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Shortland Street

Weeknights at 7pm | TV2

The making of Shortland Street


Shooting Shortland Street can be hot work!

Shortland Street Director Geoff Cawthorn

Shortland Street is produced by South Pacific Pictures at its West Auckland studios, with location scenes filmed around Auckland. 

Five episodes are produced in five 10-hour working days.

This equates to the production of 2.5 hours of screen time (or the same as a full feature film) each week!


The pace of shooting is fast - an average of one minute of screen time every 20 minutes. (To compare, most films shoot an onscreen minute every 3.5 hours.)

Studio shoots are filmed in a multi-camera style, using three cameras which feed material from the studio floor to a control room, where the shots are selected and mixed to make up each scene.

A typical week's filming includes one location day, one studio exterior day and three studio days.

On the location and studio exterior days, actors rehearse when they are not filming.

Scenes from a week of episodes are grouped together according to location.

For example, many of the scenes in the clinic's triage area for the week are shot on the same day.

This means that the actors will have to go through several very fast costume, make-up and hair changes (as well as dealing with changes in dramatic content) to reflect each different story or episode for that week.


Episodes are filmed seven weeks ahead of the date they are broadcast.

Editing, picture and sound post-production take place after filming, so the weekly episodes are finished and ready for broadcast four weeks before they go to air.


In addition to "core cast" members on long-term contracts, Shortland Street has employed more than 2000 actors in guest roles since it began.

On average, 75 "extras" are employed each week, including the regular "non-speaking" doctors and nurses you see in the background at the hospital.

The production crew of around 80 represent a wide range of talent - from the highly experienced to trainees. 


Over the past 18 plus years, the Shortland Street production has trained a great number of cast and crew, focusing particularly on areas of the industry where there is a skills shortage, such as multi-camera drama directors, first and second assistant directors and directors' assistants.


Recently we've expanded our training to include script, acting and key technical areas such as sound and cameras.

Trainees are either promoted from within the crew or are total newcomers to the industry.

To find out what's coming up on Shortland Street, click here.




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