Get out and shoot
As the Lockdown restrictions continue to ease – You need a company who is prepared, confident and safe to get back to shooting with. Straight away we started looking into ways to shoot safely with a continuing threat of Covid-19 in mind. We think future success is all in the planning. Things aren’t going to be “normal” for a while but we have always embraced new challenges and why should this be any different. With the right people, a wealth of information from official sources, safety in mind and bags of creative thinking.
Our production team possesses an in depth knowledge of Covid risk management protocols & procedure. We have all undertaken the APA Covid-19 Assessment which enables qualification as a Covid Supervisor, as well as receiving certification from First Option Safety Consultants for the successful completion of their ‘Managing COVID-19 Risks on Production’ course.
Safety procedure overview
- A dedicated member of the team assigned as a ‘Covid steward’. This persons role will be to monitor the whole shoot and ensure that all protocols are being observed, spot any infringements and keep production informed. They will also be responsible for monitoring for any symptoms and cleaning any high traffic areas on an hourly basis.
- On-set social distance rules of ‘1 METRE PLUS’ wherever possible. In that we mean that crew should maintain 2m distancing but where that can‘t be achieved, 1m with mitigated risk will be in place.
- Reduced crew sizes will probably be necessary for some time yet – This is definitely achievable with the right planning.
- PPE – Face masks and gloves will be provided and MANDATORY for all crew and cast where possible. When social distancing isn’t achievable we will require enhanced levels of PPE. (eg. Full face shields)
- Multiple ‘Hygiene Stations’. Areas strategically placed around set for hand sanitising and providing anti-bacterial wipes for individuals to clean surfaces.
- Whenever shooting is indoors we will go to great lengths to maximise ventilation at all times. This could be opening windows in buildings or studio doors between every take.
- Information is key. We will have rules and restrictions clearly signed throughout set.
- Extensive collaboration with suppliers who are well prepared to meet and even exceed the hygiene standards necessary to ensure a safe working environment.
Working very closely with experienced and trusted location managers to work within safe and secure locations that can be properly managed to accommodate crew numbers and everybody’s personal safety effectively. Obviously exterior locations are easier to maintain social distancing etc.. Our Location managers are fully up to speed with all of the new challenges they face – from unit base distances to mobile phone reception for video streaming. They’re ready.
Speaking of video streaming – that’s going to be pretty essential! We’ve already mentioned the extra consideration given to areas of good reception. Again working with proven suppliers and crew we’ll facilitate live picture streaming to any and all parties who are no longer safely able to attend set – but we’ll also use similar technology to turn phones and tablets into monitors, further reducing the groups of people gathered around the fixed one’s that are still on set.
Catering will be provided pre-packaged and ready to collect. We’ll also work to stagger people’s meal times to minimise person to person contact.
Crew welfare is essential in these difficult times. On top of health declarations well in advance of the shoot, we’ll check in specifically with every single member of the team on the day before the shoot. Come the shoot, people will be required to submit themselves for temperature checks when they arrive at set. For these systems to work, it’s important to make sure crew know they are supported so that if they feel at all unwell that they will report it immediately or not attend set at all.
A lot of locations we may have used previously will be unavailable until we can safely access them. As mentioned before though, our location teams are already hard at work sourcing and securing locations that can be utilised safely and creatively.
Permits are being processed extremely slowly – if at all. Extra time should be given between confirming locations and the shoot to allow for this. We’ll also make sure we offer and pencil a viable alternative location in case there are any issues.
A great advantage of shooting from Manchester is that there is a huge variety of location types to be found within 1-2 hours travel. This allows for great diversity of shooting without the need for overnight accommodation of crew.
When shooting inside locations, where possible, we will have a team clean thoroughly before and after shooting.
Provisions made, where possible, to have crew ‘holding areas’ outside any location. Minimal crew to be inside any location at any time.
Another advantage of shooting in Manchester is the abundance of areas available for unit bases – working closely with the locations department again, we will organise unit base and parking facilities within walking distance of set at every available opportunity.
A lot of the working practices from shooting on locations will still be applicable to studio shooting, as well. We will work with studio managers to try and mark out areas for different crew members/teams – This will help maximise social distancing. Again, ventilation will be essential. If necessary we will have a member of the team open the loading doors between every take or set up.
Whenever crew aren’t directly working they will be asked to step outside. As with location days we will try to arrange pre-light and set build days to minimise the amount of people working on set together at one time. It should be fairly simple to stagger some call times to minimise the number of people loading in at any one time.
We anticipate that there are going to be a whole variety of occasions when, even with the precautions laid out in this breakdown, it will not be feasible to shoot in a conventional way. In response to this we have an equally wide range of solutions available in collaboration with regular and trusted suppliers.
We can offer remote camera packages that can be operated from outside of a location.
Drones are a great way to shoot at a distance and with remote operation – we work with some of the best teams in the business!
