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New Zealand

New Zealand Film & Photography Production Services.

Are you a media company, brand, ad agency or production company looking for film / photography production support or shooting crew in New Zealand? We have fully vetted, locally based fixers, service producers, directors, DP’s, videographers, cameramen, photographers, sound operators, production drivers, and a range of other film crew. Contact us for referrals, questions, cost estimates and references.

Want to know more about shooting in New Zealand? See below for an introduction to New Zealand locations, permits, when to shoot, costs, talent, crews, fringes and premiums, equipment, art department, studios, post facilities, visas and work permits, film friendly hotels, transport, communications and safety advice.

Film Locations. New Zealand offers a world of location looks within a close proximity to each other. To name a few:

• Otherworldly looks – deep forests, glacial waters, towering mountains, magnificent fjords, volcanos including the stunning White Island and Mount Taranaki.

• Stunning car roads. New Zealand is a car commercial paradise. Southern Hemisphere Proving Grounds is a winter car-testing track located on top of a mountain. It is one of few places in the world where cars can be tested on snow during the months of June to August. Skippers Canyon Road is a narrow, cliffside gravel road with spectacular views.

• Modern cities, contemporary architecture and some old European looks.

• Snow-capped mountain ranges (and ski resorts) in Central North Island and the length of the South Island. The snow rarely falls at sea level, so even during winter, all of the other beautiful locations are available too.

• Beaches – black, brown or white sand. Surf or calm water. Small intimate beaches or beaches that stretch for miles.

• Luscious green farming fields of various crops. New Zealand is a favourite for dairy commercials looking for black and white Jersey cows in green meadows. Other agricultural looks of interest include bucolic pastures with grazing sheep, apple and kiwifruit orchards, and picturesque vineyards. Wheat and barley fields are harvested between December and March.

• Lakes, rivers and streams. From babbling brooks to white-water rapids.

• Sports. Everything from world-class golf courses to rugby stadiums. New Zealand has a big sailing culture so there are plenty of boats available for filming on the open ocean.

Desert is the only location New Zealand does not have. That said, some coastal sand dunes and large inland areas of sparsely vegetated plains have been used to double for these looks.

Auckland is the main filming city, followed closely by Wellington, Queenstown and Christchurch.

New Zealand Film Location Permits. The permitting process is generally quick, easy and streamlined. It is possible to close city streets for filming, as well as rural highways and country roads but not motorways. Aerial filming is permitted over most locations, including cities. A 500 ft minimum height limit applies to cities but there is usually no minimum height restriction otherwise. Please contact us for more location specific information.

When to shoot? New Zealand is popular with visiting production looking for opposite season looks. Summer runs from December to February. This is the busiest time for production with long, sunny shoot days and impressive light. Fall is from March to May. Winter runs from June to August with snow on the mountains. The rest of the country rarely sees snow, so locations at lower elevations are open to filming all year round. Spring is from September to November. For monthly weather statistics please see here.

Indigenous cultural events of interest to filmmakers and photographers include Matariki Festival Maori celebrations which take place in June / July.

Public holidays may affect timing, availability and costs. See here for public holiday dates in New Zealand.

Costs. For a high quality production service centre, New Zealand is one of the most cost competitive filming centres in the Western world. New Zealand is generally less expensive than Australia due to the difference in exchange rate, less distance to locations, and more flexible crew and talent rules. Our locally based fixers and service producers will negotiate deals and provide the appropriate level of production support to match every budget.

Talent. New Zealand is a multicultural country offering international talent looks, with the majority of looks being Caucasian, Maori / Polynesian and Asian.

New Zealand has a great depth of actors and models. There’s even an agency specialising in ethnic looks. Featured talent and extras of any look are easy to cast. However, if you need principal dialogue actors with a particular accent / language, we recommend that you cast in your own country, as well as in New Zealand. It is sometimes required to do a casting session in New Zealand in order to obtain work visas for visiting talent, unless the talent is key to the campaign and not generally available locally (Eg: Foreign language speaking), in which case no New Zealand casting is required.

Most actors are non-union, but our New Zealand production service producer / fixer works to industry guidelines (known as the Pink Book). There are no strict guidelines for rates here. Fees are determined based on country, media and duration of broadcast. Buy-outs are available.

For an example of locally available talent looks see Talento.

