What Does Commercial Production Look Like In A COVID-19 World?
As discussed more broadly in our LinkedIn article, here are the protocols HEIST is planning to implement during pre-production, on set and in post-production as we look to keep our partners and our clients safe and healthy.
Casting & Auditions
- Schedule remote casting sessions and callbacks whenever possible.
- Schedule in-person auditions and callbacks only when necessary
- Space in-person auditions and call-backs further apart to avoid scheduling overlap
- Clean surfaces in physical audition spaces between each audition
- Distribute scripts digitally
- Minimize the number of personnel working with actors
- Offer all talent the option of a virtual audition
- Do not use props during auditions. Actors can simulate props with a personal item (phone, etc) if need be.
- Place partition between or provide appropriate PPE for actors during in-person group auditions.
- Include wardrobe specs in the breakdown to increase the likelihood of being able to use the actor’s personal wardrobe.
- Prioritize professionally managed locations that can ensure hygiene and sanitation standards.
- Request 360-degree photography and room dimensions from location owners and/or scouts to avoid unnecessary visits.
- Director scout virtually when possible.
- Self-drive when possible.
- Consider new size and space requirements to safely stage crew and equipment while maintaining distance
- Encourage talent to bring wardrobe options
- Use virtual fitting sessions, if possible
- Sanitize wardrobe prior to fittings or shoot
- Encourage virtual participation by client/agency during fitting sessions
- Plan for virtual session/meeting unless in-person is deemed necessary
- Digital pre-production deck shared with client prior to meeting
- Review health and safety protocols with client, agency and department leads prior to day of filming.
- Review and obtain client sign-off on propping/art, wardrobe, lighting and picture looks during meeting, if possible.
- Review shooting schedule and set clear expectations on time and process.
- Enable and encourage virtual set monitoring for client and/or agency
- Confirm client/agency attendees and health status, encourage virtual monitoring/attendance.
- Request health check night prior to filming
DURING PRODUCTION Overall
- Pre-shoot outreach to crew, talent and clients to confirm current health status – 2-3 questions will accompany the call sheet and response will be required
- Hold crew and talent alternates in case of illness.
- All crew, talent and agency/client will need to be pre-screened before walking on set. This will include a quick wellness evaluation, along with a temperature check. Anyone exhibiting mild or severe symptoms of COVID-19 is not permitted entry to set. A dry cough, fever, muscle pain and sore throat are considered to be symptoms of COVID-19.
- Production is responsible for frequent cleaning of contact surfaces – this includes: door handles, surfaces, bathroom fixtures, and any equipment handled by more than one person.
- Professional cleaners will be on set before, during and after all productions.
- Alcoholic hand sanitizer will be made available at points of entry and in common areas.
- Information regarding the risk of spreading COVID-19, and what behavior is expected from everyone on set will be made visible in common areas and discussed during morning briefing.
- Production will break crew for regular hand washing and sanitizing during production.
- The number of crew allowed on set will be minimized to enable social distancing.
- Agency and client are likewise encouraged to send the fewest possible number of representatives. Production should enable remote monitoring if possible.
- Call times will be staggered, so each department arrives and loads in separately to prevent crowding.
- Departments will be kept separate as much as possible, and work will be performed in rotations rather than happening simultaneously.
- Access to set will be restricted and only a very small number of people (producer, 1st AD) will be able to move between departments.
- 3 layer surgical masks will be provided to ALL individuals on set and everyone will be expected to wear masks unless camera is rolling and they are performing.
- Clear guidance as to how to put on and remove masks in a way that isn’t counter productive will be provided.
- Masks will not substitute for social distancing.
- Monitors will be provided to each department in order to enable social distancing
- Use HEPA air purifiers on set, whenever possible
Individual Department Guidelines
- Wear PPE at all times when preparing or handling food.
- Stagger meal times when possible.
- Serve food in individual boxes.
- Provide plenty of tables and seating (outdoors when possible) to allow for social distance.
- Provide a washing station in close proximity to the meal area.
- Provide only single-serve packaged condiments.
- Provide individual, prepackaged portioned snacks and other food items.
- Refill reusable water bottles without person-to-person contact, and without contact between bottle and dispenser.
