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2015 C-Prize to unleash future flying technology for the screen industry

This article was published on 8 April 2015

An innovation competition launched today by Callaghan Innovation aims to boost New Zealand’s position as world-leader in the development of Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) technology and help keep the country's innovative screen industry at the cutting-edge.

Callaghan Innovation Chief Executive Dr Mary Quin today unveiled the inaugural “C-Prize”, an open innovation challenge focused on developing UAV technology for the film and screen industry.

“The New Zealand screen industry has a reputation around the world for exciting film-making. Increasingly directors are using unmanned aircraft to capture new visual perspectives to tell their stories,” Dr Quin says. “The C-Prize recognises that these factors, combined with our open airspace and progressive regulations, present a great opportunity for Kiwi innovators and entrepreneurs to commercialise world leading UAV technology for the screen industry.”

The goal of the C-Prize is to encourage Kiwi innovators to develop cutting-edge UAV technology that solves technical challenges and opportunities identified by leaders in the New Zealand film industry. These include improving their ability to record and reproduce high-definition sound, operate in rough weather, and track objects for augmented reality and visual effects purposes.

“The C-Prize is a great example of Callaghan Innovation bringing together companies, entrepreneurs, future innovators and research organisations to accelerate commercialisation of innovation, achieve success through technology, and gain a competitive advantage for New Zealand businesses on the world stage in a rapidly growing sector,“ Dr Quin says.

NZ-based students, innovators, and entrepreneurs are now invited to submit their initial concepts to overcome those three challenges. Entries will be judged by a panel of film industry, technology, and commercialisation experts. Concepts making it through the first round will each receive $10,000 and support from Callaghan Innovation and Creative HQ to develop prototypes. The grand prize winner – to be announced in December - will receive $50,000 as well as an expenses-paid trip to exhibit at the 2016 National Association of Broadcasters trade show in Las Vegas, the largest international trade show for media content and technology.

Entries close on 5 July 2015. The competition is co-sponsored by Kiwi UAV and technology companies Animation Research Ltd, Aeronavics, Shotover Camera Systems, and Park Road Post with the support of NZTE, the NZ Film Commission, the New Zealand Cinematographer’s Society, Creative HQ, Sqore, the UAVNZ industry association, Massey University and the OpenLab. It is open to individuals based in New Zealand or teams with two or more members residing in New Zealand.

“Innovation prizes have a successful track record internationally for stimulating progress in technically challenging industries such as space flight,” Dr Quin says. “Combined with the significant support Callaghan Innovation already provides to NZ’s growing UAV sector, the inaugural C-Prize will be a valuable addition to its continued development, helping commercialise high value technology products originating in New Zealand and promoting a culture of innovation and entrepreneurship.”

Callaghan Innovation’s additional support for New Zealand’s emerging UAV industry has included the establishment of the UAVNZ industry association, input on future civil aviation regulations, hosting a national UAV industry conference, and commissioning a report on the economic benefits of UAV technology.

For more information on the competition, including detailed rules, timelines and technical specifications, visit