After COVID: How can we make on location filming safe?


With the UK tentatively coming out of lock down I thought it was a good time to write about something that has crossed my mind a number of times whilst being at home.... How can we make on location filming safe?


Pre Production

Stage one will be before we even arrive on location. More meetings will be held via zoom, health and safety will become even more important (expect to see h&s forms asking about any shielded members of staff) and ensuring there is a safe space for the crew to get ready. Regular opportunities to wash hands will be a vital part of the day and added to the production schedule to keep everyone safe.


Morning Of The Shoot

A call ahead of time to the client would be the next most obvious first step on the day of the shoot. During this call we would confirm that we are fit and healthy. Our client would also need to confirm that they are happy for us to arrive and that the location is safe.


Arrival

Expect face masks, gloves, hand gel and anti bacterial wipes to become a standard part of the kit. When we arrive we would meet our point of contact, go to our safe area and get setup with ppe.


Filming - Inside Location

Especially in the early days filming may have to consist of a few key areas cleared of all but essential staff. Most shots will be captured on our long lens (otherwise know as a zoom lens!). I always like to leave a location how I found it but this may also include a quick wipe down of any surfaces I’ve been using.


Filming - Outside Location

The only thing more difficult that controlling an inside location is controlling and outside location. Again this will mainly be long lens shots captured at a safe distance in an area where we can control public interaction. I expect it will be much harder to get filming permission for the foreseeable as introducing a crew into a public area might send red flags to the council.


Filming - Studio

The number of people present during a studio shoot will have to be brought down to the absolute essentials. Sparks and gaffers may be on hand but asked to wait in a side room until needed between shots.


Interview Setups

Probably the most difficult part of preparing a shoot post-covid is the interview as we will be face to face with the talent and interviewing through a mask just may not work. Radio mics and boom mics will be set up ahead of time with the talent coming in after, taking their place and being kept a good distance away.

That’s a Wrap! - Leaving

Packing away kit will also include wiping down any surfaces so we don’t bring anything back to the studio and of course disposing of used PPE before leaving too.


Follow Up

A follow up call to the location would be a good idea a few days after to ensure no staff are sick or may have passed anything on or ensuring that everyone must report any illness to the producer so they can isolate themselves.

So, in an ideal world this and probably more will all need to be implemented to keep everyone healthy and safe. With the safety of the crew and the client always being top of our agenda this is another challenge we will face and adapt to.


Have any suggestions or insights into health and safety during filming? Or looking for a filmmaker For your next project - visit my contact page.


Picture by Sam McGhee via Unsplash

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