Upcoming events

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  • 11 Jul 2024 5:39 PM | Amber Wakefield (Administrator)

    June was a busy month for NZCS Professional Development. We currently have four interns under our Gender, Diversity and Inclusion programs on set and Bharati Sonu is about to start as DP intern on feature film “Backpack”. 

    The very good news is that the NZ Film Commission has approved another year of funding for our Gender Diversity Intern Program so this will take us through to June 2025 with an estimated seven new placements available in the coming year, and three still to place from our 2023/24 funding. 

    We’ve successfully held two one-day workshops/masterclasses in June - An Introduction to Cinematography for Drama with Waikato Screen in Hamilton, tutored by Donny Duncan NZCS and well attended by over 20 participants.

    Our Gimbal Workshop with Jono Drew at Panavision in Auckland was also a great success with 23 participants from all levels of experience and background.  Many thanks to our tutors Jono Drew, Michael Paletta, Will Prosor, Levi Keddy and Ainsley Calderwood who ensured everyone was kept busy and had the chance to demo a variety of different rigs, and Panavisoon for supplying a venue and camera gear. 

    ~ Donny Duncan NZCS

  • 08 Jul 2024 1:35 PM | Amber Wakefield (Administrator)

    In memory of Chris McKenzie

    Known for his calm demeanour, witty humour, and unparalleled skills in lighting, Chris embarked on a distinguished film lighting career that began in Wellington in the late 1960s.

    Over five decades, he mastered the art of being a great Gaffer, contributing to numerous iconic productions in New Zealand and Australia. Chris was not just a master of his craft but also a mentor and supporter to countless camera crews, serving as the face of PLS (Professional Lighting Services) for over 35 years.

    In 2023, Chris retired to the Nelson region, closing a remarkable chapter in his career. His dedication to our society and the wider camera community was unparalleled. Chris generously offered his time, wisdom, and essential equipment to enrich the work of cinematographers across New Zealand. His contributions went beyond sponsorship; they were a testament to his unwavering commitment and passion for cinematography.

    Chris was known for his support of film students, emerging cinematographers, and professionals on tight budgets, often providing generous discounts from PLS on lighting and grip equipment for short films, music videos, and passion projects that demonstrated genuine filmmaking potential.

    From the inception of NZCS to the establishment of our annual Awards, Chris's support remained unwavering. He played a pivotal role in shaping our community, providing invaluable advice and dedicated efforts through PLS. His kindness and humour brightened every interaction, leaving an indelible mark on all who had the privilege of working with him.

    We extend our deepest sympathies to Chris's family, friends, the PLS team, and everyone whose life he touched. His legacy will forever be cherished within the NZCS community.

  • 03 May 2024 6:23 AM | Amber Wakefield (Administrator)

    PHOTO: Selfie taken by Kelly Chen, with international cinematographer Carlos Gonzáles, SVC, during her placement as DP intern on 'Zombies 4: Day & Night’

    DP intern, Kelly Chen, has completed her 4 week mentorship with DP Carlos Gonzalez SVC on “Zombie 4: Day and Night” under the Gender Diversity Program and reports an extremely valuable experience where she gained awesome insights into big-scale setups and equipment, which are often hard to come by on low-budget productions. 

    NZCS is pleased to report that two candidates have been chosen for our intern placements on “Spartacus House of Ashur,” TV series, under our new Diversity and Inclusion program, aimed at those from under-represented communities.

    The camera trainee intern role went to Grace Jamieson, who recently graduated from Youbee Colleges, South Seas Film School and who qualifies as a member of the neuro-diverse community. The mid-career, DP intern role was awarded to Ben Marr (Ngai Tūhoe, Ngāti Rangitihi, Te Whānau a Apanui) who is a Rotorua based cinematographer  of Maori ethnicity.

    The competition for these roles was very intense and Grace and Ben are stoked to be given the opportunity to join the production with the assistance of the NZCS, the NZ Film Commission and Spartacus Productions NZ Ltd, and are both well into the shoot gaining valuable experience.

