“People still want to film the Southern Alps, the meandering rivers and the beautiful Canterbury landscape which sets us apart from other destinations”, explains Zac “and this is still possible with the help of local crews”. Remote directing means that there is a local on-set director who is in constant communication with an off-set director sitting in China for example. Real-time live streaming allows the off-set director to see what is going on and to provide feedback immediately. This workflow needs a far more collaborative approach and Zac knows that good preparation is key: “it needs a recipe that everyone on the set can follow”. Spending more time in pre-production using detailed storyboards, location stills, walk-throughs, etc. is crucial to help to carry out the vision of the off-set director, to sync the two creative minds and to build up a level of trust.
The downside of this work process is the amount of time needed: as there is more communication involved it slows down productivity. “But on the other hand, this is a very good opportunity for local crews to showcase their talent and move up the career ladder. Local directors are able to direct big production which wasn’t possible before”, says Zac.
Local directors are able to co-direct a production with more experienced and well-known director. The local director works in closely with the overseeing director to develop a unified vision. They then act as the overseeing directors proxy on set, collaborating in real time through live set streaming to get the best results. This lets larger off-shore productions continue to shoot in the region and offers an opportunity for up-and-coming directors, or any Heads of Department really, to get on-the-job mentoring and increased international exposure.