Filming Dinner Date SA

Season one of Dinner Date South Africa has just finished airing on SABC3 and, like the rest of the country, the Incubate Video Crew got a real taste for it.

In fact we got more than just a taste for it, we got a mouth full of it. In final tally Our DoP and Camera Assistant were responsible for filming 60 pre-date inserts, large meaty chunks of the winner / loser reveals and a healthy portion of the final romantic (or un-romantic) restaurant dates.

We've filmed for a lot of TV productions but Dinner Date South Africa gave us a little more to chew on. In total it ended up being an 8 week shoot that resulted in over 4000kms crisscrossing Gauteng from Pretoria to Vanderbijlpark and every place in between. We data wrangled 5TB of footage to 10 separate drives and then backed that up to another 10 drives. Consumed a wad of paper producing call sheets, used a ton of mobile data checking in on contestants, ate too many petrol station pies and and tested clinical boundaries chugging back Red Bulls.

Was it worth it? Too right it was. Not only was it a fun project to work on but it also reminded us of how fantastic the people are in Johannesburg. We filmed them all, the straight, the gay, black, white, male, female, dog lovers, cat people, foodies and those who wouldn't know the recipe for cheese on toast. Each and every person we filmed was a star in their own unique way, each person had a smile and each was a pleasure to work with. In fact Dinner Date was made for South Africa, it's the perfect visual vehicle to show of the diversity of our people and the quirkiness that makes us such a special group.

So what gear did our TV crew use? This video shoot was the epitome of run and gun and there's only one camera that we swear by for that kind of filming... the Sony PXW-FS5. It just has everything you need to make life easier, like electronic ND, small form factor and a great 10bit codec. The rest of the gear was made up with the RodeMic wireless lav, Manfrotto tripod and the light weight Aputure Amaran lights.

Charles Meadows is part owner, part DoP, part creative person at Incubate Video Productions in Johannesburg, South Africa. Find out more about him and his company at

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