Its with sadness we note the passing of NZ television pioneer and cameraman Don Scott on the NSW Central Coast at the age of 90. His son Ashley kindly informed us of his dad’s passing on April 26th. What came as quite a surprise was that Don was a co-founder of the original New Zealand Society of Cinematographers Inc (NZSC) which preceded the current NZCS by many decades but was only active for a short time and included sound operators, directors, and producers as well as camera people. Ashley has supplied us with some great images from his father’s archive.
Don was a freelance (stringer) cameraman and worked at Reynolds Television, as well as the NZBC, TVNZ and later TV3 and will be known by some of our senior industry members.
Some of New Zealand’s most important historic news events, including the Beatles tour of NZ and Australia, numerous Royal Visits, the Air New Zealand Mt Erebus Disaster, and the Rainbow Warrior Bombing, to name a few, were seen through Don’s lens.
Sport, Documentaries, Māori and Pasifika were also a great body of his work, which he loved very much. Don was one of the foundation crew for the Māori News programme Te Karere, and worked hard to establish the show and drive it where it is today. He was a champion of encouraging Māori and Pacific Islander students to get behind the camera and have more key roles behind the scenes at a time when it was very difficult for anyone to get a start in film and television.
Don retired to his native Australia and is survived by his wife Brenda and two sons who also work in television.
NZCS Mid-Career Cinematographer Gender Diversity Internship Opportunity in Auckland
The NZCS is pleased to announce we have negotiated a mid-career cinematographer placement on an international TV series based in Auckland, under our Cushla Lewis Gender Diversity Program, part-sponsored by the NZ Film Commission Talent Development Fund, the NZCS and the production company.
The Attachment provides the opportunity for a female intern to shadow the Directors of Photography on set and experience advanced aspects of the craft in a location-based shoot.
This will be a paid Attachment at $300 per day for 15 days over a three week period.
• The three week placement will commence in Auckland on Monday 29th May and finish on Friday, 16th June 2023
The placement is intended for Auckland region locals or candidates who can relocate themselves and self-accommodate. The selected candidate will be issued a standard contract by the Production Company and will join the payroll, per other contractors.
The aim of the Attachment:
The program aims to provide an opportunity for a female mid-career cinematographer to observe a working cinematographer mentor on a big budget international production. This program aims to provide another training pathway to the limited opportunities currently available by giving the intern valuable on-set experience, increased confidence and a renewed skill-set in the world of high quality television drama cinematography. This is not a creative input role, but will be a mentored position, closely shadowing the DP and key technicians at work, and observing the creative decision making process on set.
Note: Under the Cushla Lewis Gender Diversity Program, this internship is limited to applicants who are female or identify as female. The NZCS remains committed to a mandate to grow and diversify the pool of emerging cinematographers in New Zealand. We also encourage women from under-represented ethnic backgrounds to apply.
To be eligible, applicants must:
Please submit the following in electronic form only (Word files or PDF) by:
Fri, 12th May to: email@example.com with “Gender Diversity - Cinematographer Attachment, Auckland” in the subject line:
A shortlist of suitable applicants will be forwarded to the production and an interview (in person or virtual) may be required, at which time further details of the production itself will be provided.
Applicants will be informed of a decision either way, by Thu 18th May, 2023 latest.
We invite you to come together with people from across the screen sector and raise a glass to 2022 at one of the three Combined Screen Guilds Christmas Party across the country.
AUCKLAND - Wednesday 7 December register here
WELLINGTON - Thursday 8 December register here
CHRISTCHURCH - Monday 12 December: email to RSVP here
All members are welcome to attend, free entry and nibbles will be provided, with drinks available for purchase at the bar. See regional invites below, for more information on venue and timings.
Registration is essential, so click on the link and let us know you're coming.
We look forward to seeing you there!
The NZCS team
DJ Stipsen NZCS and Aline Tran (top row, centre) with the 'Stonehenge' Camera crew
November has seen our Gender Diversity Program wrap up three DP internships for women on “Our Flag means Death” (Vanessa Vandy) and “Stonehenge” (Pikihuia Haenga-Little and Aline Tran). All have reported having a most valuable experience and we thank the NZFC, producers and cinematographers involved for their support of this program.
