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South Africa

South Africa Film & Photography Production Services.

Are you a media company, brand, ad agency or production company looking for film / photography production support or shooting crew in South Africa? We have fully vetted, locally based fixers, service producers, directors, DP’s, videographers, cameramen, photographers, sound operators, production drivers, and a range of other film crew. Contact us for referrals, questions, cost estimates and references.

Want to know more about shooting in South Africa? See below for an introduction to South Africa locations, permits, when to shoot, costs, talent, crews, fringes and premiums, equipment, art department, studios, post facilities, visas and work permits, film friendly hotels, transport, communications and safety advice.

Film Locations. South Africa has long been a popular film destination, particularly for European productions looking for opposite season looks in a similar timezone.

South Africa’s vast variety of unique and international location looks continues to attract productions from all over the world. Of particular note are South Africa’s diversity of cityscapes and neighborhoods, modern villas with expansive vistas, African savannah, mountains (some with snow), a variety of roads ideal for car commercials, white sand beaches, picturesque forests with lakes, and sports stadiums. Agricultural looks of interest include vineyards, orchards, wheat and corn fields. Cape Town is world renowned for its vast variety of locations within an hour drive.

Johannesburg, Cape Town and Durban are the main production centres.

South Africa is the most established production service centre in Africa and as such is a resource to much of the rest of the continent in terms of specialised crews and equipment.

South Africa has hosted a long list of TV and commercial stills shoots as well as films including District 9, Blood Diamond, and Invictus to name a few. It has doubled for a range of other places including Washington DC, Kabul and Las Vegas.

South Africa Film Location Permits. South Africa has a film friendly and streamlined permitting process, with a number of privately owned locations as well as those that run through the film office. Citywide permits are available for filming b-roll at public locations. For more complicated shoots that require large setups or shutting down city streets, allow at least 2 weeks for permitting. It’s recommended to shoot downtown streets on a Saturday afternoon or a Sunday. Drone filming is permitted in South Africa. Please contact us for location specific information.

When to shoot? South Africa’s climate is generally sunny and pleasant, but there is considerable regional variation. The north-west is very arid, the south is temperate, and the north-east has a more tropical climate. Winters (May to August) are generally mild, particularly in the Western Cape. Most of the rest of the country receives only a brief cold spell, with snow falling on the mountain ranges. The rainiest months in Cape Town are May to August. Johannesburg receives most of its annual rainfall in the summer (November to March) making it a great weather film destination for the winter months. During mid-summer South Africa experiences 15 hours of daylight. For monthly weather statistics please see here.

Kaapse Klopse (Cape Minstrel Carnival) takes place in January. The Royal Reed Dance is a traditional Zulu event taking place in September.

Public holidays may affect timing, availability and costs. See here for public holiday dates in South Africa.

Costs. South Africa is a relatively cost efficient production centre given the rate of exchange of most currencies against the South African Rand. That, along with the established industry and professional infrastructure means South Africa offers great value for money. Our South African service producer / fixer will negotiate local deals and provide the appropriate level of production support to match every budget.

Talent. South Africa has a diverse range of people that can fulfill the majority of casting requirements from extras, to characters, to actors and models both local and international. A large number of international models spend the summer months in Cape Town. Talent is non-union and although buyouts are worked out on guideline percentages, these are somewhat negotiable.

South Africa is also home to a wealth of animal actors ranging from big safari animals through to domestic pets.

Crews. South Africa has a good pool of local directors, directors of photography and stills photographers. The majority have local and international experience. There is a great depth of skilled, hard working, dedicated, professional and technical crews. There are a number of DGA accredited ADs based in South Africa. Crews are non-union.

Contact us if you are looking for a Johannesburg, Cape Town and Durban based director, DP, photographer, videographer (cameraman / camera operator), camera assistant (focus puller), sound operator, grip, gaffer, stylist, hair and makeup, PA / runner, production driver, or any other film crew for your shoot in South Africa.

Fringes. No hidden extras.

Premiums. South Africa works on a 10 hour day with one hour break for lunch. Overtime is charged at time and a half for the next 4 hours and double time after that. Sundays, public holidays, the first night of a night shoot and the seventh consecutive day of filming are charged at time and a half. Gear checks, travel days and technical recces are charged at a half day rate providing they do not exceed 6 hours. Turnaround is 10 hours. Travel time is charged when the location is further than 40 minutes from the city centre. 

Equipment. As you would expect to find in any other established film production centre, South Africa has as an extensive range of standard and specialized camera, lighting and grip equipment available locally. Examples of available equipment include: Motion Control, Cineflex, Phantom, Red, and the Freedom Arm (a fully digital gyro-stabilized camera crane). For productions looking to bring in film equipment South Africa is an ATA carnet country.

Art department and set construction is of a very high standard. South African Art Directors have worked with most countries and are flexible and used to the demands of international clients both for commercials and features.

Studios and backlots. South Africa has various studio sizes from large sound stages to small pack shot studios.

Tax Incentives Depending on the type of production there are various tax incentives available for features in South Africa. 

Visit National Film and Video Foundation for more information.

Post Production. South Africa no longer has any labs. South Africa is a well established centre for post and animation with various options for VFX and CGI work.

Visas and Work Permits. Entry is subject to regulations from country of origin. Contact your local South African embassy or representative for more information. Generally speaking visiting crews are divided into an Oversight Group (i.e. client, agency and production company personnel) and the Specialist Group (i.e actors, models, directors, technicians and the art department).

The Oversight Group from visa exempt countries can travel to South Africa without pre-applying at a South African Embassy or Consulate and will be allowed entry by presenting the relevant form, their travel itinerary and a letter from the South African Production Company to the immigration officials at the airport, their passports will then be endorsed with the relevant authorisation.

The ‘Specialist Group’ must still apply, in advance, to their local South African Embassy or Consulate, however, the requirements are streamlined to the relevant form, travel itinerary and the letter from the South African Production Company.

Transportation Infrastructure. Main roads are up to international standards. Several international airlines service flights to South Africa.

Accommodation. South Africa offers a wide range of accommodation options including luxury hotels, business hotels, boutique hotels, villas, houses on the beach, and serviced apartments. Please contact us for film friendly hotels in Johannesburg and Cape Town. We are able to offer considerable discounts on the normal rack rates. Hotels of note include:

African Pride Melrose Arch Hotel, Johannesburg
The Peech Hotel, Johannesburg

Communication. Web posted casting, scouting and videoconferencing.

Safety. While South Africa does have a crime problem compared to some countries, most of the crime is isolated to certain areas. The country is far from lawless. South Africa continues to be an extremely popular filming destination with hundreds of productions shot and visiting producers returning frequently. See here for up to date travel advice.

Projects. For an example of TV commercials, stills campaigns, online content, corporate videos, virtual reality 360 content, feature films, TV series and documentaries shot in South Africa, please see below:

Down Time. Sunday afternoon braai with the locals with a glass of South African wine.

If you are looking for a film or photographic production service company, line producer or fixer in South Africa, please contact us.

We are able to provide you with answers, references and bids quickly.