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Cutting edge technology to film endangered birds

Media release from
Elwin Productions/Huntaway Homestead Films
8 February 2008

Cutting edge technology used to film endangered birds in NZ

In a world first, Otago film company ELWIN Productions is using new High Definition technology to document a remarkable story following the struggle to bring the world’s rarest wild parrot back from the brink of extinction.

‘Code of the Kakapo’, a co-production between ELWIN Productions in Dunedin and Huntaway Homestead Films in Queenstown, is an intimate look at one of the world’s leading conservation programmes.

This is the third year of filming the Department of Conservation’s elite Kakapo Recovery Team on Codfish Island and ELWIN Productions filmmaker Scott Mouat says that the 90 minute feature-length film will be the first of its kind in both content and technology used.

“Although male Kakapo have been filmed before, no one has seen or filmed the act of mating. In a first, I have been given access to one of the males during the mating process. And, I’ve been loaned the only camera in the world that can capture this in high definition.”

The film will be recorded with groundbreaking NHK camera technology and presented in High Definition (HD), a format six times more detailed than a normal television image.

Through a mix of dramatic reconstruction and archive footage ‘Code of the Kakapo’ will uncover the first attempts made to save the species. Then it will follow the current events and watch as the recovery team battles to save the species and use artificial insemination to produce the world’s first Kakapo chick by this means.

“Due to the shy nature and nocturnal behaviour of the Kakapo, infrared is our only option for filming without the birds being aware of our presence.”

“NHK has supplied the camera to us for one month with the possibility of extending the loan if we are getting good results,” says Scott.

Some crucial funding for the project has been received through sponsorship by Jack’s Point, a unique community development conceived by visionary Queenstown businessman John Darby, but more financing-described by the producers as critical parrot seed funding - is being urgently sought.

Dunedin based production company NHNZ has continued its generous support of the project by providing the producers with an extensive array of other specialist equipment for the shoot. NHNZ was also instrumental in helping broker the unique deal with NHK which secured the use of the HD infrared camera.

Distribution rights for the film have been acquired by Astronought


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