Adventures in Dog-Sitting

If I could change form for a day, I have always debated whether I would want to be a bird or a family dog. Naps, belly rubs, walks, massages, playtime and treats…sounds like an amazing life, but flying is also pretty cool. Now that I’ve seen Dave Meinert’s incredible new music video for “Hearts” by Johnny Neon, I can say that I would choose the canine path! The video follows a young dog named Lemon through a fun-filled adventure all over Cape Town, meeting new canine and human friends, soaking up the sun, and splashing around at the beach.

Dave Meinert, a director and filmmaker based in Cape Town, South Africa, focuses mainly on performance and character-based work and directs commercials and music videos for a living. He serendipitously was asked to conceptualize a music video for his good friend, Johnny, of Johnny Neon, the same weekend he was dog-sitting for his buddy Will. At first, he was just going to make a video to prove to Will that he actually did walk Lemon, so he fashioned a camera rig out of a shin guard pop-riveted to a dog’s H-harness.

Once Meinert saw onlooker’s reactions to the friendly pooch, the cogs started turning and he knew that this was more than a dog-sitter’s alibi. Rest assured, PETA, Lemon loved wearing her harness, since she is a mix of worker breeds. Meinert tried the rig on several other dogs but Lemon’s rigid back was perfect for the get-up and her ears were just right for his vision.

Meinert likes to keep the home-made set-up photos a secret, as to not “break the illusion of what we see on the video.” Getting the rig to work was a process of trial and error and he thought about giving up many times, but thoughts of those reactions in public kept him going. I am very grateful for his perseverance, bringing us a music video that fits perfectly with Johnny Neon’s happy, upbeat song.

Meinert says of his experience:

One of the best things was shooting the video. I would let her walk in front of me or on her own a bit and people would stop and stare. Cars even pulled over and took photos. Again, she loved it! The video is about a dog that has fun so I just let her have fun, basically, and then shot some specific narratives clues in there. Johnny (of Johnny Neon) stars in this video as the lead. The rest are friends, and people who Lemon made friends with. I built a story around it but essentially, I just wanted to make it about a dog who has a blast.

Strapping a camera on Lemon is just one of Dave Meinert’s many brilliant shot ideas. In his Lark “Stole the Moon” video, he captures an amazing aerial view from 78,000 feet in the air. Be sure to check out this and more of Dave’s ingenious camera work on his website.


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