What Makes Filming in New Zealand So Attractive?

2 Jan

By Open Book

Big-budget features, like The Adventures of Tintin, Rise of the Planet of the Apes and two sequels of The Hobbit have set their sights on New Zealand as one of their favorite places to film. What makes filming in New Zealand so attractive?

One could say the filming industry in New Zealand got the most visibility after Peter Jackson’s trilogy Lord of the Rings set up shop. According to www.filmnz.com it’s the competitive technological facilities used in post production that keeps Peter Jackson coming back they state;

  • Those three films, with state-of-the-art film and effects technology realised at Jackson’s facilities in Wellington, were the ultimate proof of New Zealand film’s technical and production capacity at every level.”

New Zealand visual and physical effects production companies have worked Internationally on Blockbuster films like I Robot, X-Men 3 and Rise of the Silver Surfer to name a few.

The rise of new media companies has grown over the last decade.  These companies are supported by new media research laboratories and students graduating from media design schools who are trained in 3D animation, visualization, game development and digital media.

Like most filming locations that made the top places to film list in the Universe are the tax incentives packages. However, what’s the most attractive incentive are the post production and new media technology it bolsters that keeps filmmakers coming back for more.

Please join us for a discussion Tuesday 1/3/2012@7pmE/12UTC

38 Responses to “What Makes Filming in New Zealand So Attractive?”

  1. Littlebells January 2, 2012 at 11:23 AM #

    Happy New Year Everyone!


    Do you happen to know how costs differ to film and do post production in New Zealand compared to places in the states? I also wonder how many students from the US go over to New Zealand for schooling and training…

    Great article! Thank you. 🙂

    • Comic Relief January 3, 2012 at 6:53 PM #

      Happy New Year LB.

      • Littlebells January 3, 2012 at 7:08 PM #

        Hi CR!

        • Comic Relief January 3, 2012 at 7:14 PM #

          Hi LB!

    • Comic Relief January 3, 2012 at 7:11 PM #


      Great question! I was partially wondering that also. Given the expense of American educations I would think it might be prohibitive for American’s to attempt to participate, (unless they were enrolling in New Zealand schools).

      I guess we’ll both have to wait for OB’s response.

    • Open Book January 3, 2012 at 7:45 PM #

      Happy New Year LB-

      Yes this was dedicated to u…Also, I was truly interested in knowing more about New Zealand. I have friends who relocated to work in New Zealand’s for animation and they love it.

      Your Q: Do you happen to know how costs differ to film and do post production in New Zealand compared to places in the states?

      Answer: Well California offers the best overall value for pre and post production for filmmakers. Simply due to it’s new and improved tax incentives for filmmakers and facilities etc….

      However, New Zealand is better than the majority of other places in the US. I think they rank at #9 on the Best places to film in the Universe list. That ain’t bad!!! Also the new media training and research is quite outstanding. Yes! Many students from the US go to New Zealand to not only study but work as well.

  2. Comic Relief January 3, 2012 at 6:54 PM #

    Great article OB.

    I know this is possibly off topic, excuse me if I am not mistaken, but I am interested in how this subject impacts the importance of specific geographic or filming locations.

    I’ve frequently heard actors and directors speak of some locations (like Paris, New York, London, Hawaii, etc.) as being other characters in themselves. Usually I assumed that this meant they (the locales) were so distinct their influence nearly qualified as another personality within the narrative.

    I understood that you were talking about how useful New Zealand was in a pre and post production since. I’ve seen many of the movies you referred to and I was impressed with how rugged the landscapes are. Do you think New Zealand could qualify as an extra character as well?

    Sorry about the sound and the ridiculously long question. Here are a lot of clips starring the Shire from LOTR.

    • Littlebells January 3, 2012 at 7:11 PM #

      THanks CR! I agree with your statement about locations being another character. They add another element that can …hang on….

      • Comic Relief January 3, 2012 at 7:12 PM #

        Your welcome.

        I’m waiting……

        • Littlebells January 3, 2012 at 7:27 PM #

          Sorry, I’m back. Ok, I was going to say that I have learned a lot about how costume design (including hair make up) through OB. It truly is a personality itself that helps move the story along and gives more depth to the character. I think location does the same thing. I think it also helps the actor make their character and story more real.

          • Comic Relief January 3, 2012 at 7:45 PM #


            Since you are an actor. Why does the location change the way you inhabit, present, or internalize a character. Is it as important to inhabit the location as it is important to inhabit the character? I would think the location was secondary in terms of your participation or your job in the story telling process.

            I’ve seen actors practice or memorize lines in studios prior to a production. They seemed equally proficient. You seem to suggest the location adds something to your execution or should in interpret this influence as an internal dimension of the proces?

