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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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  • We have some fantastic events coming up, but no confirmed dates yet - watch this space.
  • 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

    - 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 -

    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


    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

  • 14 Apr 2018 12:12 PM | Amber Wakefield (Administrator)

    Isn’t it great that ARRI are holding some training sessions in Auckland!!

    Even better they’re offering a 10% discount for NZCS members!!

    The senior trainer from ARRI will be travelling from Munich for two Certified User Training sessions in April/May. They're offering a two day workshop on Camera Systems and a one day workshop on their Electronic Control System.

    Limited to 12 participants, each course will enhance your knowledge of topics such as exposure for HDR and carrying metadata from pre-production into post. Whether you're an industry professional looking for a refresher on new technologies or a camera assistant looking to step up in the industry, these courses will extend your skill-set and give you confidence in your abilities.

    Please email me on for the discount code (NZCS members only).

  • 14 Mar 2018 12:54 PM | Peter Parnham (Administrator)

    Cinematographer and NZCS member Ginny Loane sat on the panel at recent Screen Women's Action Group (SWAG) forums held in Auckland and Wellington. 

    She says the results of the SWAG screen industry survey were disturbing to say the least. The survey revealed 66 per cent have encountered some form of sexual harassment in the workplace.

    "However, I know that there are a heap lovely of men in our industry who don’t want it to be like this and to a certain extent have felt helpless to do anything about it," added Loane.

    She asks that we all take the time to watch these two TED talks to work out how we can intervene and help stop this behaviour on set.

    Bold, blunt TED talk from Jackson Katz.

    Tony Porter makes a TED call to men everywhere: Break free of the man box. 

  • 26 Feb 2018 12:53 PM | Peter Parnham (Administrator)

    Here is a copy of the Air NZ updated 2018 lithium battery document. This memo now includes a limit of 20 spare batteries.

    Download PDF Memo

    IATA Lithium Battery Guidance 2017

  • 24 Feb 2018 11:05 AM | Peter Parnham (Administrator)

    Prior to their forums in Auckland and Wellington,The Screen Women's Action Group (SWAG) asked guilds for a paragraph on what they have done to date about this issue. Here's what NZCS put forward:

    "NZCS believes that discrimination, bullying, and any form of harassment in the screen industry should be addressed and supports industry-wide initiatives in this area. To date NZCS has put its weight behind the proposed combined guilds code of ethics in the screen industry which we anticipate will cover these topics and the work of ScreenSafe in this area. 

    NZCS recognises that NZ cinematography, like overseas cinematography is currently gender imbalanced and this year is stepping up the Camera Pathways programme to help address this issue by attracting more women into cinematography."

    We are pleased that one of our highly respected cinematographers, Ginny Loane is on the panel at the SWAG forum in Auckland, and at least two of our women committee members have indicated they also will be attending, so NZCS will be well represented.

  • 16 Feb 2018 4:55 PM | Peter Parnham (Administrator)

    By Marc Swadel – NZCS Committee member and ACS cinematographer member

    It was midday on a cold February when I arrived at the Battersea Evolution Events Centre, clutching my invitation to the British Society of Cinematographers or BSC Expo opening luncheon. Film industry overload greeted me. The Techno Crane and Panavision Scorpio rig were duelling outside, while in the main hall there was the sheer crush of numbers, created by the intensity and the noise of hundreds of exhibitors and thousands of punters.

    New Camera Unveiled

    At the BSC luncheon, ARRI unveiled their newest camera – the new Alexa LF (large format) camera with 4.5K sensor size midway between the Alexa SXT sensor and the Alexa 65.

    I had a talk with Stephan Shenk, Managing Director of ARRI Cine Technik, about the camera. Stephan called it Netflix ready, thanks to it being a true 4K camera, and told me it has its own new lens mount – the LPL mount which is 62 mm in diameter and 44 mm in flange focal depth.

    ARRI are also releasing their own brand of large format lenses for this mount called the Signature Primes. I had a look at the 24 and 35 mm f1.8 lenses – they were fantastic, and light too.

    The wider, deeper neck of the LPL mount gives the ability to place filters at the rear of the lens, in front of the sensor. ARRI also offers a LPL to PL adapter – so regular PL mount lenses can also be used. The sensor is 36.7 mm x 25.54 mm which is significantly larger than super 35 so to use PL lenses for an UHD shoot you can either crop the frame in post, or use a couple of Signature Primes at the wide end and PL lenses at longer focal lengths where they have the coverage.