“The value of the placement is incredible. It's very rare for a DOP to be able to observe another DOP but I learned in a few weeks what could have taken me years of personal experimentation. I think this scheme is a great way to upskill mid-career female cinematographers so we see more of them taking the role on a production the size of Stonehenge” - Aline Tran
Auckland was host to a 2ndAC Master class on Nov 5thrun by Michael Paletta at Panavision. 12 applicants were accepted onto the course and gained an insight into the professional attitude and approach expected to succeed in this role.
“I can't thank the NZCS enough for putting together the brilliant workshop. Thoroughly enjoyed it and learnt heaps. There was ample time to learn, get hands-on and ask any questions I had. It was also great meeting other filmmakers and networking” – Mike Kim
Reaching Out to Film Schools – Murray Milne NZCS and 1st AC Michael Paletta recently visited South Seas/Youbee film school in Auckland to deliver a presentation to graduating students – this is the beginning of the NZCS reaching out to cinematography students to share our knowledge about pathways into the industry.
The NZCS is pleased to announce an intensive one-day Trainee and 2nd Assistant camera Masterclass in Auckland on Saturday, 5th November
Michael has designed an introductory course to the Trainee and 2nd AC role, that he wishes had been available when he first started his career. This will be the third AC workshop Michael has tutored for the NZCS.
The agenda will include:
· set étiquette
· over-view of Camera Dept positions and responsibilities
· teamwork basics
· AC kit run-down
· rental house liason
· practical demonstrations of equipment and usage
· prepping/building a camera kit
· testing and working with cine lenses
· role of the 2nd AC
· gear management demos
· marking actors
The NZCS has identified that there is a current skill shortage of trainees and experienced 2nd AC’s ready to step into roles on high pressure film sets. This course is aimed at those film school graduates and camera trainees moving into the 2nd AC role, who want to fine-tune their professional attitude, learn tips and tricks and gain the confidence to step up to the plate on a fast moving set.
While it takes a lot longer than a one-day course to hone these skills, the hope is that attendees with a strong desire to do well in this field will become inspired by the course and will be encouraged to seek further experience, other learning opportunities and mentorships with obliging DPs.
The event will be held at a camera rental house and experienced AC’s will be on hand to supervise building cameras during practical sessions, and to add their perspective to the proceedings.
We are looking for attendees whose goal is to work as 2nd Assistant Camera on various levels of productions before moving up the ranks. If you are a camera operator wanting to learn more about working with an AC, then this is probably not the course for you.
The workshop will be restricted to 12 attendees only, so that numbers are manageable, and everyone gets quality hands-on time with the gear.
Potential applicants will need to send a short e-mail with a CV and contact details listing their current experience, and a brief one-page summary of why they feel this course will benefit their career progression and what they hope to achieve from it.
Please email firstname.lastname@example.org by 5.00pm Monday 24th October if you wish to be considered for a place on the course, and we will confirm positions by 5.00pm Wednesday 26th October and provide registration details to those who are accepted.
This one-day master class costs:
$75 for NZCS members, and $125 for non-members
Note: You can join the NZCS as student or associate member by going to our website here.
Lunch and short breaks will be provided. Details of venue upon registration.
*Deadline for Applications extended to 5.00pm, Sunday 25thSeptember
The NZCS is pleased to announce we have negotiated two mid-career cinematographer intern placements on an international TV series based in Wellington, under our Cushla Lewis Gender Diversity Program, part-sponsored by the NZ Film Commission Screen Capability Fund and the local production company.
The Attachments provide the opportunity to shadow the Director of Photography on set and experience advanced aspects of the craft including pre-production meetings and recces.
These will be paid Attachments for a maximum duration of 15 days each.
The placements are intended for Wellington locals or candidates who can relocate themselves and self-accommodate. The selected candidates will be issued a standard contract by the Production Company and will join the payroll, per other contractors.
Following the rigours of a tough 12 month production period owing to Covid 19 restrictions, the program aims to provide an opportunity for a female mid-career cinematographer to increase their confidence and up-skill in their ability to produce high quality television drama cinematography. This program aims to provide another training pathway to the limited opportunities currently available. This is not a creative input role, but will be a mentored position, closely shadowing the DP and key technicians at work, observing pre-production and the creative decision making process on set.
Note: Under the Cushla Lewis Gender Diversity Program, this particular opportunity is limited to NZ Citizens who are female or identify as female, as the NZCS remains committed to a mandate to grow and diversify the pool of emerging cinematographers in New Zealand. We especially encourage those women from minority ethnic backgrounds to apply as well.
