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Chinese film market requesting NZ Cinematographers

10 Apr 2019 2:34 PM | Amber Wakefield (Administrator)

Video marketing in China has been growing exponentially in recent years. In 2018, the budget to air & market TVCs, advertising on public elevators, bus and taxi screens, outdoor screens, cinemas and Internet video platforms (digital platforms) ranged from 9.4 per cent to 26.6 per cent, with significant increases. There has also been a significant increase in the number of views of digital films created for the purpose of marketing and TVCs, both setting new viewership records.

So how can local brands create new, interesting and visually great content for this fast growing space? How do they ensure that their content stands out from the crowd? There is a growing number of production houses and agencies who believe that there is a need for fresh new eyes from the western world to bring some new visual thinking into China’s local advertising space.

In our two years of interacting with various production houses in china, we have frequently been asked whether New Zealand's advertising photographers, directors and other technical crew could be made available for work in China. The local producers understand that the technical proficiency of western crew plays a crucial role in making a good film and overall production quality. 

International DoPs, Directors and technical crew bring a new, fresh & unique value to Chinese production. The Chinese industry has not only embraced international talent and learnt from them but have ensured that they are paid according to their local fees back home, in this case New Zealand. In certain instances and challenging projects DoPs and Directors are paid a lot more than what they get paid back home.

Chinese advertising companies are increasingly looking for locations overseas to give viewers a different visual feel, especially in countries like New Zealand, where the scenery is unique and pure. Ki Studio works exclusively with the Chinese market and has relationships with over 50 production houses. Having worked on over several projects in the last 2 years we see that 70% productions bring their DoPs and Directors from China but the remaining 30% look for local crew which can range from DoPs to 1st, 2nd & 3rd ACs. With projects related to TVCs we also always look for focus pullers and other crew that fall under the DoPs team.

With rules & regulations related to drones tightening across New Zealand we now push clients coming from China to hire local drone operators, especially if areas that we need to film at require lvl 3 operators.

Ki Studio has spent a lot of time and effort in understanding the Chinese market and worked closely with them over the last 2+ years. Thanks to our efforts and those of some other institutions, the Chinese market is constantly learning about film makers of New Zealand and New Zealand as a destination for filming. In the past two years, we have received requests by several producers from China asking us for showreels of Cinematographer who specialise in TVCs and documentaries - both for projects coming into New Zealand and for local projects being filmed in China.  There is also an increased demand for feature film DoPs in the last 12 months. 

Going to work on projects in China is challenging as there is a language barrier and sometimes the local crew in China do things very differently than what we do here. Jump past the hurdles and you will absolutely love being a DoP in China - You get pampered, You have a camera crew on sets which at times can be bigger than a complete film crew in New Zealand, amazing food and an explosion of culture.  

What we have noticed over the last 2 years is that Chinese crews love working with kiwi crew. They understand that we are not just highly professional and technically good but every crew member has multiple talents which is not always the case with Chinese crew. 

We would like to take this opportunity to reach out to the cinematographers community and wish we can work and represent a few of you in China. We would put a lot of effort in promoting your showreel across production houses in Mainland China, Hongkong & Taiwan. We request interested DoPs to kindly contact us on

We would also like to hear from DoPs, 1st, 2nd & 3rd Acs who would like to share their showreels with us for future projects from China that come to film in New Zealand. Thank you.

~ Darshan Shetty, CEO Ki Studio

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