The Ambassador – in Search of White Gold


Well known Cape Town based Two Oceans Production (TOP) has been busy
shooting a made-for-television film for German Broadcaster ZDF. This is a co-
production between South Africa and Germany called The Ambassador – In
Search of White Gold, shot in Cape Town and Pietermaritzburg.

As it was winter / spring in Cape Town the crew utilised the dry season in
Pietermaritzburg to establish a more “African’ look and feel. They wanted to
show a lot of “Big Five’ wild animal action, which can’t be found in Cape Town.

“We used 16mm Kodak film stock – 50 ASA, 250 ASA and 500 Tungsten,’ says
line producer Marco le Roux. “The camera was an Arri 416. The producer decided
on the format as he believes it is currently the most cost effective for the
required end result. We investigated the possibility of using HD on the Arri Alexa
but decided against it due to availability and costs. The DOP opted to use the
Arri 416 for its relatively small size as we had many scenes inside cars with
limited workspace.

“The DOP also wanted a light camera to do some handheld work. Having a
limited budget however does restrict choice; therefore we had to find the best
option that would meet the technical requirements. The DOP, Dragan Ragulj, is
based in Germany.’

Camera support equipment was vital. Le Roux explains: “We used the Magnum
Dolly as this gives the DOP more control over his movement as it is mostly
controlled by him. A giraffe crane was also utilised for wide shots. Besides that
we used a number of speciality set ups like Slide & Glide, Dancefloor, Easyrig
and a bell 206 Jetranger helicopter for the money shots.

“Cinegate Afrika supplied the camera and lighting gear. The DOP and the gaffer
prepared the required gear list. This was negotiated with the rental house and
we did the standard developing, telecine and uploading at Waterfront Post. We
have worked with them for many years and have built a strong business


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here