Ready, On-Set, Go. Getting production going post-corona
European Film and drama production will get back to the business of creativity very quickly after restrictions are lifted. Shoots, abruptly cut short in February and March, are itching to finish production. Films which were were held up in pre-production are keen to catch up on lost time.
Same, but Different: Food for Thought
However, it’s not simply going to be business as usual. The rules of production have changed.
Here’s part of the pre-Covid-19 health and safety advice proposed by Moving Image Education (in partnership with among others Creative Scotland):
"Feeding your crew, and keeping everyone hydrated makes everyone work better. If you organise food at a set time (aka catering), it is a good break for everyone. Food doesn't have to be fancy, a simple pizza delivery can boost flagging energy levels and raise morale."
Now, here’s the equivalent updated advice from Film Production Sweden and Denmark:
"Buffets are not permitted. All meals must be served as single serving portions - and distributed in such a fashion as to avoid surface contamination. All drinks must be in single serving containers, ie. water bottles and cans. None of the following are permitted: Coffee station with self-service; snack bowls or unpackaged foods; fruit that isn’t individually packed. Sit down meals are to be split into two seatings of 20 minutes."
Impact On-Set and on the Video Village
What are the on-set regulations likely to be across Europe?
The recently announced Swedish and Danish guidelines may provide a blue print for other European film agencies. Here are some of the key requirements:
If a scene is being filmed in a small space (under 20m2) only the camera operator, focus puller and sound recordist are permitted access while filming. The production must provide remote viewing capabilities for all other people. For interior shoots, the maximum number of crew permitted entry at any one time is based on the size of accessible space on the shooting location. Each person requires a minimum of 4 m2 for unfurnished space and 6m2 for furnished space. At all points, people must maintain a social distance of 2 metres while working.
The advice also states that the video village should be set up outside, if possible. Interactions between agency/client & crew should be kept to a minimum - with dedicated go-betweens.
Creating the new, safe normal
Video and audio monitoring, crew communications and direction are clearly all set to change.
Creating distance between crew members could be a recipe for a cabling nightmare and unwelcome trip hazards. Fortunately, the technology already exists to enable the on-set crew to operate at full efficiency while maintaining social distancing.
- Distancing the focus puller
Wireless systems have typically offered reliable remote focus control over distance of around 200-300m. They have suffered from a lack of integration between the focus controller and the live video monitor. Teradek RT’s CTRL system gives operators not only more than 1000m cable-free control, but also lens mapping overlay onto selected SmallHD wireless monitors. This makes remote lens management highly intuitive with real-time video monitoring integrated with precise focus control.
- Distancing the camera operator and DOP
Teradek Bolt is the default secure, ultra-low latency video remote transmitter. It is fully compliant with frequency regulations and delivers a very high degree of reliability. New models in the Bolt range give you the flexibility to monitor in HD or 4K, HDR, in 10-bit 4:2:2. In our experience, Bolt 4K, running in UltraHD or HD is the closest thing you can get to a physical SDI cable with superb video quality. Bolt 4K supports unlimited receivers and transmits distances up-to 1,500m.
- Remote crew monitors
Although the wider team can be issued with Bolt receivers and dedicated video monitors, a cost-effective means of sharing video wirelessly on-set among up-to 10 crew members is Serv Pro. Running on standard WiFi, script supervisors, hair & makeup artists, production manager and assistants can monitor a live stream with only 2 frames of delay on iPads and iOS phones using Teradek’s Vuer app. Serv Pro can run concurrently with Bolt and deliver high quality HD monitoring onto consumer devices.