Tony Burrows. BA Canterbury University, NZ.
Tony Burrows – Owner/Film-maker. Who am I? I grew up somewhere between Waiouru and Malaysia, learnt a few theories at University and then set out to become a film-maker.
Discovering the craft of film-making has been a rewarding journey. I’ve worked in music television in the UK and filmed wildlife documentaries around the globe. Back in New Zealand, I’ve made snowboarding films (using actual film), shot top-rating television, travelled to the wildest nooks of the country as a Sound Recordist and worked as a Best Boy lighting feature films, high end drama and TVCs.
Broad industry experience cumulated with the production of documentaries for Sir Peter Blake, promotional films for leading corporates and an innovative sponsored television series for TVNZ.
In 2000 I established Motion Pacific to start producing quality content for agencies, businesses, government, NGOs and television networks. Motion Pacific is a commercially focused company that pursues excellence in visual communication.
I currently live on three acres at Muriwai Beach with my wife and kids, too many pets and a couple of surfboards.
If you’d like a little more detail about Tony’s professional journey, you can read his full bio at the end of this page.
Tracy Whitehouse is a partner and the communications expert at Motion Pacific. She overseas production as well as taking a strategic overview on all projects.
Tracy draws on extensive experience and knowledge gained from a previous career in the market and social research field, where she spent over thirteen years and reached Qualitative Director level and performed the Principle Research Advisor role within Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry (MAF) Communications.
She has great project management, interview/facilitation, communication skills and solid business acumen. She is experienced at working alongside a wide range of commercial and government organisations helping them to achieve their marketing, advertising and communications goals. Organisations she has worked with include: Telecom, ASB, Goodman Fielder, NZPost, EBOS, IAG, Arnots, Tourism NZ, Mobil, Positively Wellington, EECA, MAF, CMDHB, Retirement Commission
She also has a wealth of knowledge and understanding of the New Zealand public – the all important ‘audience’ – what makes them tick and what drives effective engagement and communication.
Tracy’s involvement in the video production field has developed since 2005. During this time she has found her skills invaluable and complimentary to those of Motion Pacific’s Managing Partner, Tony Burrows.
“Tony and I have worked collaboratively for a number of years and we’ve found our respective skills extremely complimentary. Tony tends to focus more on the creative and the technical ‘how to’ whereas I tend to focus more on what are we trying to achieve and how best to get our message across to the audience”.
My name is Tony Burrows, I’m the film-maker at the centre of Motion Pacific.
I didn’t go to film school. Instead, I learnt my craft by working my way up through the film and television industries. Freelancing in a wide variety of roles, across a broad range of genres, has given me a deep understanding of the film-making process, as well as some great life experiences.
My journey started as the ‘Tea Boy’ at a film studio in Soho, London. After a short stint I landed a job as a Studio Floor Manager at the UK’s first Music TV channel – The Power Station, where I worked daily with characters such as Suggs from Madness, Boy George and Chris Evens.
After a year of ‘rock n roll’ I travelled to the Okavango Delta in Africa to work as a Camera Assistant on a 16mm National Geographic wildlife documentary. For 12 months I was immersed in one of the world’s premier eco-systems where the daily drama of the animal kingdom was far more entertaining than the dynamics of music television.
Back in London I freelanced as a Sound Recordist for Italian Television until New Zealand beckoned. Returning home, I joined Gone Fishin’ as a Sound Recordist for the first two seasons of New Zealand’s original fishing show. Gone Fishin’ took me from the Three Kings to Dusky Sound, it was full of adventure and I was fortunate to experience some of the countries wildest nooks.
Although I was garnering broad film-making experience, I had a passion for pictures and was eager to get behind a camera. However, I also appreciated that I needed to know more about the art of lighting if I was going to progress as a film-maker. For the next three years I worked as a Best Boy under one of New Zealand’s leading Gaffers, Grant McKinnon, where I discovered what it takes to light high-end productions such as feature films, TVCs and drama.
My start as a Director of Photography came on the first two seasons of the top rating factual entertainment series, The Zoo, where I worked closely with BBC producer Kath Moore to establish the style of the show for Greenstone Pictures. Filming animals taught me a lot about shooting observational documentaries because there is no second take. The Zoo ran for 12 seasons on TVNZ, has been sold to over 90 countries and was placed in New Zealand’s highest value time slot when it first went to air.
After The Zoo I began working regularly as a freelance cameraman on primetime factual entertainment shows, but I wanted to make content that fell outside the confines of television networks. So I headed to Ohakune with my Bolex camera, joined forces with producer Paul Stieglbauer and started making New Zealand’s first 16mm Snowboarding film. Paul and I eventually raised $30K, travelled to Queenstown and finished the film on an Aaton XTR. Funding, filming and distributing an independent film, pre-internet, pre digital SLR cameras and pre laptop editing systems, was a challenge, but we did it.
One of my main career goals was to shoot a National Geographic documentary and the opportunity came via producer Mike Bhana with his film Tuna Cowboys. We spent 7 weeks rolling around the Southern Ocean on a rusty flotilla filming storms, sharks and wild men. Tuna Cowboys was a genuine adventure that became National Geographic’s highest rating documentary in the year of broadcast and went on to win several international awards.
Continuing on the nautical theme was the opportunity to work with Sir Peter Blake. At the time of New Zealand’s America’s Cup defence, I had shot several tourism films with Sir Peter and was invited to help produce a half hour documentary for Blakexpeditions, his global environmental initiative. The Blakexpeditions documentary was New Zealand’s first high definition production and it was a privilege to work and sail with a great New Zealander.
Inspired by Sir Peter Blake I set out to produce a sponsored television series called Adventure Guide. Land Rover came on board with a Defender 110 that we promoted as a ‘character’ throughout the series. The Adventure Guide delivered great return on investment locally with repeat screenings on TVNZ and the Documentary Channel, as well as global broadcast on the Discovery Channel.
Motion Pacific emerged from the Adventure Guide series to allow me to continue making films. The timely rise of online video and ‘affordable’ technology has been very liberating. It has enabled me to marry my documentary background with high end production experience. As a company we began exploring online video as a marketing tool prior to Google owning YouTube. An early success was a series of short online marketing videos produced for Fox Glacier Guides. We embedded these clips into the client’s website at a time when more New Zealanders were on dial-up than broadband. Despite scepticism, these videos did about 25,000 completed views per year across our clients key markets. Needless to say bookings were strong and we were convinced of where the future lay.
Today Motion Pacific applies this broad experience to the production of a wide range of projects for some of New Zealand’s (and the worlds) leading brands. We use diverse formats and technologies to produce content for screens that range from iPhones to IMAX. We have developed specific expertise in the production and leveraging of online video and we are very excited about a digital future where we can help individuals, organisations and business to connect with the people they want to reach.