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Guideline for Film & Video Production During COVID- 19
We need a guideline for film & video production during Covid-19 before we have medication, vaccination, and enough tests available. I started it and now it is a Google Doc, open to comments by industry safety experts and crew members.

A detailed copy of this is in a Google Doc for you to comment on. 

I invite you to supplement these guidelines with your ideas, your comments, and suggestions.

I mentioned the major economic effect of stopping the entertainment business and shared ideas from productions around the globe to ease back into production.

I truly believe that we all have a responsibility to think of safe and contagion-free ways to restart the film & video production business once the legal ban is lifted. 

I believe it is by understanding the virus, the guidelines from the local officials, and what successful production entails.

I briefly touched on

1- Learning how Covid-19 spreads and understanding the guidelines

2- How other Production companies are approaching the pandemic

I present you the current version of the Guideline for Film & Video Production during Covid-19 for fellow producers, creatives, and cast & crew members. 

Keep in mind, this guideline is drafted with the consideration of the worst-case scenario we are in. Before we have any medication, vaccination, or access to free tests for everyone.

So basically, in a classic producer fashion, we are going to assume the worst in our current situation and we are going to discuss what our options are to restart video production.

 

10 Rules for Production During Pandemic

 

1- Keep 6 feet distance

Production must enable the required social distancing of 6 feet.

2- Cover your face

Everyone must be covering their face (with cloth covers or masks)

  • Except for cast when in front of the camera

3- Adhere to local laws

The maximum number of people on set (cast & crew) should adhere to local law.

4- Stay home if you are at-risk

Anyone

  • suspecting they may have contacted the virus or 
  • showing symptoms (i.e., fever, cough, or shortness of breath) or
  • believing to have increased risk 

should stay at home.

Anyone who shows symptoms upon arrival at work or who becomes sick during the day should immediately be sent home.

5- Do not force or feel pressure

No one should be forced or pressured to report back to any environment they don’t feel safe in.

6- Wash your hands

Production must provide soap and water in the workplace. 

If soap and water are not readily available, alcohol-based hand sanitizer that is at least 60% alcohol should be provided.

Cast & Crew are encouraged to frequently and thoroughly wash their hands.

7- Use Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)

For crew members that are handling items that other people will touch,production should supply gloves (and other applicable personal protective equipment (PPE). 

For example, all catering crew, the majority of the PA’s, and the Cleaning Crew will need gloves.

The crew member must clean hands after removing gloves and other PPE.

8- Disinfect regularly

Items and surfaces that are frequently touched must be cleaned and disinfected daily.

Crew members will be discouraged to share equipment and tools. 

Crew members who touch the same equipment due to the nature of the shoot (such as members of Camera, Sound, Set Construction departments) should clean and disinfect the gears before and after use.

9- Be responsible, know the guidelines

Cast & Crew should be educated in CDC guidelines and local laws during pre-production and production.

Safety meetings should include basic preventative measures.

10- Use common sense 

We know every film shoot is different. Use common sense and commitment to minimize the spread of COVID-19.

 

What Production Companies can do

 

Stay Informed 

  • Stay informed about the Covid-19 and Local Regulations.
    • Transmissibility, severity, and other features of COVID-19 and investigations are ongoing.
  • Know the latest developments in testing technology and available resources for your productions.
  • Stay informed about the plans of your mayor/governor and your local film permit office.

Create with common sense

  • When it comes to what will be in front of the camera, consider being conscious of the regulations and risks.
  • Avoid scenes that cannot uphold social distancing safely. (For example, Night club, church congregation,  riot scenes)
  • Consider avoiding physical intimacy scenes where one actor is touching another’s face.
  • Avoid situations that can cause cast & crew to cough or compromise their immunity (ie. smoke machines)

Cast & Prepare Virtually and Apart

  • Casting should be done remotely over video conferences or using self-tapes.
  • For casting that requires a physical touch on the screen, consider casting members of the same household.
  • Consider avoiding casting individuals belonging to a “high-risk group”.
  • For all pre-production meetings, use video conferencing tools 
    • For pre-production meetings that require physical presence (Location Scouts, Camera Prep) wear masks and stay 6 feet apart.

Choose Locations Accordingly

Choose locations where you have

  • Access to soap and water.
  • Enough space for crew members (6+ feet between persons)
  • High-efficiency air filters

Minimize the number of People on Set

  • Consider keeping the number of crew members to a minimum. 
  • Provide remote viewing capabilities for all other people that may not need to be physically in the set.
  • Consider renting and setting up more monitors to minimize the crowding around the video village.

Educate the Cast & Crew

  • Provide the cast and crew with up-to-date education and training on COVID-19 risk factors and protective behaviors (for example, cough etiquette and protective gear upkeep)
  • During pre-production, consider sending the CDC guidelines to all cast and crew members.
  • Verbally inform the entire cast and crew in the safety meetings.
  • Consider putting posters about proper handwashing techniques (20-seconds with soap and water) near the sink

Check Cast & Crew upon entering the set

  • Consider adding an additional set medic to your crew to  check every cast & crew members’ temperature upon entering the set and to look for symptoms (i.e., fever, cough, or shortness of breath)
  • Anyone who shows symptoms upon arrival at work or who becomes sick during the day should immediately be sent home.

