The arrival of lockdown due to the coronavirus pandemic altered the originally planned, second season finale of The Bachelor South Africa.
The Rapid Blue production team had to adapt and change the gameplan in putting upcoming finale on M-Net together.
Some of the challenges ranged from having to deal with the ladies stuck in place because of lockdown across South Africa and Namibia, making it impossible to get them all back for a "Women Tell All" studio-seated reunion.
The show also had to help them find their way through do-it-yourself video set-ups, providing them with Zoom "finishing school" masterclasses.
Then there was also the race against time to get equipment to locations, while trying to direct and edit a fitting finale without making it come across as a low-resolution clip show filled with webcam content.
On Thursday evening viewers will be able to tune in for the second season finale as an hourlong "lockdown episode" on M-Net.
With a limitation on travel in cities, no domestic flights, and an ongoing ban regarding travel across provinces still in effect in South Africa – combined with strict social distancing rules – it is impossible to reveal, even if it was known, whether Marc will appear in-person in any post-Covid-19 scenes with either or both Marisia, or Bridget who are the last two women left.
M-Net is only willing to confirm that "Marc will be speaking to the final two ladies in some way or another while being in lockdown at his home".
ZHOOSING UP FOR ZOOM
In terms of the production challenges around prepping and recording the finale, M-Net tells Channel24 that "Marc and all the various ladies have remained in lockdown at home or with loved ones".
"Andeline, for example, went to her family in Namibia just before lockdown had started and some of the ladies, who found love after not receiving a rose on the show, found new love and are spending lockdown with their new beaus," says M-Net.
"A special shout out as well to soldier Tamryn from Pretoria who has been working keeping South Africans safe."
Asked about challenges the production says that doing The Bachelor SA finale in the time of Covid-19 presented a couple of challenges since it was completely new territory.
"Some of the challenges included communicating with the various ladies and obtaining various responses timeously, establishing their data connection speeds and access to technological equipment, and delivering relevant equipment within lockdown protocol where necessary."
The women who are video-calling in, now have to do their own hair and make-up, and styling.
Of course video conference call etiquette classes is something that has suddenly become a much-needed requirement for reality TV stars when they are filmed remotely from their homes.
There are no floor managers and production assistants who can rush in from the off-camera side-closet or who can peek out from behind the bookshelf to make adjustments to webcam heights or to try and improve audio feeds.
Neither are there make-up artists who can quickly rush on-set to do powder touch-ups during ad breaks.
It was necessary to do some training for the women "on how best to present themselves during a Zoom interview and being cognisant of backgrounds, camera positions and posture," says the show.
"The most difficult part was putting together a high-quality production that allowed the ladies to be part of the show given the challenges of lockdown," says M-Net.
Host Jason Greer filmed the final interviews in-studio with the correct Covid-19 health and safety protocols that were followed and permits in place, with M-Net that says that the look and feel of the studio for the second season finale is on par with The Bachelor SA brand identity. "We believe that viewers will really enjoy this unique finale".
WATCH A TEASER HERE:
Tune in to The Bachelor SA season 2 finale Thursday at 19:00 on M-Net (DStv 101)