Have industry experience in this chosen field and be prepared to join the NZCS as an associate member if chosen for the placement
Have a track record of working as an up-and-coming cinematographer on short films, music videos, web series, or other genres. The applicant may not necessarily have an exclusive career as a Director of Photography.
Hold New Zealand Citizenship - * New requirement under NZFC guidelines
Please submit the following in electronic form only (Word files or PDF) by 5.00pm, Sunday 25th September, 2022 to: email@example.com with “Gender Diversity - Cinematographer Attachment, Wellington” in the subject line:
A full CV, including your normal place of residence, ethnicity, and citizenship, and a Filmography including links to a showreel or selection of completed works.
A short written reference (from a senior screen industry practitioner or tutor)
A proposal (maximum of 1-page) outlining why you want to do the Attachment and what you look to achieve from the opportunity.
Please state if you would be available for either placement block, or if you have a preference for the 1st or 2nd dates as above.
A shortlist will be developed from applications and an interview (in person or virtual) may be required, at which time further details of the production itself will be provided.
We will attempt to inform applicants of a decision by Wed, Sept 28th, 2022.
A month ago, I was honoured to represent the NZCS at the two-yearly International Cinematography Summit held in Los Angeles, and hosted by the ASC at the legendary clubhouse in Hollywood.
Around 40 cinematography society delegates from 28 countries attended the 5 day conference, which featured in-house presentations and site visits to various studios and facilities in the LA region.
The sessions began with a personal introduction to our societies and their objectives, and the presentation of a 3 min showreel of our outstanding cinematographer’s work. The NZ reel was chosen from 'NZCS Awards 2021' winner's clips.
Some of the highlights of the week’s activities were the following:
• DP Karl Walter Lindelaub ASC, BVK talks about his work on tv series HALO
• Screening of blind test of 32 prime lenses shot by Denis Lenoir AFC, ASC, ASK in a beautifully designed real world comparative test. We each made quick notes on our impressions of each lenses, and then all brands were revealed at the end, with some real surprises.
• Visit to XR studios virtual reality studio, where current technology allows multiple cameras to shoot different angles with overlapping frustums as each camera is operating at a different frequency. Very impressive, but an expensive set-up at around $US70-100,000 per day hire rate.
• Tour of the Netflix Innovation Center where we met the team who test and decide which cameras are eligible to get the Netflix seal of approval (original Arri Alexa 2K not included!)
• A virtual production masterclass at Sony with Sam Nicholson ASC who demonstrated a very hi-res 1.2 pixel pitch CLED wall and showed images of his Vis FX supervision work on Our Flag Means Death- S1.
• Cinematographer Bruno Delbonnel, ASC, AFC and his colourist Peter Doyle discussing their recent work with Joel Coen on The Tragedy of Macbeth in glorious monochrome.
• Armando Salas ASC, presenting his on-set HDR workflow for streaming series like Ozark and Griselda and demystifying the process to put control firmly in the cinematographers hands.
• Virtual conversation with DP Drew Daniels discussing his stellar work on current tv series Outer Range.
The technical sessions were of great value, but my real take-away from the week was meeting the delegates from all the different countries and discussing how our societies operated, and what our priorities were and making some true friends. There was much interest in our Gender Diversity program in NZ, as only the USA and Australia seem to be active in promoting inclusion to this degree. Another highlight of my week was chatting with various ASC members who dropped by during the week for different sessions and were keen to hear more about our NZ situation.
All in all, I’d highly recommend that the NZCS continues to attend the ICS in future years as its great to keep our profile up in this international sphere, as well as our IMAGO involvement in Europe.
~ Donny Duncan NZCS
Photo: Donny Duncan NZCS
Our NZCS Professional Development Manager, Donny Duncan NZCS, recently ran a Camera Skills for Drama Workshop in Tauranga, at the invitation of Film Bay of Plenty.
The venue was the the Incubator Creative Hub at the Village Cinema community venue which was the perfect size for two day-long workshops of around 20 people each. The course was pitched at cam assistants wanting to take the next step, camera ops wanting to extend their creative pallete, and writers, producers and directors wanting to know more about their relationship with the cinematographer and to gain some technical insights.
Subjects covered in the full-day session included: breaking down a script, tools to set a creative style, pre-prod and location recces, working with a 1st AD, and the building blocks of professionalism – reliability, integrity and passion.