    Another 15 day DP internship on “Spartacus House of Ashur” has gone to Nina Wells, under the Gender Diversity Program, where she will be mentored by DP Andrew McGeorge, commencing late June.

    We’ve also awarded an internship to Paris Manning, who has already started as Camera Trainee on the TV series “Red Rocks”  in Wellington, under the tutelage of 1st AC Garth Michael.

    The most recent of our 2024 internships has gone to Sofi Isaak-Zade, who will take on a hybrid role as 1st AC/2nd Cam operator on 6-part doco series,  “Fangirl Revolution” with DP Daniela (Nani) Conforte.

    We are currently advertising a DP intern position in Auckland on feature film “Backpack” with DP Jeff Cutter,

  • 26 Mar 2024 1:50 PM | Amber Wakefield (Administrator)

    On Thursday, March 21st, NZCS hosted an event with Carlos González SVC, a Venezuelan cinematographer and director based in Los Angeles, who is in New Zealand to film 'Zombies 4: Day and Night'.  

    Carlos shared his expertise and perspectives on the director-cinematographer relationship with Donny Duncan NZCS and those attending at the Dept of Post in Auckland.

    Carlos expressed a range of personal experiences about the director/cinematographer relationship and showed some beautiful work. He shared insights on how he achieved various looks and pearls of wisdom about what not to do and what's helpful when relating with directors and crew as a cinematographer.  

    It was a great event, and we recorded it so you can watch it later on our website when it's ready. 



  • 01 Feb 2024 7:57 AM | Amber Wakefield (Administrator)

    Bailey Mitchinson, NZCS camera trainee on 'The Power of the Dog' (Credit: Nick Willoughby)

    The NZCS recently received an additional grant from the New Zealand Film Commission Strategic Training Program to subsidise paid interns from under-represented groups on productions, for placements from 3 to 5 weeks in duration. 

    We are actively seeking partnerships with production companies and cinematographers who would like to be part of this program and offer positions on their upcoming shows. Our existing Gender Diversity program, over the past three years, has seen 20 women placed on films for a total of 300 days of on-set experience in either camera trainee roles or observational mid-career DP roles.

    This year we have launched a tandem pilot program to accommodate other groups under-represented in camera , based on ethnicity, disability or neuro-diversity (regardless of gender).

    If you are a producer and would like more information on how to support this program by offering subsidised placements, please contact the NZCS Professional Development Manager Donny Duncan on pd@nzcine.com.  

    If you are interested in applying for a camera trainee or DP intern position, please look out for e-mail announcements from the NZCS when we have some positions lined up. We are currently in negotiation for several upcoming traineeships and will be calling for applications shortly. We hope to offer around 8 positions between now and June 2024.   

  • 20 Oct 2023 8:20 AM | Amber Wakefield (Administrator)

    Dave Garbett gave a great talk at Department of Post recently about his work on Sweet Tooth with his Gaffer Giles Coburn and Bayley Broome-Peake facilitating.

    It was a really informative event for members with Dave sharing many behind the scenes images and clips.

    He talked about the mechanics of his lighting approach, complex gimbal moves and the challenges of working with LED walls on set. We were also particularly impressed with the cable car sequence and how all that was done in the studio against the LED walls using moving drone shot backgrounds. It provided a great example of the time and cost saving of that technology.

    We gained insights into his varied and innovative approach with Dave sharing in his humble down to earth way, fielding questions from the floor as the evening unfolded.

    Thanks Dave for sharing! 

  • 11 Oct 2023 2:18 PM | Amber Wakefield (Administrator)

    Jared Jones, NZCS Emerging Cinematographer of the Year 2023, used his $2,000 cash grant to attend a recent ACS masterclass in Los Angeles and shares his experience.

    The ASC masterclass was an extraordinary educational journey. Over the span of five days, I acquired a wealth of technical knowledge and a deeper comprehension of the intricate dynamics between the Director of Photography (DP), the director, and other key heads of departments, both during pre-production and on-set.

