and all in one production companies.

    The there classes are designed to dovetail, so it is possible to take all three together. They also work as independent classes for each level.

    Your training machine, media and a number of different control surfaces and grading monitors will be supplied for the duration of the class. Students are encouraged to bring and discuss their problem material. The ICA welcomes class participation and they will try to tailor each class to their students needs.

    RG101 - Resolve for beginners, 11-12 June
    RG201 - Advanced Resolve Techniques, 13-14 June
    RG301 - Looks and Matching Masterlocks, 15-16 June


    20% DISCOUNT FOR NZCS MEMBERS

    For more booking information, please contact Pete Harrow 
    For further course information, including pricing click here
  • 09 May 2018 8:28 PM | Amber Wakefield (Administrator)

    Do you have questions about lighting and dollies that you always have wanted to ask… but just haven’t had the chance to? 

    Are there questions about the role and responsibilities of gaffers and grips? 

    Would you like some more insight into the things you’re asked to pay for?

    Well here is your opportunity!!

    WIFT and PLS have teamed up together for an upcoming workshop in Auckland.

    This  is an amazing opportunity to find out how to overcome the most common hurdles with lighting.

    It’s time to demystify lighting and dollies, which will help with your understanding and efficiency.

    It will be a workshop for technical crew, production assistants, production managers, producers and anyone else on set who wishes to increase their knowledge.

    Date: Wednesday 30th May

    Time: 6pm for 6.30pm start

    Venue: Professional Lighting Services, 66 Cook Street, Auckland CBD

    Fee: $15 for non WIFT members

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