DIOR: Charlize Theron interviews CTAOP scholars in celebration of International Womens’ Day

DIOR: Charlize Theron interviews CTAOP scholars in celebration of International Womens’ Day

We were proud to work with Capisco (Paris) & Dior – partner of the Charlize Theron Africa Outreach Project (CTAOP) – to capture this inspiring conversation a few weeks ago between Charlize Theron and 2 of the CTAOP scholars Chevario and Nokwanda in celebration of #internationalwomensday.

The interview (VIEW HERE) forms one of a series of short video portraits unveiled by Christian Dior Parfums that are shaped by the words of several extraordinary women.

Shot in Los Angeles and Cape Town with Capisco, Paris and Moonlighting, Cape Town.

#DIORSTANDSWITHWOMEN #DiorChinUp #southafricanproductionservices #southafricaisopenforbusiness #remotestreaming #remoteproduction

HOW FRUSTRATION LED TO INNOVATION (Or How we learned to shoot in a pandemic)

HOW FRUSTRATION LED TO INNOVATION (Or How we learned to shoot in a pandemic)

Moonlighting is no stranger to innovation.

In the late eighties, during a time of political isolation, we were one of the first production services companies in South Africa, showcasing the country’s diverse range of locations and talent to foreign filmmakers all over the world.

Fast-forward to February 2020, when our Chinese clients could not be physically present at their Cape Town shoot due to the beginning of the global pandemic. What followed was our first remote production and a whole new way of working. The then lesser-known Zoom played a major part and we even flew the head of Zoom’s South African subsidiary down from Johannesburg for the shoot!

Adaptability is in our DNA. Finding the best possible alternative to being physically present at a film shoot has been an invigorating process and the developments and systems that have emerged over the past 12 months have truly enabled us to move forward even through a global pandemic.

Communication channels are critical to success

We realized early on that streaming a video signal from the VT operator was only one of several vital components of the remote process. Critical to success was the ability to replicate the hierarchy and confidentiality of the communication channels for client, agency and production. The challenge was to develop a system that would keep all parties informed and able to participate as if they were present.

An “always on” approach

As a starting point we asked the question: “Where do these conversations generally take place?  On set? In the recce bus? At dinner? In boardrooms and wardrobe call-backs?” It quickly became clear that there needed to be an “always on” approach to these conversations. This, along with practical requirements such as backup power and a failover bandwidth supply, prompted us to centralize the communication facility.

Our technical provider and partner company – a sports broadcaster that pivoted to remote streaming for production – established a studio in our offices to do just that. By activating the conference facility before call-time, participants can dial in from anywhere in the world whenever they like; dipping in on their way to work; making comments between meetings, at the dinner table or travelling between sets.  When not streaming the VT image, information slides inform remote parties of the on-set status, where there could be a lunch break or a location move.

Evolving & enhancing the client experience

Replicating the experience here for our clients was not just centred around production. We recently arranged a virtual safari for our clients and agency in the US (albeit at midnight their time) while production in Cape Town moved location. Local film industry animal wrangler Luke Cornell joined us live from his incredible farm, “Cornellskop”, and introduced the clients to some of his animals.

Increasingly, we are asked to include live video streaming of cast call-backs, wardrobe fittings and behind the scenes activities.  We also established a secure area for product preparation where, via an HD-quality viewing platform, a remote client specialist was able to instruct our packs-person how to assemble their product.

No bandwidth, no comms.

Of course, none of this is possible without bandwidth. No bandwidth – no coms.  The ability to successfully harvest this resource has become a major consideration when choosing locations. Knowing where the cellular towers are, what provider is manning them, and testing strength on the technical recce is critical.  Mobile spectrum is in short supply in South Africa and we are only now beginning to see 5G in city centres.  In order to ensure the speed and robustness of our digital connections, bonding up to ten mobile signals has become a common and successful practice for us.  We recently established a microwave link across 35 miles of ocean to enable a 2-hour shoot on a remote beach and are currently preparing to stream proxy files to editors directly from the camera when Frame I.O. brings its facility online in March.

Innovation for today. But what about tomorrow?