    The most invaluable resource, however, was the presence of ASC Ambassadors—members responsible for many of the beloved films and shows we admire. They graced us daily with their presence, patiently and knowledgeably addressing our queries. Their unwavering support for us students was truly remarkable. The entire atmosphere, whether from ASC members, vendors, or support staff, radiated a sense of community and a shared passion for passing on knowledge to the next generation, fostering the growth of this artistic craft. 

    The classes were varied with 2 theory days which comprised of a 4 hour in depth look at lenses and their inner workings, a lesson on the history of cinematography, a discussion about agents and a panel about “the political minefield of cinematography” which also delved into work life balance and other important outlying aspects of the job.

    Three of the days were practical lighting demonstrations from renowned cinematographers Michael Goi ASC, David Stockton ASC and Alice Brooks ASC. I got to observe how they lit a studio environment for both day and night INT and how they worked with directors, production designers and their G&E teams. Additionally, us students had the opportunity to light and shoot our own shots in a sequence as well. 

    To delve into the specifics of what I learned at the class would require a lot more real estate, but I was inspired by the culture at the ASC clubhouse of wanting to share knowledge and build a creative community of cinematographers, so if anyone would like to know more about what I learned there please reach out and I’d be happy to provide more details.

    I am deeply grateful for this opportunity, returning to New Zealand with renewed determination to pursue a career in cinematography, eager to apply the knowledge I gained during these transformative five days.

    ~ Jared Jones

  • 12 Sep 2023 6:47 AM | Amber Wakefield (Administrator)

    Archer Roelants as temporary stand-in for lighting setup. Photo credit: Michael Paletta

    As part of the 2023 Professional Development program the NZCS ran a long-awaited Masterclass on LUT (Look Up Table) Building for Cinematographers in collaboration with The Rebel Fleet and Metro Camera Rentals at their Auckland base.  

    Dave Cameron, NZCS ACS tutored from the cinematographer’s perspective, and Pete Harrow, technical director at Rebel Fleet gave an extensive presentation from the colourist’s point of view and a practical demonstration of the DIT/Colourist role in setting up for a shoot and designing specific LUTS for a project.

    The course was limited to 10 participants, so everyone got a good chance to access monitors and be interactive with the process. There was a good mix of experienced cinematographers, DIT technicians and post production representatives. More than 20 people applied for places on the course, so its planned to hold another Masterclass in the next few months for those who missed out first time around.

    Dave Cameron NZCS ACS demos his process to the assembled group. Photo credit Michael Paletta

    The day began with a powerpoint and technical overview of the whole LUT process by Pete Harrow. Dave Cameron then talked of his approach to pre-production and camera testing and showed clips of some of his previous set-ups and explained the why and the how of LUT creation for a specific show.

    Dave Cameron NZCS, ACS with Pete Whittaker, Murray Milne NZCS and Peter McCaffrey.
    Photo Credit: Michael Paletta

    The afternoon was a move downstairs to Metro Films to a pre-lit set with stand-in, where test footage was shot on an Arri Alexa 35 with a comprehensive collection of textures and light sources to emulate a real environment.  Side by side monitors displayed LogC, Rec 709 and applied LUT versions and various options were explored to arrive at a final product, including Day and Night Interior scenes.

    Footage was then taken in the system to demonstrate how the LUT integrates into the post workflow and can be used to link to the final grading session.

    Pete Harrow (left) and Dave Cameron NZCS ACS (centre) demonstrate to course attendees.
    Photo Credit: Bayley Broome-Peake.

    Special thanks to Michael Paletta for the lion’s share of organising the workshop, Ryan and Andy Roelants from Metro for their generosity in supplying camera gear and premises, Mike Urban from The Rebel Fleet for his support of this venture and Tony Blackwood for supplying a truck of lighting equipment. 

    ~ Donny Duncan NZCS | Professional Development Manager

  • 12 Sep 2023 6:26 AM | Amber Wakefield (Administrator)

    Photo taken by Richard Simmons of attendees getting hands-on with latest camera equipment.

