It was almost a year ago that I arrived back in my home town of Auckland to begin prep on THE LUMINARIES, and my goodness what a year it has been.
6 hours of prestige television with some fantastic cast and creatives that were flown in from all around the world and some absolutely wonderful A-class homegrown talent. We had a jam packed schedule that had us shooting all over the country, from the tin sheds of Penrose to the rolling hills of Jonkers Farm, Bethels, Muriwai and Tawharanui beaches, Whangaroa harbor, then to the South Island for Hokitika, Lake Kaniere and the Southern Alps.
We had a fabulous team that included many NZCS members, Kieran Fowler NZCS ACS, Dana Little and myself fulfilled the roles of camera operators for the bulk of principal photography, with some rock star appearances from David Paul NZCS & Todd Bilton, additional photography was in the safe hands and eyes of both Kieran Fowler NZSC and John “JC” Cavill NZCS whom both did a superb job. The AC’s were made up of the absolutely solid team of Peter Cunningham, Sam Matthews, Declan Cooke, Niki Winer & Jack Vincent and with special appearances by Dave Hammond and Stefan Coetzee among many others.
ImageZone provided us with a fantastic and flawless camera package that comprised of 3x Alexa Minis with 3 sets of Cooke Anamorphic primes. And FAT Lighting provided painterly and atmospheric illumination often at a huge scale for some massive night exteriors and big VFX set pieces, Sam Jellie ran a tight ship. Terry Joosten headed the grips team and The Rebel Fleet handled all our data with great care and attention to detail.
It was an ambitious project with a very challenging schedule. We made it to the end gracefully and hopefully with some beautiful and special cinematography to show for it. Thanks to the team!
The series will be broadcast on BBC Two in the UK and TVNZ1 in New Zealand. Produced by Working Title Television and Southern Light Films, it is being adapted for the screen by novelist Eleanor Catton and director Claire McCarthy (Ophelia, The Waiting City).
~ Denson Baker NZCS ACS