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SAE Auckland opens Studio 18

7 November 2016

SAE Auckland held the opening of its brand-new Studio 18 in Auckland on October 12. The whole process began when SAE was awarded New Zealand Qualifications Authority (NZQA) accreditation to run the Bachelor of Film Arts in 2015 and started the hunt for a suitable facility to house the new film degree. When the basement floor beneath its ground-floor location at 18 Heather Street, Auckland, became available in late 2015, SAE jumped at the chance to extend downwards to include the basement as well — SAE has been situated in that very location since 1989, and it was the perfect opportunity to expand without having to move.

Once settled, SAE took over the lease in March 2016 and immediately commenced the design and build of a new large film studio — complete with green screen and a hangout space for students — which also doubles as a film set and a large multifunctioning classroom.

Photo: Alexia Clarkson-Rowntree

Outfitted as a multipurpose space, the facility allows plenty of room to rehearse, shoot, hold auditions, and make the most of experimenting with the green screen. To go with the new area, three Blackmagic Ursa cameras have been purchased for students to use in the studio and out on location.

This space is ideal to teach students how everything works out in the industry; it was even designed with a lighting set-up that will help students with this transition.

It took over three months of intense building, but SAE is thrilled with the final result, and, most important, the new film-degree students are both excited and inspired by the space. Campus Manager Dr Suzette Major said, “Studio 18 is a great example of the practical, hands-on training that SAE offers. Our students learn in studios, not lecture halls. And I am thrilled that SAE Auckland now has a film studio which parallels industry standards. Our film-degree and diploma-students are ecstatic.”

Access is the same as the other studios: 9am–10pm Mon–Fri and 10am–10pm Saturday. More information can be found at

Photos: Alexia Clarkson-Rowntree