            • littlebells January 3, 2012 at 7:58 PM #

              Well CR, I agree with you. Yes, an actor does study and become their character in studios, at home, wherever they fancy. I think a great location, or any location outside a sound stage, adds that a very tangible element. It’s like studying European history of famous landmarks. You can read and become very proficient without visiting those locations, however to actually be present at a landmark makes that knowledge of history more concrete. Did that make sense? Haha!

              This is only my opinion. :). And no, I do not think actors need to be “somewhere” to get into character.

              • Open Book January 3, 2012 at 8:07 PM #

                YES!!!!U are after my heart……ITA!!! LB.

                It gives out soooo much ambiance to be on location it feels more tangible to have the location and production design be as real as possible. It really brings things alive.IMO!! Sound stages feel so uninspiring at times.

                • littlebells January 3, 2012 at 8:08 PM #


                  • Open Book January 3, 2012 at 8:17 PM #

                    Plus if I may add! It really is nice to have all the elements all working together to tell the story. The environment plays such a huge role in costume design as u well know.

        • Open Book January 3, 2012 at 8:23 PM #

          This is so beautiful to watch CR!

          Thank U!

  3. Comic Relief January 3, 2012 at 7:05 PM #

    …until Open Book shows up.

    Happy New Year and greetings all new and returning visitors. Please feel free to post a comment or question?

  4. Comic Relief January 3, 2012 at 7:31 PM #

    Sorry to belabor this point, yet New Zealand’s landscape seems to have a lot of different characters. Sorry this is just an observation.

    The provided clip doesn’t demonstrate the diversity as well as I would have liked. Forest areas seem as dynamic as pastoral vistas.

    • Comic Relief January 3, 2012 at 7:34 PM #


  5. Open Book January 3, 2012 at 7:32 PM #

    Happy New Year- Everyone!!

    I hope everyone had a nice holiday.

    Let me read and get caught up. …..

    • littlebells January 3, 2012 at 7:46 PM #

      Hi OB!

      • ozzie20 January 3, 2012 at 8:22 PM #

        Happy New Year all!

        I’ve completely forgotten the question I was going to ask! Doh!

        • Open Book January 3, 2012 at 8:24 PM #

          Hi Ozzie!

          Ha! Ha!

          Take your time.

  6. Comic Relief January 3, 2012 at 7:32 PM #


    You mentioned Tin Tin and since that’s an animated feature should we assume pre and post production are the primary benefits of this location?

    • Open Book January 3, 2012 at 8:21 PM #

      Hi CR-

      YES!! YES! YES!

      In the article up above I posted a link that mentions the new media design schools and research facilities.

      Here u go!


  7. Open Book January 3, 2012 at 8:30 PM #


    I have to go. However, I will check back tomorrow and answer any more of your Q’s.

    I would like to leave u with a Q:

    Would u find it attractive working on location often?

    • Littlebells January 3, 2012 at 8:57 PM #

      Bye OB! Sorry, my phone was acting up.

      Yes, I would find it attractive, but not often. I suppose if I could take and have loved ones with me it would be alright, but otherwise I think it could difficult at times.

      • Open Book January 4, 2012 at 11:47 AM #

        What is not often to u? Would it be once or twice a year?

        The only way I could be content is if I had a nesting headquarters. Even if I only visited once a month.

  8. Littlebells January 3, 2012 at 9:00 PM #

    one million internet points to whoever can answer these questions:

    1) Around when did most films start going on location?

    2) What was the first film to film entirely on location, if any?

    • Open Book January 4, 2012 at 11:55 AM #

      These are good and challenging Q. LOVE IT!!

      I will be back…

    • Open Book January 4, 2012 at 12:30 PM #

      o.k. filmmakers began going on location as early as 1896.

      By the Lumiere Company in France. The brothers shot the majority of their films on location. The first film were of workers leaving the Lumiere factory. It’s called: “La Sortie de l’Usine Lumière à Lyon.”

      • Littlebells January 5, 2012 at 10:49 AM #


        Ok, then what film made in the 20th century was the first to shoot on location and where? MWAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!

        • Open Book January 7, 2012 at 6:12 PM #

          So I have wrecked my brain. The only thing I can think of are Westerns. The Iverson family ranch, in the Simi Hills on Santa Susana Pass above Chatsworth, Calif., first allowed a movie to be shot on the property as early as 1912, with the silent movies Man’s Genesis (1912) My Official Wife (1914) and The Squaw Man (1914) among the features most often cited as the earliest to be filmed at the site.

          How did I do?

  9. ozzie20 January 5, 2012 at 9:11 PM #

    I still haven’t remembered my question. It’s driving me insane. I’ll probably remember it in three months time or something. So if you get a notice saying I have commented on this in some time in the future, it’ll be the question, lol!

    • Open Book January 7, 2012 at 6:15 PM #

      U are teasing us… Now I’m curious as to what it could be? I will keep checking Oz!


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