Provide face cloths, gloves, tissues

! Please do not attempt to purchase a face mask or gloves meant for a healthcare worker. Surgical masks and N95 should be kept for health workers. !

  • Consider purchasing other types of covers and gloves (For example, clothing masks, DIY masks, industrial gloves, cleaning gloves) 
  • Provide face cover for the crew members who don’t have their own.
  • Enforce that the crew members that are handling items that others will touch are wearing gloves and other personal protective equipment. (PPE) 
    • (For example, catering, props, PA’s, cleaning crew, etc.)
    • Provide training for these team members on how to put PPE on, use/wear it, and take it off correctly, including in the context of their current and potential duties.
  • Provide disinfecting tissues and encourage cast & crew members who are touching same gear to use it (like 2nd AC and Camera Operator or Props and Cast members)

Keep the Set Clean

  • Maintain a clean set with enough garbage cans, trash bags, and disinfecting cleaning supplies.
  • If applicable, consider adding a cleaning crew that enters before or after the filming and disinfects the surfaces, common areas, and shared electronic equipment.
    • Ensure frequent cleaning of door handles, surfaces, bathroom fixtures, and any equipment handled by more than one person

For electronics (especially camera gear) a department assistant may need to supervise the cleaning crew.

  • Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for all cleaning and disinfection products.
  • Consider the use of alcohol-based wipes or sprays containing at least 70% alcohol to disinfect touch screens. 
  • Dry surfaces thoroughly to avoid the pooling of liquids.

Assign a Safety Officer

  • If applicable, the producer or representative of the employer, could be assigned to be the safety officer and kindly enforce the guidelines to cast & crew members.
  • This person can also be responsible for COVID-19 issues and stay updated about the regulations and available resources.

Consider Dividing Crew to Units

  • Consider sorting the crew members into units and minimize contact between these groups.
  • Consider staggering call times & lunchtimes to maintain social distancing between these units.

Food & Snacks to be Individual Serving

  • All meals should be boxed
  • Any person handling food should thoroughly wash their hands beforehand and wear gloves. 
  • Crafty (Snacks) and all catering should be served in single-serving containers
  • Consider removing all self-service stations (like the coffee station, snack bowls, open fruits) and ask crafty & catering personnel (with gloves) to serve cast & crew members individually.
  • Consider splitting lunch break sit down meals to multiple units.

Send Risky Crew Member home

A crew member who is showing symptoms (i.e., fever, cough, or shortness of breath) upon arrival at work or who become sick during the day should immediately be sent home.

If your crew member tested positive

If an employee is confirmed to have COVID-19 infection, employers should inform fellow employees of their possible exposure to COVID-19 in the workplace but maintain confidentiality as required by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The employer should instruct fellow employees about how to proceed based on the CDC Public Health Recommendations for Community-Related Exposure. (Reference: OSHA https://www.osha.gov/Publications/OSHA3990.pdf)

 

What Cast & Crew Can do:

 

Join Only If You Are Well

Please stay home and refuse the job if you 

  • suspect you may have contacted the virus or 
  • show symptoms (i.e., fever, cough, or shortness of breath) or
  • believe that you have increased risk 

Also

  • Do not feel pressured or forced to report to any environment you don’t feel safe in.
  • Be communicative about your status to your hiring manager and/or producers.

Understand The Risks & Be Responsible

  • Although guidelines help minimize the risk, it still is a risk to be on set. Educate yourself and understand your responsibility as cast & crew member to protect yourself and others.
  • Acknowledge the risks and be responsible for adhering to the guidelines.
  • Learn using masks, gloves, and other Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). Learn the proper way to put on and put it off safely. Wash your hands immediately after.

Keep Social Distance (No handshaking)

  • Try saluting your fellow cast & crew members in different ways that don’t involve physical contact.
  • For cast members, if physical contact is required for a scene, participating actors are required to sanitize hands before and after. 

Wash Your Hands often

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds especially after you have touched a gear, blown your nose, coughed, or sneezed.
  • If soap and water are not readily available, use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol. Cover all surfaces of your hands and rub them together until they feel dry.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.

Refrain from Using Each others equipment

  • Refrain from using other workers’ phones, desks, offices, or other work tools and equipment.
  • For unavoidable situations (like 2nd AC and Cam Op) try to maintain clean hands and regularly disinfect the equipment.

Be open to give and receive cross-training

Fellow crew members on your team (or even other teams) may not be able to come to work the next day. Share what you are doing, be communicative, and stay present to their responsibilities.

Last thing for everyone… 

 

Be nice

We are in this together. 

Everyone got affected by this crisis and not everyone will be able to recover quickly.

People lost their savings and some lost their loved ones…

Creating a film is a team sport that requires a commitment to your team members. Try to be your best self and act with compassion.

Remember why you chose to be in this industry and do your best to support one another.

Stay Safe!

Let me know what you think, comment below!

 

About O.Z. Ozmen

I am a line producer, video production company owner, budgeting wizard, and a Google Sheet enthusiast who started Wizardy Budgets. I manifest the visions of filmmakers, YouTube creators, music video directors, and brands.
May 4, 2020

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