    The camera records ProRes, accepts SxS pro cards as well as SXR drives.

    There are only four prototypes of the camera in existence – but ARRI are sure of a March 2018 roll out, and, unlike the rental- only system of the ARRI 65, it will be sold through chosen retailers.


    Wearing my ACS hat, I joined with Nigel Walters BSC to present Peter Hannan ACS BSC with a Lifetime Member Award on behalf of Ron Johanson and the ACS.

    Marc Swadel, Peter Hannan, Nigel Walters

    Peter is a legend – an Academy and BAFTA Award winner, Peter started out working on 2001: A Space Odyssey and has shot features such as Withnail and I, The Meaning of Life, Insignificance, and second unit on Sleepy Hollow, Children of Men and Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban.

    Peter told some great stories of working with Stanley Kubrick, and how he and a load of other camera department guys were not listed in the screen credits as they got bumped for more important American executive producer names in the final reel – which was apparently the catalyst for Kubrick to demand 100 per cent control of his future films.

    Back down on the expo floor, after 40 minutes of trying to find him in the mayhem, I met up with NZ born DP Aaron Scott, who left NZ over 25 years ago, going first to Australia, and then to the UK where he became the Head of Camera for Sky Sports before going freelance. His dad is old time DP Don Scott, who started in the 1960s and was a founding member of the NZSC – the forerunner of NZCS.

    We spent the afternoon wandering around, checking stuff out.


    It was intense and international. I heard Dutch, German, Spanish, French, and Italian spoken amongst the throng. My friend Alex Linden FSF was there as part of crew to both film and write about the BSC Expo for the Swedish market, and I would say 30 per cent of attendees were from outside the UK.

    It was also a young crowd with loads of enthusiasm. I talked with Chris Nguyen, an aspiring young DP who moved to London to further his career. Chris wangled himself in as the BSC photographers’ camera assistant and loved every minute he had access, telling me how he was blown away by the amount of talent in the room at the BSC luncheon. I also talked with Joe Armstrong, who, after gaining his MA in English, went back to study film, and was down for the weekend from Leeds, to check gear and make contacts.

    I chatted with Allessandro Olivieri, a young film school grad who had recently moved from Italy to London - who bought his girlfriend along to the BSC Expo on a date, which she was enjoying. (She’s a keeper that one, mate!).

    BSC Expo History

    I also interviewed Audra Marshall, the BSC Company Secretary and got the backstory about the show.

    She said it was a new initiative in 1993, inspired by Joe Dunton. It was the Society’s first Equipment Show, which featured the latest innovations from camera and lighting companies. Initially held at Shepperton, it was to prove so popular that further exhibitions were held in subsequent years at Pinewood, Mister Lighting and Grip House, Dukes Island, and at Elstree Studios for many years.

    The show grew enormously over the years and Rob Saunders of SCS Exhibitions came on board to lend it a more professional look. It is now entitled the BSC Expo and held annually. Historically it was held on Studio Stages, more recently at Pinewood and Leavesden. In 2016 as there was no studio space available and it moved to Battersea Evolution in Battersea Park, which proved such a success for ease of access, that future years are planned there also, allowing the organisers to plan well in advance.

    When I commented that this year appears even more popular than last year she told me there were 5500 visitors up from last year’s 4051 visitors.

    “We have had people from all over the world fly over, including members of Cameraimage, Imago, ASC members and a strong number of European Cinematographers. We are delighted that some of our Patrons such as ARRI and Panavision are choosing to announce their new technology at home here in the UK with their British Society family,” she said.

    Great show

    In conclusion this was a truly great show, and the attendance underlines how popular all things camera have become over the last decade – the HDSLR camera revolution sparked off a lot of interest and enthusiasm for what we do, and the sheer numbers attest to this. I would almost say it was a celebratory atmosphere this year, which is well deserved for such a well thought out and put together show – top marks to the BSC!

    - Marc Swadel

  • 12 Feb 2018 10:41 AM | Peter Parnham (Administrator)

    This month's IMAGO newsletter has lots of interest stuff from a teaching survey to safety, engagement terms, and international event dates:

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