Covid forced us to find new ways to continue production but far from disappearing as we find a way forward out of the pandemic, they are fast becoming an integral part of the new workflow. They have created new efficiencies in both cost and time as well as multiple new possibilities and are undoubtedly here to stay.  It’s a gratifying, if unexpected, result of the past 12 months as Moonlighting enters its 4th decade of serving our clients in the ever-changing world of filmmaking.

by Philip Key, CEO Moonlighting

Comments from clients:

“the infrastructure Moonlighting has set up for streaming for the Video Village is amazing and better than anything I have experienced. It’s really well set up and has worked really well.” Michaela McKee, EP 1stavemachine

We were able to have seamless communication with our team in SF who were joining remotely.” – Veronika Fontaine, Mekanism

 

 

 

CNN: “South Africa reminds us what is possible!”

CNN: “South Africa reminds us what is possible!”

CLICK HERE TO WATCH THE CNN REPORT or click on the image.

At last – the media is acknowledging South Africa’s low Covid numbers despite the so-called “South African variant”- and the success of wearing masks and social distancing. Thank you CNN! As medical commentator Dr Sanjay Gupta explains:  “They detected the variant in October, had a surge and now it’s come way way down. And that steep decline is not because of vaccines….This a reminder that basic public health measures work. South Africa reminds us what is possible”

 

 

Facts on shooting safely in South Africa + client feedback from 15 shoots for UK, USA, France and Italy as South African daily average Covid numbers right down by 92%

Facts on shooting safely in South Africa + client feedback from 15 shoots for UK, USA, France and Italy as South African daily average Covid numbers right down by 92%

As our 15th client team since November fly home after a successful shoot and fantastic time in South Africa, the news from South Africa is good. With all our clients and crew testing negative, South African numbers right down 92% from our early January peak and our vaccination drive in its second week, we thought it was definitely time for a catch up. Read on for client feedback and all the facts you need  – from which airlines are flying here to pre-shoot testing, streaming, Covid numbers and even  virtual safaris for the agency back home.

In the last 2 weeks, Moonlighting shot 4 projects from UK, USA and France concurrently; all directors and producers were in town with some agency here and some joining remotely. This came after shooting back-to-back since early November, through all levels of our second wave. For us, it confirmed that our clients had confidence in our South African teams to look after them and their projects; and that our crew & teams, like so many around the world, have fully adapted to production in times of Covid amid the strictest possible safety protocols.

Travel was an initial concern for many clients but proved to be worth it and many have chosen to stay on once here for multiple shoots. “Flying 30 hours in Covid times was daunting and it took a lot of convincing my family!” explains 1stAveMachine’s Michaela McKee. “But we need to work and get the job done. And I felt comfortable coming to a place where I know and trust everyone because of the relationship we have with Moonlighting. Once you’re here it’s still the same great teams, great crews and everyone is working so hard to keep everything safe and efficient.”

Successful streaming with multiple communication channels is a big priority. Michaela continues: “the infrastructure Moonlighting has set up for streaming for the Video Village is amazing and better than anything I have experienced. It’s really well set up and has worked really well.”. 

Our clients have experienced Cape Town safely while at its usual, hospitable best.

While we all wish we could be in CapeTown without any restrictions, we had a chance to see all the beautiful nature, all the different neighborhoods and beaches, and tried a few delicious restaurants. I felt like I had a complete Cape Town experience albeit with a mask. The restrictions are something we all learned to live with and are very comparable to what we have to follow in the US.” – Veronika Fontaine, Mekanism

Producer Rachel North confirmed: “…we talked about how much fun we had – it felt like going to camp everyday!  😀 We especially loved how tight the crew was and how happy they were on set like a big happy family.”

A word on the budget from our client from Frenzy in Paris:”Thank you very much for your work on this job. You managed to keep the budget despite numerous requests and changes. Amazing work!!!

And on the safety protocols: “Everything possible was done to keep us safe so I was able to work without being stressed by COVID.“: Maud Chalard, Director / Photographer

Read our A-Z of Facts on shooting in the time of Covid here.

Please contact Shayne@moonlighting.co.za or beccy@moonlighting.co.za if you have questions, need quotes or locations or just want to catch up.