The practical part of the course included setting up an Arri Amira kit , analysing the effect of various focal length lenses, and a demo of a variety of lighting units, including new technologies like full colour spectrum programable LED units.
Further discussion was held on why we move the camera, and how we move the camera, operator tricks of the trade, lighting approaches, useful apps, VSFX basics and the art of “cheating”.
The session finished with a look at new technologies like Virtual Studio Production.
Thanks to Jade and Tracey at Film BoP, Unitec Screen Arts for providing the camera kit and Professional Lighting Services for sponsoring a lighting demo package.
The NZCS is keen to extend professional development courses into the regions and this trip to Tauranga and our recent Masterclass in Christchurch have both been received with great feedback from participants, so with help from sponsors we will program more of these into the agenda this year.
~ The NZCS Professional Development team
All photos taken by Producer / Photographer Julie Gursha
Christchurch was treated to a masterclass in early July catering to a range of experience levels, some in the early stages while others already deep into their careers. Taught by the legendary New Zealand cinematographer Alun Bollinger NZCS, or more affectionately known as AlBol.
The day began with a discussion on filming techniques from the Peter Jackson classic “Heavenly Creatures” where AlBol talked through an assortment of problems and the various creative ways of solving them. One such technique involved attaching a bungee cord to the ceiling to allow for long handheld takes and whip-pans, pre-dating the introduction of the easyrig.
We then moved into a more practical exercise of basic 3 point light before quickly “destroying” the technique and finding alternative ways of basic lighting set-ups. AlBol opened the floor to discuss any problems people have come across such as reflections in glasses, and the group worked to find fast, practical solutions.
At the lunch break the group headed around the corner to the local cafe for lunch, before setting up a scene within the same cafe. There was a discussion on blocking, where AlBol walked through the scene with the talent and talked about which angles he’d shoot at and why. Local gaffer Zac Beckett-Knight was on hand to demonstrate the DP-Gaffer relationship and worked quickly with his team to get through the multiple setups of the afternoon session.
The informal nature of the afternoon allowed for a peppering of questions throughout the session. Something attendee Jem Anderson-Gardener described as a “highly beneficial and a great opportunity.” Anderson-Gardener was one of the ten successful applicants and said while a number of concepts were familiar to him, it was refreshing to explore them through the eyes and experiences of someone so seasoned. “As a young DP, it was really inspiring to hear Al talk about his considerable experience, and to watch the way he worked with the cast and crew during the practical stage.”
Michael Paletta was on hand as 1st AC and was supported by NZCS members Madison Ryan and Charlotte Panoho, who brushed up on the skills they’d picked up from the previous NZCS 1st AC masterclass.
The day concluded with a discussion on career options and overcoming obstacles faced by many emerging cinematographers.
This masterclass was made possible from help from Brett Mills at Queenstown Camera Company (supplying the ARRI camera gear) and Screen Canterbury for their sponsorship.
~ John Ross, Cinematographer
On a blustery July evening, a group of members joined an enthusiastic panel to discuss work-life balance. Generously hosted by Panavision, and a big thank you to Wes for hanging out for us, the panel included Ainsley Calderwood, Nina Wells, John Toon, Jo Raj and was moderated by Mark Minors.
The discussion was a great success, but perhaps just the start of what’s needed. Our panel were all keen and passionate about the topic with members of the audience chipping in with their own thoughts and ideas. Discussing things like 4-day weeks, 8-hour days and rolling lunches there was agreement amongst all that improvements in whatever form could be made to help improve the balance.
What was clear was that Covid lockdowns have forced us all to slow down and evaluate our own situations. Ultimately this is an industry of passion and we should all assess our own values to decide where we draw that line between work and our personal lives, it’s not easy to do. Mental health is as important as ever and maintaining a healthy and happy pool of crew is crucial to a functional and successful industry.
As is always the case we could have gone on for ages and the surface was barely scratched. The important take away was to firstly to be aware of the issue and then encourage discussion amongst our peers. Talk about these ideas, push to try them out, and give feedback. It’ll be a long road to improvement but we can start by having more discussions like this, talking to one another and being more aware of our own work-life balance.
We were able to record the audio of this discussion and aim to publish it as a podcast in the coming weeks, stay tuned! Finally a big thank you to Ainsley, Nina, John and Jo for being a part of this interesting discussion.
Ariel Camera LimitedCR Kennedy NZ Ltd
Māui Virtual Production Ltd
Prices include GST© 2008- 2021 New Zealand Cinematographers Society