Telecom Extends Service to Narnia


Filming The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe required hundreds of extras, millions of dollars and many thousands of hours creating digital effects – but it couldn’t have happened without Telecom.

The telco provided cellphone, fixed line and data services to the film crew during the two years of filming and post-production work.

The key to the film’s telco needs was flexibility, says New Zealand line producer Tim Coddington.

“Production must be flexible enough to absorb the uncertainties and unpredictable nature of the film making process, and telecommunication systems sometimes need to be delivered in an equally flexible manner,” he says.

The crew often moved between 50-100 gigabytes of data daily between filming locations and its main studio complex in Hobsonville, Auckland.

The ICT budget for the film – due out in December – topped $1 million.

The connection from the Hobsonville site to the Los Angeles-based special effects teams could be bumped from 10 megabits per second to 100 Mbps as needed “with a flick of the switch”, minimising costs.

At one point the crew was sending 10 gigabytes to LA every night.

“We had a lot of visual effects and that material has to flow back for people to work on,” says Mr Coddington.

“The choke point was getting it out into the suburbs of LA. Their suburban infrastructure is way behind,” says Mr Coddington.

Filming for three months in a remote area near Arthur’s Pass in the Southern Alps where not even cellphones work, Telecom and the crew set up a point-to-point connection to transmit data to the main fibre trunk on the West Coast.

Telecom’s communications equipment was housed in a tent for the two months of filming in the Alps, powered by a car battery in a chilly bin.

Wireless networks were set up at all the filming sites, even in the Southern Alps, to provide a local intranet to exchange email and files among up to 600 crew.

The film is now in post production and is due for release in December.

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