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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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  • 18 May 2017 2:36 PM | Peter Parnham (Administrator)

    The NZCS Camera Pathways programme is entering a new phase which will make it much easier for the camera community to use. The expanded and relaunched program will be partnering with invited film schools and sponsors.

    Camera Pathways has been set up to provide the answer to the question asked by so many film school graduates - 'how do I get started in the freelance industry?'

    The need for Camera Pathways arose because despite the ease with which somebody can get a camera and begin to shoot, it has never been harder to get a foothold in the camera department in the professional screen industry, particularly for women and minorities.

    Camera Pathways is a way of finding camera department trainees from a pool of new entrants who are committed to a career in camera.

    The program helps launch the careers of the best new camera talent, whatever their gender or ethnic background.  

    Camera Pathways participants are recommended by film schools or apply to join the programme, and as they gain experience, they build a list of referees.

    If you are a camera assistant, director of photography, production manager, or anyone else looking for camera crew volunteers, trainees, or entry-level crew, you no longer have to wade through half remembered, unsolicited CVs, or wonder how to find someone to help.

    Now you can search the Camera Pathways directory for suitable talent in your area and quickly and easily give the most likely candidate a call, and call their referees.

    If you do engage a volunteer to help with your project in return you can agree to act as a referee for them – so long as you are comfortable.  If asked about the trainee by a potential employer you are free to give an honest opinion. 

    Search the Camera Pathways Directory

    How to get started

    Camera Pathways FAQ

    Things you should know

  • 16 May 2017 2:21 PM | Peter Parnham (Administrator)

    The difference in the way that 35 mm lenses and 65 mm lenses look was highlighted at an NZCS lens event hosted by NZCS silver sponsors Imagezone in early May.

    A good number of NZCS members and friends watched footage from the new Leica Thalia lenses which cover the large image circle of the Alexa 65, leaving a generous margin to cover the new Red Vista Vision size sensors.

    Rainer Hercher from Germany and Osamu Tsukada from Japan represented CW Sonderoptics, the makers of Leica cine lenses. They arrived in New Zealand after attending NAB 2017.

    Side by side comparison of 35 mm and 65 mm footage with a similar field of view highlighted the difference in look between the formats, in particular the more noticeable focus drop off on the larger sensor footage, thanks to the longer focal lengths required for the equivalent field of view. 

    Hercher says the new range of Thalia lenses share the same skin texture as the Summilux series of  lenses and hark back to vintage designs with a slight focus plane curve which makes the image pop because it is more consistent with the way the humans vision works. 

    A dramatic defining characteristic is the circular iris of the Thalia lenses, which throws circular flares and bokeh, quite different effect from other lenses.   

    The lenses are compact for 65 mm lenses, which in this case represents a trade off against high speed.  This is practical thanks to the speed of modern sensors, says the company.   

    The highlight of the presentation was a painterly camera test shot by Darius Konji on an Alexa 65 mm that showed off the capabilities of the new lenses.   

    The event rounded off with socialising, discussion, and an opportunity to look at new equipment at Imagezone, including newly acquired lens calibration equipment.

  • 21 Apr 2017 3:40 PM | Peter Parnham (Administrator)

    From 1 April 2017, the way contractors pay their taxes changed, giving greater choice and making it easier to get tax right.

    This is an expansion of existing on schedular payments which is the name the tax department uses for payment to contractors like crew that will be subject to withholding tax.

    Contractors already under schedular payment rules must complete the new tax rate notification form (IR330C) when you start any new job on or after 1 April 2017.

    Tax rate notification for contractors form (IR330C) (external link) — Inland Revenue

    On this form, you pick the rate you would like tax to be deducted at. New Zealand tax residents can pick any rate from 10% up to 100%. If you want to change your current tax rate, complete this form and give it to your payer so they can make the changes.

    Tax rate estimation tool for contractors — Inland Revenue 

    This information has been sourced from the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment.

