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Ninox Productions / TVNZ Ltd.
Camera Assistant, Camera Lock-Off's / Time Lapse

Some great timing and the work done by a former Channel9 staff
member allowed me to get a role on the 2004 season of Mitre10
Dream home. I had just happened to pop into my old Film School at
Avalon in 2004 when visiting and they said there had been some calls
looking for a Film School grad to come work with Ninox Productions on
a show. Seeing as I was in town they put my name forward and
mentioned I'd been off working at Channel 9 in Dunedin for the past
several months.

This ended up being a great mention as the former season had been in
Dunedin in 2003 and the main Camera Assistant had been a Channel 9
staff member who'd done a great job for them. I ended up being called
up and asked to come in for an interview, where I was offered the main
Camera Assistant role. One snag however was the need for a drivers
licence, which at the time in 2004 I was lacking.

We discussed getting me the licence, which they were willing to pay
for, but I just hadn't got enough behind the wheel time to feel confident
that I would get one. So instead I was offered the secondary Camera
Assistant role which was only on site 3 days a week and focused
mostly on lock off camera and time lapse work, but helping the other
camera assistant and main camera crews when possible. I took it.

Between September and December I spent numerous days at events
leading up to the house locations, and then in the house locations each
week while the production went on. At first I shot lots of material and
covered as much in each of the rooms as possible. After a couple of
weeks the editing team came out to look at the site and asked me to
cut down on the coverage because it was leading to long logging
sessions. So after that day I cut down the amount I was shooting to
more specific events and started checking in more often on when
specific things were being done in the rooms.

Conditions were often trying, you were working on a construction site
after all. Weekends near the end of the shoot were often very wet and
the last two that had to do with outside cladding and the gardens were
some of the worst - turning the house sites on the hill into mudslides.
One day the work and the production was shut down because of the
rain and danger presented.

When I wasn't shooting locked off room footage I was often going
right up the back of the sections and getting wideshots. This often
meant scrambling up a hill to an already placed ladder and lock off
position which showed the general construction that was taking
place. Outside of this I was often supporting the main crew with help
on extra lights and cables for interviews, and running off to get items
from the camera truck. Aside from this when there was a need for a
creative shot, like a camera getting covered in bark as it was tipped
out or a camera getting "painted over" my lock off cameras were the
ones to do it.

Mitre10 Dream home was my real first taste at "Reality TV" and
surprisingly even though I might not have been the biggest fan of
watching it, working on it was something entirely different and I
wanted more.

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