 

 

FACTS A-Z: Shooting safely in South Africa now: from flights to streaming, Covid testing & virtual safaris …

FACTS A-Z: Shooting safely in South Africa now: from flights to streaming, Covid testing & virtual safaris …

AIRLINES: Lufthansa, Air France, Qatar Airlines are among the airlines that are flying in and out of South Africa, with Emirates resuming flights from 28 February and Qatar increasing to 28 weekly flights from 1st March. There have been many changes but replacement flights are always booked.

AIRPORTS AND IMMIGRATION: South Africa is open to all travellers (business and tourist) of all nationalities, subject to presentation of a negative PCR Covid test dated within 72 hours of their departure flight; the usual visa requirements apply. All arriving passengers will be screened at the airport; provided they do not have any symptoms and can present all necessary documents, they will be allowed to enter the country without any quarantine.

Where travellers must be able to prove that they are traveling for work. we have been providing invitation letters as well as the Visa Letters of Authority.

BEACHES: have remained open for filming throughout and are now fully open to the public.

BRINGING AFRICA TO THE AGENCY: for the agency and clients who cannot travel, we recently arranged a virtual safari with the film industry’s own Luke Cornell over lunchtime on one of our shoot days. One US client also arranged to have gift packs including some of the Moonlighting kit delivered to their clients in various cities in the USA.

COVID TESTING – Antigens & PCR Covid tests are readily available in South Africa. Testing crew with Antigens or PCR tests before a shoot is the “new normal” and crew are well-used to it. We arrange pre-flight PCR tests for our clients either at clinics or with doctors who come to them. To date, all crew and clients have tested negative, through our early January peak as well as now, at the end of our second wave.

COVID PROTOCOLS: NO MASK, NO ENTRY – Masks, social distancing and sanitizing are mandatory throughout South Africa. This has become very normal and it’s surprising how quickly we all get used to it.  At Moonlighting, we screen everyone when they arrive at the office and have created safe, screened workstations with numbers limited in all areas to allow several production teams to work comfortably and safely.

CURFEW: Our curfew applies from 11pm – 4am but can be worked around for shoots. Restaurants close slightly earlier than normal to allow staff to get home before curfew.

LEISURE TIME: We will let our client’s comments speak for themselves:

“While we all wish we could be in CapeTown without any restrictions, we had a chance to see all the beautiful nature, all the different neighborhoods and beaches, and tried a few delicious restaurants. I felt like I had a complete Cape Town experience albeit with a mask. The restrictions are something we all learned to live with and are very comparable to what we have to follow in the US.” – Veronika Fontaine, Mekanism

PRODUCTION SAFETY PROTOCOLS – We test all crew and talent prior to shooting. On shoot days, we employ Covid safety officers who screen all those who come to set upon arrival and who ensure that our government approved safety protocols are strictly followed at all times.   All locations are assessed by Covid safety officers to determine maximum safe numbers with a maximum limit of 75 at any one location or basecamp. Screening on arrival at set has been streamlined to ensure that it does not cause any delays.

RESTAURANTS: are all open and apply strict protocols. Tables are spaced out, all staff wear masks and patrons wear masks when they are not at their tables.

RESTRICTIONS: while officially on “Level 3” our restrictions are minimal and mainly based around social distancing and mask wearing. Gatherings are limited by numbers; we have a curfew from 11pm – 4am (which can be worked around for shoots); alcohol is available from liquor stores from Monday to Thursday and daily from restaurants and wine farms.

SHOPS: are all open. Numbers are limited to allow for social distancing and you must sanitise at the door.

SOUTH AFRICAN COVID NUMBERS:  our numbers are right down.  Numbers at 22 Feb are:

New cases: current daily rate of around 1200 new cases per day with a total of 42728 active cases. 

Western Cape: current daily rate of 110 – 250 new cases per day with approx. 4900 active cases.

When comparing numbers and deaths per million, South Africa remains much lower than many 1st world countries and our numbers continue to decline daily while essentially being open.