Maybe your clients or even your director won’t be able to physically attend the shoot. Again, we have extremely robust and versatile systems available to minimise the impact of these divides.
From remote video streaming solutions to on-line clip access and video conferencing options.
Everything from Recce’s and castings, to fittings and production meetings can be accommodated remotely.
Hair, Make-Up & Wardrobe
All of our make-up supervisors and their teams have been working diligently behind the scenes for a return to action. The guidelines on cast specific kits will be implemented and all team members have undertaken extra Covid safety training.
Obviously, 2 metre distancing will often not be possible in these departments. When this is the case – extra PPE will we worn including full face shields. The usual standard of hand sanitising will ALWAYS be exceeded in these departments.
Where possible teams will be properly staffed to allow for on-set workers to be separate from the members of the team working at base.
As with many areas, sourcing clothes will potentially take longer than it did previously. Time should be taken to confirm outfits with as much notice as possible. Where possible outfits will be sourced from suppliers that we can control the amount of contact with clothes and cleanliness – for example, good hire companies with excellent Covid procedures already in place.
Wardrobe to be steamed and kept separate for each artist. When it simply isn’t feasible to work even with these extra precautions it is still possible to work with our greatly experienced crew to assist in enabling actors to apply their own make-up and even select clothes from their existing wardrobe.
Art Department & Props
We’ve touched on it earlier in this breakdown, but we will always strive to make the time available for the Art Department to “pre-build” sets and locations ahead of shooting.
When shooting we’ll make sure the excellent Art teams that we’re used to working with have the crew available so that ONLY THEY TOUCH AND MOVE PROPS.
Once again, we will be using trusted suppliers of props who can control their Covid procedures effectively. Where props need to be purchased, this will also take longer than is usual. We’ll remain alert to this and, as with the other delayed areas, push for early confirmation on items so that we can deliver everything you require.
Some equipment has to be be hired in – where this is necessary and crew aren’t using their own kit, we have already been involved in lengthy discussions with our most trusted suppliers. Very stringent procedures have been put in place to cover everything from kit sanitation, to safe delivery. Where possible kit should booked for longer periods to cover a quarantine period before shooting.
Walkie Talkies are undoubtedly an item that need extra consideration to ensure their safe distribution and handling. The company we use have a very strict plan in place. This includes sanitation, individually bagged items and rotated equipment to ensure used items are out of circulation for 72+ hrs. A copy of their procedures is available on request.
We will also make sure that walkies are labelled CLEARLY for each crew member. This will reduce the risk of crew accidentally using another persons’.
We’ve already touched on this but meals will be pre-boxed and made available for collection to avoid queues at catering.
We will make sure crew bring their own reusable cups and bottles. We will however have spares for emergencies. Crew welfare remains a priority. Menu’s will be distributed digitally and we will investigate the option of pre-ordering whenever possible.
Any snacks and drinks area will have limited access and be sanitised multiple times each hour. There will also be products available for people to clean water coolers before each use.
Where catering isn’t possible, crew will be instructed to bring food from home and a ‘Per Diem’ will be provided in this instance.
NO UNWRAPPED FOOD TO BE LEFT OUT AT ANY TIME.
All crew and cast will be contacted ahead of any shoot to be briefed on all of our on set procedures and expectations. Following this they will also be asked to sign a health declaration stating that they have shown no symptoms of Covid-19, not been in contact with anyone showing symptoms and not travelled to any high risk areas in the last 14 days.
All crew will also be required to sign a post shoot waiver stating that all procedures have been fully complied with and that their well being was prioritised throughout the shoot.
Any crew that are uncomfortable with any of these declaration or waiver forms will unfortunately not be allowed on to the shoot.
Multiple, extremely detailed and in-depth risk assessments will be compiled (including one dedicated to recognising risks purely associated with COVID) and shared with every member of cast and crew, well in advance, for each shoot that we do. We will encourage all recipients to come back to us with any issues that they may feel could arise which have been overlooked.
Shorter shooting days should be considered. Less time in groups will reduce the potential viral load of any exposure but also; excessive tiredness will likely lead to decreased concentration and awareness of risks.
Wherever is necessary we will consider the extra budget needs for cleaning time etc.. This includes equipment and locations.
We are working VERY CLOSELY with local hotels and monitoring their Covid-19 policies. This will ensure that we are able to provide the safest accommodation possible for any crew travelling to Manchester.
Post-shoot we will advise crew members on best practices to minimise their continued risk to potential exposure. This will include things like changing and washing clothes immediately after each shoot day, sanitising before getting back into their vehicle and cleaning personal items – particularly mobile phones.
As well as the need to secure sign off well in advance of any shoot, reduced crews and remote clients will undoubtedly slow the shoot itself down. Wherever possible we should definitely consider shooting over more days than would usually be the case.
Post-shoot, if any member of cast or crew develops any symptoms or is contacted by the UK’s “Track and Trace” system then we will contact everyone else who attended the shoot and advise them to self isolate or seek a test or medical advise themselves.