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Guide to NZCS Awards Categories

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Note: Joint entries will not be accepted. If a project has more than one cinematographer then only the cinematographer who was totally responsible for the visual content and lighitng on entry may enter it, i.e. the Principal Cinematographer. The cinematography of others and details of their involvement must be provided, clearly highlighting their work by stating the relevant time codes or using on screen text/watermarks. EXCEPTIONS: In Category 9: Specialised cinematography & Experimental, entrants may enter specialised sections of cinematography e.g. underwater cinematography, aerial cinematography, wildlife sequence, etc. Cinematographers who have shot either the location or studio component ONLY and 2nd Unit directors may enter provided they have shot 100% of either the location or studio component and state clearly which components those are.

Student films

Productions filmed by entrants who were students at time of filming the entry. Each entrant is only allowed one entry in this category. 


Music videos

Musical or concert items shot for the purpose of entertainment or promotion.
  • Entrants should be responsible for lighting, particularly in the case of stage lighting. 


News and current affairs

News or current affairs stories or segments broadcast on regular television news or current affairs programs.
  • Enter a single story, segment, or episode.


Magazine, lifestyle and reality

Light entertainment human-interest productions or segments. For example: travel, leisure, gardening, property, cooking, entertainment, science, sports, arts and reality shows.
  • Enter a single story, segment, or episode.


Corporate and educational

Productions for a corporate or educational market designed to teach or inform. Includes longer online infomercials.  


Short films

Short dramatised productions.



Traditional documentary productions normally dealing with people in relation to their environment. Includes any full-length television, feature or web documentary.
  • In television documentary shows, enter only one episode, per entrant.
  • Current affairs segments that constitute the entire program should be entered in this category.


Dramatised documentaries

Documentaries based on real life situations where a majority of content is re-enactments of actual events that involve professional actors who are controlled by a director.


Specialised cinematography, Experimental & Installation

Specialised cinematography productions or sections of productions. For example, specialised micro-photography, macro photography, ultrahigh speed, underwater, aerial, specialised second unit sequences, or innovative techniques.
  • Entrants of specialised cinematography sections need not be the principal cinematographer for a production. A specialised cinematography entry may be a short sequence or include a number of shots intercut with other content. A montage of shots of that specialty from within a series of episodes is acceptable in this category.
  • Test footage and show reels are not eligible, as entries are based on a particular production.
  • Experimental productions, films that are intended primarily as artworks, architectural, installations and other non-traditional cinematography. Includes VR and 360 productions.



Commercials for national or international release. Entries must have been specifically shot for this purpose and not repurposed from other material.
  • Includes all distribution channels including online.
  • Includes  promos, TV station IDs.
  • CGI or computer manipulation must be clearly identified in media submission.



An episode from a drama series made for TV broadcast, subscription service or web.
  • For a season enter a single episode where you were the DP.



A non-theatrical one-off drama production made for broadcast TV or subscription release.



Feature productions intended for national or international theatrical release. 

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