Waitaha River - Aoraki / Mt Cook of Rivers

One of the things we love about making films is the chance to delve into a business, issue or product and try to work out what the underlying stories are.

We were recently approached by Whitewater New Zealand to produce a video to highlight the issues that a proposed hydro development on the Waitaha River poses. 

This project was quite an emotional one because as whitewater kayakers, and having shot films on the amazingly beautiful Waitaha river before, we feel a strong bond with this special place.

When the scheme was first proposed around 6 or 7 years ago there was a feeling that it would be a shame to loose the water from this beautiful place, but also an acceptance that at the time the West Coast needed more power generation. At that time no one had paddled through this gorge.

A few years later there was a successful descent of the gorge by a keen group of local kayakers who had been exploring other local river gorges thought to be un-paddleable. We made a short film showcasing this incredible whitewater for an international film competition and placed 4th. The message was that rivers we may consider impossible to kayak now (and therefore open to hydro development) are simply the challenge for the next generation of adventurers.

Now that the hydro proposal for the Waitaha River is being considered by DOC things have totally changed. Morgans Gorge is now sought out by kayakers at their peak looking for the ultimate challenge, and power usage has dropped significantly on the West Coast. There is now no requirement for extra power generation both locally and nationally.

Over the last few years we have been keen to showcase much of the good work the Westpower (who are proposing the Waitaha Hydro) done. Excellent schemes of their's such as the Amethyst Hydro Scheme show how hydro can be done in a way that benefits everyone in the community and does not impact in a significant way on conservation land or on recreation. Unfortunately the Waitaha Scheme does not fit the same criteria.

Looking to the future we hope to be involved in filming the first complete descent of the Waitaha from it's source high in the Alps at Ivory lake to the Tasman Sea. All the sections of the river have now been paddled making it the pinnacle of whitewater in New Zealand - the Aoraki/Mt Cook of rivers.

The last section to be completed was the truly awe inspiring Windhover gorge. We were fortunate to be filming on the first attempt to descend these massive waterfalls by kayak. Three kayakers started the trip but only 2 made it out with one kayak and one paddle between them - a truly epic adventure. We caught some of the carnage on camera and it formed the basis of a news story for TVNZ.

 

 

New predator control methods

Last month we shot a short film for mediafix about the exciting work that ZIP (Zero Invasive Predators) are doing on new predator control methods.

Shot at the trial site in the Marlborough Sounds the film shows the work being done to optimize their 'remove and protect' model for predator control in NZ.

 

The job involved a day and half on-site shooting the video and also some experimental drone work. 

Deep water fishing with Sealord

Last year we spent three days on board the Sealord vessel Aukaha capturing video and interviews with the crew.

Once we got through some tough weather (and seasickness) the sea went calm and we were able to get the drone out for some nice aerial wides.

We also wanted to give a feel of movement on the boat so a lot of the shots on deck were shot using our steadycam gimbal so that the horizon stayed level and the movement of the boat became relative.

 

We also got to visit one of their Russian charter vessels in Dunedin. The crew were very proud to have become NZ flagged. 

 

MUSCLE & DREAMS available now!

Our documentary on the Old Ghost road has been 4 years in the making. It started out as a promo project but we soon got swept along with this wonderful project.

It is now available at Vimeo On-Demand and proceeds go to the Mokihinui Lyell Backcountry trust who built (and now manage) the trail.

The 26 minute documentary follows the creation of The Old Ghost Road - NZ's longest single track. Its a wonderful tale of grit and ingenuity and nearly a decade of persistence by a group of local enthusiasts.

It's been a mammoth task - especially lugging cameras, tripods, dollies, jibs and drones along large sections of the track on our bikes.

Graperide 2016 by Drone

The annual Forrest Graperide in Marlborough is the only UCI qualifying cycle race in NZ. It features a beautiful 101km circuit starting and finishing at the Forrest vineyard.

We were asked to shoot some video of the 2016 event. Unfortunately the weather was poor but we did manage to get some good shots from the drone in between the rain. 

A full event video will be coming soon

 

Sealord Recruitment promo

Last year we were approached by Sealord to shoot some video on board one of their Hoki boats. 

We spent three days on board and after getting over some pretty severe seasickness we got to know several of the crew and shot them going about their duties.  We were keen to get these guys to tell their story.

We wanted to get across the feeling of being at sea so we shot most of the film using our steadycam gimbal. This meant that the camera stayed locked on the horizon but the subtle motion of the boat translated to film.

This is the short cut which will be used for recruitment and HR.

 

Lake Brunner video for Land Air and Water Aotearoa

The video we shot for 90seconds.tv for Land Air and Water Aotearoa just went live.

Lake Brunner is the river of the month.

Cool project to work on and great results from a lot of hard work by those dedicated farmers and locals. Nice one! 

 

For all you keen eyed locals the title refers to the area covered by the plans which was the entire catchment of Lake Brunner, which of course includes other beautiful lakes and rivers in the area such as Lake Poerua shown on the video.