Few first year students have the chance to make a multi-channel video advertisement for a leading New Zealand company, but next year’s intake to Whitireia’s New Zealand Diploma in Screen Production will have exactly that.
Whitireia is partnering with leading New Zealand paint company, Resene, on an in-house film competition that will challenge students to create a 30-second advert, inspired by a Resene colour of their choice.
A panel of judges will pick a winner whose advert will be used in real media outlets, and the winning team will receive $2000, while the runner up receives $1000.
Students will work in teams, over a very short time frame, to complete the task that will encourage them to extend their skills and creativity as part of their programme of study.
Resene will provide the paints and colour inspiration the students need to create their commercials.
The idea was sparked when a budding filmmaker posted a clip online based around Resene’s colours. A company representative then approached Whitireia, choosing Whitireia for its broad curriculum and record of graduating students who successfully launch careers in film and television.
Whitireia tutor David Brechin-Smith explains that this is the first time the film school has worked with an external company in this way.
“To partner with a company with such a well-known name as Resene is really exciting, and we feel privileged to have been chosen,” says David. “For students to make a clip for this company, with the chance of it to be shown nationally and winning big money, is a strong incentive for the students. It will be a great addition to next year’s programme.”
The challenge will run in July 2020. The class of 36 will be split into crews of six, with two of the six taking responsibility for the clip as either the director or director of photography. Then the roles swap around, so that each person in the crew has experience in different roles, including either the director or director of photography. In total, 18 clips will be produced.
“This project will ramp up their experience in a number of technical crew roles, including leading a shoot,” says Whitireia tutor, Corey Le Vaillant.
“Each director and director of photography will meet with the client – Resene – so they learn how to receive a client brief. They then have time to work out their concept, and plan and execute the shoot. In post-production they will work with the film school tutors as producers, and an editor. It will be a big learning curve for the students, especially as each crew will have only five hours to shoot their material. That adds a real time pressure and requires good planning in pre-production.”
The students will have total creative freedom to do whatever they want, providing it features a Resene paint colour or colours and follows the brief.
“We want them to use everything they will have learned up to that point, exploring depth of field and focus, texture, form, pattern and layers, with moving or static shots, and from the panoramic to the microscopic,” says David.
An added challenge is that this will be the first time during the year-long course that students use the Arri Alexa Classic camera, a high-definition video camera used by professionals.
“That camera is a real step up for them,” says Corey, “they will be able to make some beautiful images.”
David says working with Resene will offer the 2020 students a different aspect of New Zealand’s film industry. “There’s a lot of work available making television commercials, so this gives next year’s students another string to their bow. A lot of people come to the programme wanting to work in film, because the world of commercials isn’t as visible to most students. This challenge will open their eyes to new possibilities.”