  • 02 Mar 2017 9:40 AM | Peter Parnham (Administrator)

    Staunch corporate members and equipment dealer Photogear are opening a new store in Ponsonby on 6 March 2017. The store is the second Auckland store for the company, who also have a store on Constellation drive on the North Shore.  

    Staunch corporate members and equipment dealer Photogear are opening a new store in Ponsonby on Monday 6 March 2017. The store is the second Auckland store for the company, who also have a store on Constellation drive on the North Shore.  

    "We are coming into town to save city customers the drive across the bridge," says founder Jay Zhou.  "Now they can simply drop in whenever they are in the area." 

    The new store is located at 49 Mackelvie Street, Ponsonby, and Jay Zhou says doors open on Monday 6 March at 9:30 with a selection of grand opening specials and parking on site.

  • 13 Feb 2017 1:37 PM | Peter Parnham (Administrator)

    Congratulations to NZCS member Aaron Morton NZCS who has again been nominated for Best Photography in a Drama Program or Series in the 2017 Canadian Screen Awards. A win would mean a four year winning streak for him and for the series Orphan Black which began in 2013. The series follows the story of a streetwise hustler who is pulled into a compelling conspiracy after witnessing her doppelganger's suicide. 

    This year's nomination is for the episode entitled From Dancing Mice to Psycopaths while at last year's NZCS Awards for Cinematography Morton picked up a gold for the Season 3 Orphan Black episode entitled Certain Agony of the Battlefield.

    The Canadian Screen Awards winners will be announced on 12 March.

  • 31 Jan 2017 3:46 PM | Peter Parnham (Administrator)
    One evening recently, after shooting had finished for the day, NZCS members and guests received rare insights into cinematography on Shortland Street.

    Cinematographer Simon Tutty

    One evening recently, after shooting had finished for the day, NZCS members and guests received rare insights into cinematography on Shortland Street. The NZCS event was held within the actual Shortland street set, once everyone had signed their non-disclosure form. 

    In a conversation enlivened by lots of detailed questions from the audience, Simon Tutty, one of the directors of photography, and Dylan Reeve, post production supervisor, explained how, with the crew’s help, they shoot about 120 minutes of broadcast television per week. It is a relentless schedule that sees them limited to around three weeks off Christmas.

    But as Simon Tutty pointed out, the sheer amount of time spent in a three-camera dance with pedestals and a steadicam means that the motor and craft skills of the crew get to be pretty good, making it an ideal training ground for new camera crew.

    A script was circulated so that the audience could see the starting point, and Dylan Reeve (pictured) played a number of clips to illustrate and explain the final product. He also contrasted two before-and-after scenes that showed the marked improvement in look created by introducing Panasonic VariCam 35 cameras and Canon zooms last year.  The more more cinematic perspective provided by the sensor was immediately obvious, but also less light is required, and they have the option of off-speed shooting without any additional equipment.

    This was amply demonstrated with a slow-motion clip showing a patient’s admission and treatment in the ED department. 

    Using cinematography like this to tell the story rather than spelling out everything in dialogue is something Tutty expects to offer directors more of in future as he explores ways to keep the show fresh – despite the relentless schedule.

    Dylan Reeve (L) and Simon Tutty answering questions on the Shortland Street Set

  • 31 Jan 2017 1:30 PM | Peter Parnham (Administrator)

    Time to offer our congratulations to NZCS Platinum sponsor ARRI who have reached the amazing 100-year milestone.    

    2017 marks 100 years since August Arnold and Robert Richter rented a small former shoemaker’s store in Munich and set up shop as a film technology firm. The two young friends started with just one product: a copying machine they built on a lathe Richter had received as a Christmas present from his parents. Taking the first two letters of their surnames, they christened their new enterprise ARRI.

    In Sydney, Australian GM Brett Smith (pictured) who joined ARRI last year says the company has just celebrated a record year in camera and lighting. 