Crews. New Zealand has a good pool of local directors, directors of photography, production designers and stills photographers with extensive international experience. Auckland is the main filming city, followed closely by Wellington, Queenstown and Christchurch. Crews are non-union. New Zealand has a great depth of professional, technical crews. They are quick, hard working and have a great deal of experience servicing international productions.

Contact us if you are looking for a Auckland, Queenstown or Christchurch based director, DP, photographer, videographer (cameraman / camera operator), camera assistant (focus puller), sound operator, grip, gaffer, stylist, hair and makeup, PA / runner, production driver, or any other film crew in New Zealand.

Premiums. Crew work a 10 hour day, then charge overtime in ¼ hourly increments thereafter. 10 hours is usual turnaround, breaking that incurs an hourly penalty. There are no penalties for working weekends, holiday or nights. Double-time is charged for the 7th consecutive day of filming or the 13th prep/filming day. Our producer usually works around this by giving crew a well-earned day off. However, we do work to Screen Industry guidelines to ensure high expectation levels are met on both sides. For more information on these guidelines please visit the NZ Film and Video Technicians Guild.

Equipment. New Zealand has most of the equipment you would expect from an established service centre: 35mm, HD and Red / Alexa cameras, Technocranes, Libra head, Scorpio, Steadicams, underwater camera equipment, motion control, various gyro stabilized heli-mounts, a flying camera rig, drones and operators, tracking vehicles, low loaders and vehicle camera arms for car shoots. There are several camera and equipment hire companies, keeping costs competitive, such as Rocket Rentals. For drone filming and rentals see Droneworks. For more recommendations, contact us. For productions looking to bring in film equipment New Zealand is an ATA carnet country.

Art department, set construction, costumes and SFX are world class. To give you an example of the standard, New Zealand has hosted productions such as the Lord of the Rings Trilogy, The Hobbit, King Kong, The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, Xena – Warrior Princess, and The Last Samurai.

Studios. Although most people come to New Zealand for the spectacular scenery, many projects are also shot in studio. New Zealand has everything from small photo studios to some of the largest purpose-built sound stages in the world. Over the years, New Zealand studios have been used for a wide range of feature films, TV series, TV commercial productions, and music videos.

Tax Incentives. The NZSPG offers a baseline cash grant equivalent to 20% of Qualifying New Zealand Production Expenditure (QNZPE). In addition to the baseline grant, some projects may also be eligible for an additional 5% uplift if they can demonstrate significant economic benefits to New Zealand. See Film New Zealand for more information.

GST is not charged on foreign TV commercials and other short format work as the files / negative are considered an export.

Local film offices exist is in each film centre, focusing primarily on their region and its specific filming opportunities: AucklandQueenstownWellington.

Post Production. New Zealand offers world leading, sophisticated post-production, animation, VFX, 3D and sound facilities.

Visas and Work Permits. Work permits are required for cast and crew from all countries except Australia. These can generally be obtained quickly. Our local fixer / service producer can provide the required documents and advice to secure work permits prior to arrival, or in some circumstances after arriving in New Zealand.

Clients and agency do not require work permits while visiting to supervise shoots in New Zealand, but may require a visitors visa depending on nationality. Those travelling on Western passports can enter visa-free.

Importing Product. It is easy to bring product (including cars) into New Zealand for filming. As long as we have all the details in advance, these can be cleared of customs and be available within 24 hours. Goods can be brought in on a temporary import permit (and taken out of the country again), or on a carnet. Goods left in New Zealand may incur a Goods and Services Tax.

Transportation Infrastructure is all up to known and expected world standards. Many international airlines fly directly to Auckland and sometimes to Wellington, Christchurch and Queenstown.

Accommodation. Contact us for recommended film friendly hotels in Auckland, Wellington, Queenstown and other parts of New Zealand. For longer stays we also organize serviced apartments. Hotels of note include:

Central Ridge Boutique Hotel, Queenstown
Heritage Hotel, Queenstown
The Rees, Queenstown

Communication. Web posted casting, scouting and video conferencing.

Safety. New Zealand is a very safe and reliable filming centre. See here for up to date travel advice.

Projects. For an example of TV commercials, stills campaigns, online content, corporate videos, virtual reality 360 content, feature films, TV series and documentaries shot in New Zealand, please see below:

Down Time. Explore New Zealand’s beautiful and diverse great outdoors. Vineyards count.

If you are looking for a film or photographic production service company, line producer or fixer in New Zealand, please contact us.

We are able to provide you with answers, references and bids quickly.