In 1996, after completing a Foundation Course in Video Production and an Introduction to TV Production course at the Community Video Educational Trust in Cape Town, he started working as a freelance video editor and producer on many corporate and broadcast TV projects. This included producing an hour long, live television broadcast of a nightlife entertainment show called “021 Live” on SABC 3. This showcased some of Cape Town’s top musicians, performing live on stage.
He was invited to join the National Television Video and Association (which is now a defunct SA television and video industry organization) and held the Western Cape chapter’s portfolio for Training and Development for many years. He started and managed a very successful music video workshop which offered an opportunity for beginners and student members of the NTVA, to work on a full scale professional music video production, with the assistance and guidance of seasoned professionals in the local film and television industries. This workshop produced music videos for South African musicians including Grammy nominated Jonathan Butler.
Kodak’s Professional Imaging Division invited Siraaj to do a similar training project, this time giving experienced videographers the opportunity to learn how to use Panavision film cameras with 35mm Kodak film stock. This project was also used to jump start the Kwazulu Natal commercial film services industry, as this music video production workshop created the perfect opportunity to work out the logistics involved in servicing long and short filming projects in KZN area. The result included a music video for a popular SA musician called Ismail and a film equipment rental company called Media Film Service opening up a branch in KZN.
Siraaj then joined eTV News, South Africa’s first privately owned independent national broadcaster, as a video editor, where he worked for 4 years. Highlights working there included being chosen as one of two video editors to work on the 2002 FIFA World Cup production team, hosted by South Korea & Japan. He also video edited the eTV news documentaries on Chris Hani and the big SA arms deal expose about Mo Shaik.
After relocating to Johannesburg in 2003, he left eTV News to freelance, which resulted in him securing a contract to train SABC news linear video editors to migrate to non-linear video editing on the Pinnacle video editing system. He was also required to train the tech support staff on this video system so that they would be able to solve future troubleshooting queries.
Thereafter, he moved to SuperSport and became one of their non-linear super users, responsible for training new video editors. Besides being a sports highlights video editor, he quickly proved his experience and skill and was promoted to Edit Producer with the responsibility of managing the video editing team and to quality control all sport highlights content across all the SuperSport channels.
Once his time came to an end at SuperSport, he freelanced again and ended up in Uganda working for RP Productions, training locals how to video edit for a weekly soccer highlights sports show for an African satellite broadcaster called GTV.
Once back in South Africa, he was the senior video editor for the first rugby reality TV show called “Up and Under” which was produced by Rapid Blue, and was broadcast on SABC 2.
He then entered the online video content industry as the Multimedia Manager at Times Media Live (Avusa Media Live) and managed a small group of dedicated and inexperienced video journalists, who produced award winning online video news content for the TimesLive and SowetanLive news websites.
After being retrenched, he then became the Facilities Manager for Endemol SA, a company that produces big TV shows like “Isidingo” and reality TV shows like “Big Brother Africa” etc. Here, he drew up strategic upgrade plans for their ailing post -production facility, which was successfully implemented to cater for Endemol’s increased reality TV post production needs.
He then answered the call to go back to producing online video content by becoming the Multimedia Manager at the South African Press Association (SAPA) and managed another team of inexperienced video journalists.
This fun-filled 17 year journey in the South African media industry, has allowed him to be part of many of South Africa’s pioneer projects and events, and he has now decided to share his world via this blog.
Feel free to follow Siraaj Cassiem on Twitter @siraajcassiem