Taking a dip

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Milne’s kit includes a couple of fully-submersible camera housings. The 35mm camera housing was made by Vince Pace, who shot underwater sequences on James Cameron’s Titanic and has been a regular collaborator of Cameron’s since. The smaller housing is for a Canon 5D, and gets used mostly for TV work. Also in the kit are splash bags, the watersports photographer’s best friend, and a dry suit – necessary for spending any amount of time in icy waters.

The only recent request for water-related kit which Milne hasn’t been able to meet came from Paramount’s currently-shooting Wellington-based Ghost in the Shell, which was on the hunt for an underwater housing for a 65mm camera.

As well as Welcome to the Thrill Milne has worked on other productions accessing the incentives here, including the in-production Australia-NZ co-production 800 Words, which South Pacific Pictures produces here for Channel Seven.

Milne did the aerial shots for the title sequence of 800 Words, using his Inspire Pro drone. It carries a M4/3 camera, captures 4K raw footage, is half the size and makes half the noise of the larger six- and eight-rotor machines. It also has much a longer flying time than many other models available, which is always helpful when working with others.

SPP also has a third season of Brokenwood Mysteries in production and a second season of Outrageous Fortune prequel Westside heading to TV3 later this month. Productions of that scale are good for the industry, Milne claims. Not only do they offer a decent run of work, they allow people the chance to learn and develop. That upskilling is a help to the industry as a whole, and something SPP has long been credited with delivering on Shortland Street.

From the amount of production work around at the moment, Milne reckons Auckland’s very steady for TV work, with Greenstone, Imagination, Screentime and Warners all keeping busy. Anecdotally, it seems that the amount of TVC work is down (something Film Otago Southland’s Kevin Jennings also comments on in this month’s issue).

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“You evolve or dissolve,” Milne believes. Given the amount of time he’s spent in water, Milne is clearly one of the industry’s evolvers – even to the point of being a cameraman who doesn’t always operate a camera. The Big Brother style of reality requires remote control cameras, so production crew are never caught in shot in tight interior environments. UK format First Dates, of which Warner Brothers is producing a local version here for TVNZ, uses 20 such cameras.

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