Southern Africa and the Indian Ocean islands are blessed with a remarkable variety of locations. We see the region as our playground and take great pleasure in sourcing just the right spot for any type of setting, ranging from modern European cities to African vistas to Asian Villages.
Gatehouse Commercials has access to a vast store of information on Southern Africa and the Indian Ocean islands as location options. We take into account the budgetary, climactic and production support of each location before we suggest it as a shooting option. We also make sure that our client’s brief is fully discussed before we commence with a scouting trip.
We have an excellent relationship with the best casting studios, characters agencies and modelling agencies, to ensure that we find the right cast for the shoot.
The professional agencies we work with cast from as wide a pool of talent as possible – all the way from the streets to professional actors and models in order to ensure just the right person for the commercial.
English is widely spoken in South Africa, and obtaining a successful European or American accent is not a problem. Besides which, many international models supplement our local talent pool during season.
Dressing & Props
If it doesn’t exist, we’ll have it made. Creative imagination is the air we breathe! Whether the shoot is set in 1960’s London, contemporary New York, present day Europe or a pristine beach, our attention to detail is flawless.
South African crew is renowned for its experience, professionalism and hard work. Most crew are based in Cape Town and Johannesburg, and key crew often move between centres to follow the work.
The crews are not unionised, but do abide by a comprehensive set of working conditions established between the crew and the Commercial Producers Association.
The basic tenets of the conditions are as follows:
The shoot day is a ten-hour day before overtime. Time and a half is payable from hours 11 to 14, and time thereafter is considered double-time. Sundays, public holidays, night shoots (i.e. a day called at or later than 15h00) and a seventh consecutive day are premium days and are all paid at time and a half. Travel days, gear checks and technical recces are accorded half -day rates if maintained within certain parameters.
For feature film and television crews, a 12-hour day applies before overtime commences. Generally, a six-day week is worked without premium, including Sundays and Public Holidays. A premium is also not payable for night shoots if there is a 12-hour turn-around time. If the location is within a 40km radius from home-base, travel time is included in the 12-hour day, as is a 45 min lunch. Fringes are not payable.
Shooting in SA
The major rental companies operating in South Africa are:
- Media Film Services
All companies re-equip themselves regularly and have a full range of modern digital camera equipment: Arri Alexa, Arri Amera, RED Weapon, Phantom Flex 4K, various grip equipment, and most lens collections, including the Frazier lens system and the latest motion control. Equipment not available in South Africa is flown in from London relatively quickly and inexpensively.
South Africa uses the South African Rand (ZAR or R) as its currency.
These rates update regularly.
There are no specialist Grip Houses in South Africa, but camera equipment providers supply the equipment, and key grips provide their own apple boxes, wedges and toolboxes.
The large centres of South Africa are safe travel destinations health-wise. Some of the remote areas do have an incidence of Malaria, and visitors are required to take Malaria tablets.
Visitors should not swim in warm slow-moving rivers, which can be contaminated with Bilharzia. Fast-moving, cold, mountain streams are generally not dangerous.
Crew working conditions are monitored by the Commercial Producers Association, ensuring a safe and fair working environment is promoted in South Africa.
The Association is formed by membership of the companies providing commercial production services in the country, and a subcommittee, supported by most of the facilitating companies, is in place to regulate facilitation of international work.
Although The Gatehouse quotes cover insurance for equipment, vehicles and crew (for which there is no legal requirement), negative- and weather-insurance are extras for which we can provide a quote on request. Excesses on insurance payments are for the clients’ account.
The standard HMI’s, Xenons and other lights are all available, as are various specially assembled rigs, like the Wendy Light, a 96-way Dino set and a ‘Lunar Ball’ space light.
The lighting rental companies (not grip houses) supply reflector and other bounce lights sources like butterfly kits, which are the responsibility of the lighting department.
Please note that there are no film labs in either Cape Town or Johannesburg processing 35mm or 16mm stock.
We have several world-class VFX companies as well as brilliant editors operating on the latest versions of AVID Media Composer, Adobe Premier and Final Cut X.
01 Jan – New Year’s Day
21 Mar – Human Rights day
22 Mar – Public Holiday
02 Apr – Good Friday
05 Apr – Family Day
27 Apr – Freedom Day
01 May – Workers Day
16 Jun – Youth Day
09 Aug – National Women’s Day
24 Sep – Heritage Day
16 Dec – Day of Reconciliation
25 Dec – Christmas Day
26 Dec – Day of Goodwill
27 Dec – Public Holiday
If any of the above public holidays falls on a Sunday, the following Monday will become a Public Holiday
South African hotels, particularly those in the major centres, are of world-class quality at competitive prices, particularly when taking into account the negotiated rate obtained by Gatehouse.
Excellent restaurants and a plethora of down-time entertainment, from great days out to nights on the town, mean that a shooting trip to South Africa inevitably ends up as a working holiday.
South Africa, as the most developed and industrialised country in Africa, boasts an excellent infrastructure.
There are regular international flights from the four corners of the globe to the major centres. Internal flights with a number of local carriers comprise in excess of 550 scheduled trips covering the main filming areas. Smaller towns and outlying areas, some neighbouring countries and small islands are accessible via regional and charter flights.
South Africa’s rail infrastructure is reliable and efficient, and features a good few international quality short- and long-haul rail-excursions like the luxurious Rovos Rail and the Blue Train, available both for film and holiday purposes.
The road infrastructure is of an international standard, and most parts of the country are linked with a series of well-maintained highways.
The remote areas are accessible via hired 4×4 vehicles, and there are companies that specialise in rigged trucking for equipment.
Visitors to South Africa require International Drivers Licences and insurance. which is difficult to obtain for drivers under 23.
Independent rental companies provide a wide range of vehicles with excellent customer service, as do international enterprises such as Budget and Avis. Although the vehicle hire prices are relatively expensive as a result of insurance premiums, Gatehouse has negotiated highly competitive deals with a number of companies.
The Northern Region (incl. Johannesburg):
Dry and blue skies
Best shooting time: June – September
Average 16°C / 61°F
Up to 10 hours of sunshine
The South Western Cape:
Summery, sunny and dry
Best shooting time: August – May
Average 28°C / 82°F
Up to 15 hours of sunshine.
For more detailed info on our weather, click here
All nationalities that are exempt from visa control:
You have to get a S11.2 work exemption letter from a South African Embassy, that we will help you obtain. This process applies to all people who perform work on set: Director, Director of Photography, Art Directors etc.
All those people who are not working (agency, client) will get processed remotely and will present themselves on entry to get a stamp in their passport.
All nationalities that need a visa to enter South Africa:
You should proceed as per normal to a South African embassy and they will help you process the S11.2 exemption letter as part of your visa application process.
As an industry we are working closely with our government to expedite these processes.