- Wash hands before entering the catering or craft service area.
- No cooked or prepared foods in craft service.
- Assign one person to distribute drinks.
Hair & Make-Up
- Actors will do their own hair and make-up when possible.
- PPE will be worn for the duration of person-to-person contact.
- Provide 10 feet of space between make-up stations or provide a partition in between.
- Use single-use brushes and applicators if proper disinfectant cannot be guaranteed.
- Disinfect equipment in between uses.
- Mix foundation, powders, lipstick, etc. on a separate clean palette for each individual.
- Clean hairbrushes and combs with appropriate disinfecting solution.
- Actors will wear a mask when possible (e.g. while having their eyes or hair done).
- Only remove the actor’s PPE when essential.
- Once made up, actors may consider a face shield (as opposed to a mask) to not disturb completed make-up.
- HMU may handle the placing / removing of face shields on the actor (if the actor prefers).
- Actors will provide their own wardrobe when possible.
- PPE will be worn for the duration of person-to-person contact on set and when shopping for wardrobe.
- Sanitize jewelry and glasses with appropriate, non-damaging cleaning solutions.
- Handling of camera equipment should be done only by members of the camera department.
- Equipment and cases should be wiped down and sterilized upon arrival to set
- Avoid manual focus pulling if focus pulling is needed.
- Minimize need for talent on set prior to performance.
- Get director feedback on all art and props during or prior to the tech scout.
- Obtain approvals for all art/props from agency/client prior to day of filming.
- All props must be sanitized before and after use.
- Assume all set builds and/or set dressing must be completed prior to arrival of lighting or camera department on set.
- Consider potential value of prep and strike days. This may be combined with location cleaning requirements.
- Coordinate between Art and Wardrobe departments with regard to handling of jewelry, bags, etc.
- Handling of grip and electric equipment should only be done by members of those departments (stingers, apple boxes, stands, etc. often supported by other departments).
- Equipment to be cleaned prior to and after use.
- Identify all necessary lighting needs and coordinate timing/plan with production, camera and art departments in advance.
- PPE must be worn for the duration of person-to-person contact.
- Disinfect Comteks before and after each use.
- Label Comteks with the name of the user.
- Disinfect Lav mics and transmitters before and after each use.
- Replace Lav mounting components that can not be thoroughly cleaned.
- Consider utilizing boom-only audio (as opposed to rigging Lav mics).
Talent – Actors/Extras
- A temporary barrier will be used between actors while establishing marks and positions. Alternate shot set-ups, camera angles, lenses, etc. to allow for maximum separation.
- Monitor the number of Extras required.
- Provide ample space and infrastructure for Extras holding areas.
- Provide a pen for each Extra to keep while completing paperwork.
- Prep and execute talent paperwork digitally when possible.
- Enable a remote, virtual video village whenever possible.
- The physical video village will be in a designated area that is only accessed by the client /agency team.
- Audio feedback will be established between video village and set.
- Chairs will be arranged 6 feet apart (when a physical video village is required).
- Additional monitors will be provided to individual departments in order to facilitate social distance amongst crew.
- Work tools will be assigned to individuals for duration of projects and/or individuals will be encouraged to use their own tools whenever possible.
- Individuals will be required to sanitize their own equipment.
- Gear for individual departments will be staged separately to avoid cross contamination, when possible.
- Avoid direct handoffs (one person puts an item down, another person picks it up without proper sanitization).
- No shared walkie talkies. Sanitize replacement batteries in between uses.
- To minimize the risk of infection due to aerosol particles – we will prioritize ventilation of all interior spaces. Either by means of open windows or mechanical ventilation that is following the guidelines of the CDC.
- Enable remote/virtual sessions with appropriate software to avoid motion/sound delays.
- Use postings platform that enables client to provide timecoded feedback, draw on picture, compare multiple versions and share as-needed.
- Clean all surfaces prior to and following in-person sessions.
- Use HEPA air purifiers in all rooms
- Stagger arrivals to ensure social distancing
- Ensure social distance between all individuals during in-person sessions
- Avoid groups congregating in common areas
- Assign workstations and peripherals to individuals and disallow sharing of equipment