This was a challenging and fun assignment with a lot of moving parts.  The brief was to help with the rebranding of ITS into its new identity Connect, by showing that Connect is there to assist you anytime, anywhere.   We thought the best way of doing that was by demonstrating that lecturers can continue to maintain their teaching roles and connection to the University even when remotely out in the field, so we created a geology lecturer on a field trip, reluctant to abandon her research.

Our anywhere location needed to be accessible-ish, visually stunning, and actually look like a place where a geologist might set up a base camp.  After recceing several sites around Auckland, we settled on the gorgeous Te Henga Lake at Bethells.   It was only a 50 minute drive from the university, a 10 minute 4 wheel drive across the dunes and then a 5 minute walk, through streams and across more dunes, carrying all the gear. 

Some of the trickier logistical considerations were catering to a crew of three plus 1 talent with no electricity, nil cell phone coverage and… weather!  The first day of the shoot the lighting was gorgeous and dramatic, but that beautiful purple tinge to the clouds was actually a bad omen and four hours in, our tiny tent prop turned into the only available shelter.  All four of us, plus all the expensive gear had to take shelter inside it.   After two hours it was clear it wasn’t going to relent and the four drowned rats headed back to Media Productions. 

Talent availability – she is a maître-d in real life! – and location availability kept us on hold for another week or so but then everything lined up again for us to pick up what we hadn’t got on the first day – which included the tricky drone to drone shooting of Connect’s rescue package.  Media Productions only has one certified drone pilot, Chris, so we had to upskill our director/cinematographer Jethro fast.  They practised drone to drone flying at the Domain, but out at Bethells it was going to be far trickier – over water and doing tricky manoeuvres involving talent reacting to a drone in close proximity!  Full credit to our drone pilots but there was one moment when things got really hairy, the air turned blue and the entire crew dove for cover to avoid being flown into!  

Once we wrapped Bethells it was time to grab the Connect side of the story and we were delighted to get incredible co-operation from the Connect team who were all up for their acting roles, both in problem-solving the dilemma of how to help out our geology lecturer and in attending her remote lecture in a lecture theatre, using 3D goggles.

From there it was a matter of telling the story as efficiently and effectively as possible in editing and then handing off to our brilliant graphic artist Matt to add all of the graphic touches, like the 3D wide angled look to what the audience was seeing through their goggles.   And it all worked.  The Connect crew were thrilled with their video and so were we.  This was a collaboration that demonstrated that with good communication and cooperation, everyone’s a winner.