    NZCS recently hosted a Masterclass in Queenstown in collaboration with Film Queenstown Lakes and the Queenstown Camera Company.

    The course was targeted at cinematographers who wanted to take a step into shooting short films, web series and tv drama, and directors and assistants keen to learn more about this creative process. 

    Demand for the course was high, and as well as Queenstown locals, attendees travelled from Wanaka, Christchurch, Dunedin and Invercargill. One big success of the masterclass was the network opportunities afforded by this rare gathering of South Island cinematographers. 

    Many of the participants had a strong background in shooting documentaries, sport, natural history and web content, but were keen to understand the process of breaking down scripts and working with actors and directors in the fictional realm.

    The masterclass was tutored by Donny Duncan NZCS, and local AC, Raj Patel, showcased practical demostrations with an Arri Alexa 35, Alexa Mini and comprehensive lens kits, kindly supplied by Brett Mills from Queenstown Cameras.  Local gaffer Max Catterick arrived with a lighting truck to demo a range of traditional and contemporary lighting units under Donny’s supervision. 

    NZCS sponsored two places in the workshop for up-coming young talent with a keen film-making passion. Jack Trounce and Jack Smillie from Wakatipu High School had an introduction to the professional world of film-making.

    Thanks go to Kahli Scott from Film Queenstown Lakes for initiating discussions and facilitating the workshop which has long been in the planning.  Accomodation was kindly provided by Holiday Inn, Queenstown Remarkables Park, who are keen to attract film crews to their hotel facilities, very conventiently located close to Queenstown airport.

    NZCS has a mandate to bring more professional masterclasses and workshops to the regions outside of Auckland as there has been good support for these ventures in the past.

    ~ Donny Duncan NZCS | Professional Development Manager

    Photo taken by Richard Simmons of "the Jacks" from Wakatipu High School checking out the Arri Alexa 35.

  • 19 Jun 2023 6:35 AM | Amber Wakefield (Administrator)

    Photographs taken by Director of Photography John Ross show the panel's informal conversation in the afternoon.

    One of the events preceding the 6th Annual Cinematography Awards was “An Afternoon with Erika Addis” – President of the Australian Cinematographers Society, and guest speaker at the awards.

    Erika was keen for the session to take the form of an informal round-table discussion on the general themes of Gender, Diversity and Inclusion in our cinematography world, so a panel was assembled that comprised interns from our program; Aline Tran, Bayley Broome-Peake and Vanessa Vandy, program DP mentor ; DJ Stipsen NZCS, independent producer; Jo Raj, NZCS Vice President; Nina Wells and Executive Director of Women in Film and Television NZ; Patricia Watson. It was also great to have a diverse audience including 1st AD’s, directors, writers and a good turn-out from the camera department.

    The session kicked off with an introduction to Erika’s background and her passion for diversity and inclusion in the selection of our crews, so our film stories truly reflect the make-up of our society. We screened a short video showcasing the “A Wider Lens Survey” of which Erika was an integral force, and then discussed the recent positive trends in Australia with the international success of female DP’s like Mandy Walker, ASC, ACS and Ari Wegner ACS, ASC.

    PHOTO: One of the many informative key findings from 'A Wider Lens' report.

    Patricia Watson from WIFT talked about the soon-to-be-released Gender Pay Gap survey in our industry and how the camera department has serious need for improvement. Producer Jo Raj talked about her support and passion for diversity in our crewing and Nina Wells acknowledged Jo’s fantastic support during while she DP’d a film during a recent pregnancy.

    We heard first-hand experience from some of the interns who had been on the NZCS Gender Diversity Program and DJ Stipsen gave a most enlightening talk about his role from the mentor’s perspective, and the insights he had gained from the process. 

    Erika then discussed the Australian government-funded ACS Credit Maker scheme, where mentees get to shoot a full episode of a TV series after spending time with their mentor on  previous episodes.

    The floor was open for lively discussion on a variety of issues centered around making our part of the industry reflective of the demographic of our society, because currently we have a long way to go before this is a reality.

    ~ Donny Duncan NZCS, Professional Development Manager




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