Written by Tom Deehan on Nov 19, 2015. Posted in On Location

Farm Film shoots Nissan commercial on location in South Africa

The Farm Film Productions recently serviced a Nissan commercial on location in South Africa for Wanda Films Paris. TLG spoke to Farm Film’s Line Producer Craig Siney about the production process.

What specific locations did you use for the commercial?

We shot in the Cape Town City Bowl area. We shot on country roads, mountain passes, in a Quarry and in the Delta 200 Dropzone, as well as in the Cape Town Film Studios.

Why were these locations chosen, did tax incentives play a role in that decision?

The locations were chosen as they best served the creative of the film and allowed us the freedom to dress and film in order to make the locations within the film universal. The campaign was aimed at a worldwide audience and thus we couldn’t narrow our locations down to a Cape Town or London or Paris setting, we required the locations to be diverse enough that they appealed to a global audience.

How difficult was it to film the helicopter and quarry scenes?

The helicopter sequences involved numerous pre-production meetings in order to lock down the exact timings and filming locations as we were limited to filming at either dusk or dawn in order to allow the Post Production team to grade the footage to night, as required by the story timeline. This timeframe creates its own challenges as the helicopter was restricted from taking off or landing 15 minutes either side of sunrise or sunset - Our timings needed to be exact in order to maximise our aerial filming.

The aerial filming for the skydiving sequences was the most crucial aspect of pre-production as we had to be specific in terms of positioning and safety of a helicopter a few thousand feet off the ground in amongst skydivers falling from a plane. We had our skydiving coordinator based in the chopper during rehearsals and filming to ensure that our pilot and cameraman had an exact positioning of each skydiver so that our chopper would keep well away until the skydiver was in a safe position for us to approach for filming.

Our quarry location had its own unique challenges as we needed to redress this location to replicate a cliff edge for the creative of the film. In order to achieve the dressing, lighting, pack our "cliff edge" with our actors, extras, hero Nissan vehicles, whilst also filming in the pitch black of night - we had numerous site visits in order to ascertain how best to achieve the creative of the film, whilst also ensuring the safety of our cast and crew.

We had stunt coordinators and riggers setting up a 55 ton crane which suspended a hot air balloon basket 50 feet off the ground, as well as 3 x 21m+ Manitou Cherry Pickers which were used for the sole purpose of raising our lights high enough out of frame so that we had a wider filming scope during the night shoot.

Overall, I am still amazed at how we overcame the logistical challenges of getting all of our gear, crew, cast and vehicles into the location and still allowing the director the creative freedom to work in an almost 360 degree filming environment. Credit for this needs to go to our Locations team, technical crew and the Stunt Coordinator on the job.

What separates South Africa from other potential filming locations?

South Africa has the diversity on offer which allows our clients, whether they are from the USA, Europe or Asia, to have a wide variety of location options all within a relatively close proximity to one another. We could be dressing Miami in Camps Bay in the morning and filming the Scottish countryside in Stellenbosch in the afternoon.

No matter how many times we have clients returning for shoots, they are always blown away with the variety and options South Africa has on offer, and I’d like to believe that even for clients that film in South Africa numerous times a year, they are still finding new locations that they didn’t know about and so their ideas and looks are always fresh.

In addition to our dynamic spread of locations the first world film infrastructure that exists in Cape Town is very hard to beat and with the Rand being a relatively weak currency you get a lot more spending power. Typically our spend is around half, apples for apples, the spend of a shoot in London or LA.


Company/Product: Nissan

Advertising Agency: TBWA Paris/London

International Production Company: Wanda Films

South African Production Company: The Farm Film Productions


You can follow Farm Film on Tumblr and Instagram.

Tumblr - @farmfilm

Instagram - @farmfilmsa


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