cast between filmingThe Chief Executive/Executive Producer, Executive in Charge of Production and Producer have the responsibility of auditioning and casting the core cast members during the pre-production period several weeks before actual production starts. Negotiations with the actors, usually through their agents, are held. and timetables are then planned by the Cast Coordinator.There are two teams of Assistant Directors. While one team is working on set, the other team is planning the next block of filming which includes scheduling cast and extras. Casting for Atlantis High was especially unique in the fact that every character was not ‘normal’ as we know life to realistically be. The story was set in a world of Bronzed Hunks and Beach Babes wandering around in fluorescent/bright shirts and bikinis, so a specific image was required when selecting cast and extras.

The Cast Coordinator arranges the life of the core cast members whilst they are in production. This includes flights, meetings, accommodation, liaison with the actors’ agents, handling any inquiries regarding cast, arranges cast for press meetings, internet obligations and ultimately anything that a cast member is involved in for the series.


Special Effects

Special Effects

There are a multitude of special effects used in Atlantis High from the green laser beams that shoot out of Mr. Dorsey’s eyes to a specially made (and quite revolting) oesophagus! As well as the actual special effects, certain tricks of the eye are used in scenes such as the one where Mr. Dorsey eats a mouse and the aliens eat rats! The stunning spaceship is the one effect used most frequently in the series and was created by a team of experts in Wellington especially for the show. It houses three alien beings that come from the strange world of Fenorg, a star system in a far away galaxy undiscovered by mankindÜuntil now.

Below we take a look at some of the special effects and have some exclusive preview photos…
Mr DorseyWhy does science-teacher Mr Dorsey sometimes seem as if he is speaking into a plant? Is there really a secret hidden camera inside that transmits Mr Dorsey’s messages to an alien civilisation thousands of light years away?Is Mr Dorsey an alien? With his long lizard-like tongue, he seems like one…
alien shipThere is a spectacular alien ship that appears in Atlantis High – it is the vehicle of the three intrepid alien travellers, Xeron, Vortex and Nebula. With its flashing lights and amazing speed, the ship is a sight to grace this – or any – universe.
Beanie certainly has weird ears but how different is he really? He is able to collect information in the most effective of ways. His eyes bulge and his mind whizzes. How does he do it?
This is the view from inside the alien ship. They have many adventures in and around Sunset Cove.



Art Department

Art Department

– The Art Department recreated a bright looking beachside town and surfing community where everything was ‘not as it seemed’. Flowers hung from the street lamps, surfboards were carried around like handbags and everything and everyone was abnormally happy! Fake seagulls hung from the ceiling in the school café, and weird and wonderful culinary delights were on display. – A local school was transformed to become the sunny beachside school – Atlantis High. The exterior was completely repainted bright, light and dark blue, huge palm trees were planted at the school entrance, hot pink signs lined the exterior walls, the grass was always green and the sky always blue!

– Several rooms were ‘dressed’ as Headmaster Q’s office with large goldfish tanks, huge bookshelves as secret doors and a creepy crawly dark atmosphere. ‘Q’ sat at his desk spying on life at Sunset Cove and Atlantis High through his monocle.

A unique and specially-equipped spaceship was made in the Cloud 9 studio. Its main feature was a global shell built with a large open screen at the front, to which special effects were added. The inside of the ship was made from a type of fluffy material and there were three special seats within the spaceship where the aliens sat while spying and flying through life at Atlantis High.

– The entire show featured a special image, as though manufactured from an idyllic magazine, where all was rosy/cheerful/bright and multi-coloured and where every member of the community displayed strange behaviour. This all stemmed from the fact that there was a covert spy network/alien force surrounding Sunset Cove which also ultimately affected the life of Giles Gordon.

– The school field was transformed into an American football field with huge plastic/rubber moulded goal posts flying in the breeze at either end. A couple of days the breeze was stronger than expected and the posts almost bent in half!

– The Props Department had the task of finding suitable props that were often meant to be tacky and fake, for extra special effects or for the purpose of making life at Sunset Cove look abnormally idylic! These included fake flower leis, birds, daisies and other such items.

– Many props were also required by the multitude of strange and eccentric characters, such as Commander Vermont, who because of his love of military style life, carried around big toy guns and huge spray hoses for protection. His wife, Mrs Vermont, had a liking for endorsing many products that also had to be carefully designed so as to be unique and original. This required many special computer graphics for the wrappers, signs, photos, posters and banners.

– A number of unique and often luxury vehicles were required on set, most of which are not readily available in New Zealand but were loaned to Cloud 9 by classic car collectors. These included US army jeeps, a jeep wrangler, a black Lincoln town car, a bright yellow bug VW, an old style Mercedes Benz and a classic Mustang. These types of cars were necessary to create a typical American-style beach life.


Post Production

When all the cast have gone back to their normal lives, the crew are on “downtime” and the studio resembles a ghost town, the post production team are still hard at work in their darkened rooms!Once filming has been completed for each episode, it goes through the post production process. This department works closely with Chief Executive Raymond Thompson to make sure that the overall look and sound is the one that he wants for the series.

First stop is with the editor who, along with the assistant editors, has the huge task of choosing shots from all the footage and piecing it together to form a rough cut of the episode. This rough cut gets sliced and glued many times in order to pull the story together in just the right way.

Next stop is with the music editor who chooses the right music for each scene. There is a vast amount of music for him to choose from on Atlantis High as the soundtrack was written specifically for the series and there is a lot of it! This editor has to watch each scene carefully in order to get a feel for it and to know which piece of music suits it best. The track is then cut together and laid down.

On to the sound designer who adds all the strange and wonderful noises and sound effects from the alien spaceship and the aliens themselves, to the running water in the shower. This designer works closely with the dialogue editor who has to make sure that the dialogue can actually be heard and that it fits in with the lip movement of the actors. ADRs (or Additional Dialogue Requirements) are sometimes needed and the dialogue editor re-records the actors speaking their lines. Other ADRs such as crowd noise is also recorded.

Across the corridor is the mixing suite where the dubbing mixer works his magic from a NASA style control board. All the levels are checked so that the music is not too loud, the dialogue too quiet, etc.
Last stop is with the post production manager who colour grades the episode and makes sure that the sky and sea are suitable for the high standards in Sunset Cove!



Location shootingCloud 9 employs a location manager who has to scout the countryside for wonderful places in which to film the series. This manager then goes out on a “recce” with members from the production team such as the director for the upcoming episode, first assistant director, the production manager, art director and director of photography. This team make sure that the chosen location will suit the requirements of the episode and is a safe area in which to film. It is then up to the location manager to liaise with the owner of the property or land and to obtain any permits from the council. Cloud 9 works closely with the council to make sure that no flora and fauna is harmed during filming. Most locations are dressed by the art department to suit the feel of the show during the filming of Atlantis High, and locals from a nearby town grew used to seeing armoured vehicles, motorbikes and American cars cruising down their streets! Outdoor locations were chosen for their resemblance to California as the series has a definite surf-culture vibe to it. We did not have to look very far for wonderful locations in New Zealand and managed to find an empty wing of a local school that became the home of Atlantis High school itself. Many golden sandy beaches were used in the filming of the series, beaches that stretch as far as the eye can see, and so it was that Sunset Cove was born.