    "That success has not been achieved by chance," he says. 

    When the company was founded the partners were teenagers too young to to sign the incorporation documents. Executive board member Dr Jorg Pohlman says first and foremost the pair were film enthusiasts, driven by a love for visual storytelling and technology. 

    "If you walk around ARRI today you’ll see that same enthusiasm and passion – it defines who we are and what we do.” 

    Full release

  • 17 Jan 2017 10:33 AM | Peter Parnham (Administrator)

    The NZCS website has been upgraded to the same level of security as major website like banks and major retailers. 

    The NZCS website has been upgraded to the same level of security as major website like banks and major retailers.

    Previously the site only encrypted pages where data was entered. Now, as soon as you reach the site it invokes https, a communication protocol that secures all communication between the site and the browser or mobile device. 

    While there was no unusual risk with the past approach, from this year Google's popular Chrome browser will display warning messages for sites that do not use https.

  • 05 Jan 2017 4:32 PM | Peter Parnham (Administrator)
    Hunt for the WilderpeopleNZCS members feature prominently in the nominees list for the 2017 Rialto Channel New Zealand Film Awards (AKA the Moas) to be held in February.

    Photo: Hunt for the Wilderpeople: Shot by NZCS member Lachlan Milne ACS

    NZCS members feature prominently in the nominees list for the 2017 Rialto Channel New Zealand Film Awards (AKA the Moas) to be held in February.

    Up for the Rialto Channel Best Film are Hunt for the Wilderpeople shot by Lachlan Milne ACS, Mahana Shot by NZCS Cinematographer of the Year Ginny Loane, and The Rehearsal shot by Andrew Commis ACS.

    Nominees for NZOnAir Best Television Feature include How to Murder Your Wife shot by Richard Bluck NZCS, while Ginny Loane shot Jean, which was also nominated for this category.

    Image Zone Best Cinematography NZCS member nominees are Simon Raby for Deathgasm, Lachlan Milne ACS for Hunt for the Wilderpeople, Ginny Loane for Mahana, and Waka Attewell/Alun Bollinger for The Great Maiden's Blush.

    Nominees for PLS Best Documentary Cinematography include NZCS members Jacob Bryant for A Flickering Truth, Mathew Knight for Belief: The Possession of Janet Moses, Jacob Bryant for Chasing Great, Adam Luxton jointly credited for On an Unknown Beach, Christopher Pryor for The Ground We Won, and Dominic Fryer for Tickled.

    Meanwhile, corporate members Halcyon Digital and Park Road Post have been nominated for the contribution to Deathgasm, and WETA Digital for Hunt for the Wilderpoeple.

  • 16 Dec 2016 5:39 PM | Peter Parnham (Administrator)

    When you travel by air with film or video equipment there are restrictions on dangerous goods including the lithium batteries that you will almost certainly be taking with you. 

    The most well-known restriction on lithium batteries is that you must not put loose or spare batteries in checked-in baggage.

    Here is the official Air New Zealand policy about travelling with lithium batteries updated for 2017. It has a handy table to help you decide what is acceptable. It can be helpful to carry a printed copy with you in case you encounter check–in staff are not fully up to speed.

    Air New Zealand, like many airlines, also has a guide on their website. This website guide also warns that your batteries should have the original manufacturers labels on them that show capacity or lithium content.

    More detailed documentation from airlines sometimes refers to a requirement that batteries and cells must be of a 'type proven to meet the requirements of the UN manual of tests and criteria'. Reputable manufacturers have certificates showing that their batteries meet this criteria. They can usually be found by a Google search for '[Insert manufacturer] batteries proven to meet the requirements of the UN manual of tests and criteria'

    It's important that we all comply with these restrictions, they may seem like a nuisance but they are there to keep us all safe.


    IATA document Lithium Battery Guidance Document Revised 9 March 2016

    Lithium batteries for film Crews 2017.pdf

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