STREAMING: Moonlighting’s focus is on recreating the onset experience no matter where the participants are, with a robust video embedded communication system. 49 streaming days later with 100% uptime, we have managed to refine this into a world class offering. While no-one can 100% guarantee bandwidth, we have always managed to harvest it if it’s there. Even the notoriously difficult Kogelbaai Beach was conquered using a microwave link.  Our experience over the past few months’ shoots has covered the full range of situations and options; it’s like pioneering all over again!

Some client feedback on streaming:

“We were able to have seamless communication with our team in SF who were joining remotely.” – Veronika Fontaine, Mekanism

“the infrastructure Moonlighting has set up for streaming for the Video Village is amazing and better than anything I have experienced. It’s really well set up and has worked really well.”- Michaela McKee, 1stAveMachine

VACCINATION PROGRAMME: South Africa’s vaccination drive is in its second week with vaccines that have been proved to be effective against the so-called South African variant. South Africa has so far secured 9 million J&J vaccines, some 20 million Pfizer vaccines, a further 12 million from the global WHO COVAX scheme and more through the African Union.

VILLAS & HOTELS – most hotels are open and offering competitive rates. Some clients – especially those who have come for a few projects – have chosen to stay in gorgeous villas with pools and are making the most of the South African summer.

VIRUS VARIANTS: there has been much talk of the South African variant which, international scientists have emphasised, was discovered here but did not necessarily originate from here. South Africans are being vaccinated with vaccines that have been proven to be effective against the variant.

“Despite the news regarding this new variant of Covid, I never felt in danger because everything had been put in place to ensure that we were as safe as possible. I was able to focus on the work without being stressed by Covid.” – Maud Chalard, Photographer / Director

 

 

TRAVEL REQUIREMENTS and visas (updated 24 Nov)

TRAVEL REQUIREMENTS and visas (updated 24 Nov)

TRAVEL REQUIREMENTS and visas

South Africa is open and it’s business as usual for film industry travellers and tourists from all countries. Read our walkthrough covering visas and COVID requirements.

No quarantine is required unless you fail to produce a negative test or show symptoms on arrival – see below.  

NEW COVID REQUIREMENTS FOR ALL TRAVELLERS

  • A certified, negative PCR Covid test, dated no more than 72 hours before departure.
  • Proof of accommodation.
  • Proof of travel insurance with proven cover for personal Covid expenses (medical expenses, quarantine etc). 

ON ARRIVAL

  • All passengers will be screened upon arrival in South Africa. Provided you show no symptoms and have presented a negative PCR Covid test, then you will be permitted to proceed into arrivals. No quarantine required.
  • Anyone showing any possible Covid symptoms will be required to go into mandatory self-isolation (at their own accommodation) until they test negative. Moonlighting will assist you at all times in this.
  • All travellers must download the Covid App on arrival purely for any track and trace requirements. We will send you the details.

VISA REQUIREMENTS ARE THE SAME AS USUAL

Nationals of a visa-exempt country: if you are categorised as “Oversight” (this includes producers, directors, DPs, agency and clients), then you will need to present an Oversight Visa Authority letter to immigration upon arrival, as usual. No need to visit the Embassy. As your service company, we will provide this Letter of Authority for you. 

Travellers from non-visa exempt countries and any crew categorised as “specialist” (including talent) will need to apply to their nearest South African Embassy in person for a visa, as before. 

Please don’t hesitate to contact us if you have any concerns or questions about any of the requirements. Beccy is your go-to person for this and she will walk you through every step of the process. Reach her at beccy@moonlighting.co.za

Feel free to get in touch any time if you’ve got questions or want us to quote on a board. We’re #reloaded

For questions or more info about any travel and visa requirements, contact Beccy at beccy@moonlighting.co.za. For production info and bids, contact Shayne at shayne@moonlighting.co.za

REMOTE PRODUCTION & its unexpected benefits

SAFETY IS KEY: pandemic proof production protocols

THE EXCHANGE RATE ADVANTAGE: up to 23% cheaper than in 2019

SHOCKPROOF: Moonlighting’s approach to a changing world

10 REASONS WHY South Africa is still the best production destination in the world

SOUTH AFRICA praised by the World Health Organisation