There are an impressive number of videos on You Tube that feature New Zealand. Over the past few days I viewed most of the titles available so felt a blog discussing them was in order. Many of these short travelogues are made by young people as they toured around the country. Road trip videos made with GoPro cameras are especially numerous. They are fun to watch as most of them have an energy and an enthusiasm that clearly comes across on the screen as the participants experience various energetic activities.

There are video compilations of funny New Zealand television commercials as well as one poking fun at the New Zealand accent. Local food is pulled apart and other videos attempt serious discussions of the things that make New Zealand unique according to the film maker. This includes place names, local customs and even the variable weather. There are videos telling potential tourists how to drive, how to shop and where to stay. Others discuss food and sporting activities. In fact, many cover the extreme sports New Zealand is famous for. I have a sneaky suspicion that one of the information videos was made by someone who has never been to NZ. The pronunciation of most place names was way off the mark. It’s understandable to mispronounce Maori names, I’m a New Zealander and still have trouble pronouncing some of them. However when ‘Dunedin’ is pronounced ‘dunny-din’ instead of ‘dun-edin’, it tends to indicate the person speaking has never been to this major New Zealand city but not to worry, their video did contain some good footage.

Being a country blessed with thousands of beaches, there are a number of videos focusing on coastline activities like canoeing, swimming, diving, surfing and just gentle walking on empty beaches. Libor Bednarik’s 8 minute video called Most Beautiful Place in the World was shot entirely in Northland. The carefully controlled camera movements, camera positions and lovely soundtrack, in my opinion, successfully creates the atmosphere that is unique to New Zealand.

The adjectives magical, exciting and amazing frequently crop up among the various You Tube New Zealand video titles. While working as a TV cameraman, I filmed all over New Zealand as well as numerous other countries around the world. As a result, I’m well aware of the unique quality of light found in New Zealand. Overseas visitors and film makers often comment on the unusual clarity that sharpens the colours of the landscape. This strong, clear light is due in part to New Zealand’s geographic position in the middle of the vast Pacific Ocean and its proximity to the South Pole.

The videos I feel would be of most benefit to those wanting to know more about New Zealand are the ones that take a serious look at the country’s scenery, attractions and lifestyle. One I found particularly interesting was inspired by the Lord of the Ring films. Called New Zealand- Journey through Middle – earth (sic)  the video uses scenes from the films and shows the actual locations. The music is epic and the editing is pretty good for a travel film made by an enthusiastic film maker. I’ve watched it twice and recommend a look. It is an hour long, but time flies as you are taken on this colourful journey. The voice over is pretty intense but you get used to it. By the way, one of my New Zealand books takes you to these locations. New Zealand as Middle Earth discusses the Hobbit film locations in some detail. After seeing the video New Zealand-Journeys through Middle-earth (sic), you will have a good idea just how the locations helped the story lines of Peter Jackson’s 6 epic Tolkien movies. sleveGerman company, Timestorm Films have a number of videos on You Tube and the few they have made on New Zealand are also worth checking out.  I particularly liked Amplitude/New Zealand  and Solitude/New Zealand which are both beautifully shot in high definition with time lapse images rolling gently across the screen. They give you an idea of how dramatic the empty South Island landscapes can be. Each video is just 3 or 4 minutes long so have a look here:

Over the last decade, increasing numbers of professional film makers from Asia, Europe and America have chosen to use New Zealand’s sweeping open spaces with its towering mountains, deep valleys, magnificent lakes and pristine rivers for their feature films and commercials. I wouldn’t be surprised if the home made videos on You Tube don’t have some influence over location scouts searching for that magical location for their next film or commercial.