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