Written by on May 20, 2014. Posted in Production News

Park Pictures builds Roman gladiator arena in New Zealand filming for Samsung

Park Pictures built a Roman gladiator arena near Auckland, New Zealand, for a new spot promoting Samsung’s curved Ultra High Definition TV. The ad features a father and son facing a gladiator charge in the Roman arena as the curved TV envelops their senses in their living room.

An initial plan involved filming at an existing historic Roman arena in Tunisia, but the location was a World Heritage Site and was quickly deemed unsuitable for a shoot that was using 300 extras. The relative lack of local production infrastructure was also an issue.

“New Zealand was a better option and our Director Nathan Price is a New Zealander and was in the country when we first made the pitch,” explains Stephen Brierley, an Executive Producer with Park Pictures.

“We found an old gravel pit 20 minutes outside Auckland and built a 60-degree portion of a colosseum for the three-day shoot. The whole area is of course well-equipped for this kind of historical shoot and in fact we ended up sourcing costumes and props from Peter Jackson’s company [Weta Workshop]. We had 300 extras and eight gladiators, plus our lead ‘father’ actor who was flown in from London.”

The production team worked with a local events company to install a hydraulic lift in the centre of the set for shots showing the father and son’s arrival in the arena, elevated from beneath. Auckland-based Ruskin Film serviced the shoot.

Nathan Price also worked with Ruskin Film on the eye-catching 2012 State Insurance spot Break My Stride, which was impressively staged as a single-shot film in an Auckland suburb.

Park Pictures’ recent work has included turning Johannesburg into a Prohibition-era US city for Dulux in Colour Love Story.

Client: Samsung
Agency: CHI & Partners, London
Agency Producer: Matt Creswell
Production Company: Park Pictures, London
Executive Producer: Stephen Brierley
Production Service Company: Ruskin Film, Auckland
Director of Photography: Ginny Loane
Director: Nathan Price

(Photos: Stephen Brierley)


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