Field Production and COVID-19

Field Production and COVID-19

As production filming begins again, you may not be fully aware of your options when it comes to returning to field shoots. Over the past couple of months during the pandemic, we have been providing field crews worldwide and utilizing several different methods of filming and would like to share a few of these with you.

Field Production Options:

Zoom, Cisco WebX ,FaceTime, Skype are excellent tools for producing remotely, but to get your interviews looking consistent with your production’s “look and feel” – here are other options you may want to consider:

1. Traditional – Crew On-Site during Filming

Use a small crew into the field, like “normal”. Minimize the size of your crew to 2 people by sending a DP/Camera Op and audio Op (Boom only if possible). Utilize producing by remote options.
(See our field production guidelines below.) Crew can send footage via DropBox, etc. to client for touchless option (under 4K due to upload speed); or ship sanitized hard drive.

2.  LiveU – Crew On-Site during Filming

With a LiveU field unit, you can transmit footage up to 4Kp60 10-bit HDR over cellular networks (the newest model can connect to 5G). The crew must have a LiveU field unit, (which plugs into their professional camera) and can then transmit footage back to your office or studio in real time. With the addition of the LiveU Video Return server, live feeds FROM the office or studio can be relayed to the location for observing the setup and conducting an interview. https://www.liveu.tv/

3Teradek Cube 755 – Crew On-Site during Filming

With the Teradek Cube 755, one can stream to any online video platform, such as Facebook, Youtube, Twitch, Periscope, and more. It allow the ability to stream point-to-point to decoders over the internet or on local networks with latency as low as 80ms. The live video feed can be monitored on an iOS device.  https://teradek.com/products/cube-755?variant=39287505869#resinite

4. vMix – Crew Off-Site during Filming

This requires a crew member to go to the location to set up interview lighting, backdrop and plug in USB audio and utilizes a software based solution to transmitting footage from location.  Crew can set up and not be on location during filming and would return upon completion to strike set-up. Footage is captured by video capture hardware on a computer that is on location and then sent over the internet back to your office or studio. They have multiple software options to choose from and simply need the crew to plug an output from the camera into a computer with the software installed. https://www.vmix.com/

The White Paper (Health and Safety Guidelines for Motion Picture, Television, and Streaming Productions During the COVID-19 Pandemic) has lengthier guidelines for productions, many of which do not apply to the smaller non-union productions we crew for. We have taken those guidelines into account and created a short list of policies we expect our production clients and crew members to adhere to.

Guidelines include the following:

  • Production Company hiring the crew maintains the right to take the temperature of each crew member prior to entry on set, and reserves the right to refuse entry if crew member exhibits any symptoms of COVID-19. These symptoms include a dry cough, fever, sore throat and muscle pain
  • Some productions may choose to test crew members for COVID-19 prior to hiring and enact quarantines during shooting timeline. All costs would be covered by production.
  • Some productions may require every crew member to sign waivers of production responsibility
  • Some productions may require every crew member to sign a review of symptoms checklist before arriving on set

    Personal Protection Equipment (PPE)

  • All crew members will wear PPE at all times, such as; clear face shields / masks covering mouth and nose, protective gloves, (cloth booties when requested by location.)
  • Talent/Interviewee to wear a mask / face shield on set, up to and immediately after each take.
  • All persons on set to maintain 6 feet of separation for proper social distancing
  • Non-Essential crew will stay out of room / off set (if possible) during filming

    Set Safety

  • When possible, a designated crew member should be tasked with disinfecting all door handles, light switches, bathroom fixtures, or any other surfaces and equipment handled by more than one person – prior to and upon completion of production in each area.
  • Do as much location shooting outside when possible.
  • Use washable/disposable sheeting to place on floors when possible to place pelican/equipment cases, and other items carrying camera and lighting kits
  • For entrance and exit: Use brightly colored tape on floors to designate lanes for entrance and exit to create a one-way flow of traffic.
  • Clean all camera kits, computer keyboards, hard drives, lighting poles, etc. thoroughly with sanitizing wipes after each shoot.
  • Label hand and lapel/clip mics with the name of the user. Take off mic covering (black sponge) daily and wash in hot water and anti-bacterial soap
  • Utilize boom-only audio when possible
  • Eliminate wood and fabric directors chairs / chairs for interview subjects and use easier to disinfect plastic chairs
  • Once production starts, the director should limit takes to make sets more efficient and result in less standing around/congregating time.
  • Larger productions should consider utilizing larger tents with portable A/C or heat in lieu of trailers/motor homes
  • Have one individual put up and take down all location signs
  • If distributing hard copy scripts/sides, dispose of paper after use
  • Frequent hand-washing should be encouraged throughout each day, and if possible a sanitizing station should be set up at each entrance and exit to/from set.

    Meals

  • Any person handling food should thoroughly wash their hands beforehand and wear gloves and masks.
  • Producer/Director should supply hand sanitizer/stations at points of entry for all crew members and on-camera subjects
  • Food/Beverages:
    • No coffee stations with self-service.
      No snack bowls or unpackaged foods
      No fruit that isn’t individually packed.
      No buffets
      All drinks must be in single serve containers (ie: water bottles, cans)

      Grooming
  • Mask / Face shield should be worn by the Make-up Artist or Hair Stylist.
  • Use disposable make-up kits and brushes and dispose of the kit after each application.
  • Assign brush / combs to each talent / interviewee so not to cross contaminate.
  • Grooming station should be thoroughly wiped down with a sanitizing solution between each person.

Transportation

  • Attempt to limit number of people in a passenger van to 2 passengers at one time (masks should be worn if more than one person is riding in vehicle) – some states only allow one person per vehicle.

Be Patient. The shooting days may be longer with these new protocols.  

Waivers:

  • Even with all the safety protocols in place, liability is a big conversation. Crew members may be asked to sign a COVID-19 waiver.

New information regarding COVID-19 and safety protocols are evolving and we will continue to update as information becomes available to us.

Stay Safe, Stay Healthy!

As production filming begins again, you may not be fully aware of your options when it comes to returning to field shoots. Over the past couple of months during the pandemic, we have been providing field crews worldwide and utilizing several different methods of filming and would like to share a few of these with you.

Field Production Options:

Zoom, Cisco WebX ,FaceTime, Skype are excellent tools for producing remotely, but to get your interviews looking consistent with your production’s “look and feel” – here are other options you may want to consider:

1. Traditional – Crew On-Site during Filming

Use a small crew into the field, like “normal”. Minimize the size of your crew to 2 people by sending a DP/Camera Op and audio Op (Boom only if possible). Utilize producing by remote options.
(See our field production guidelines below.) Crew can send footage via DropBox, etc. to client for touchless option (under 4K due to upload speed); or ship sanitized hard drive.

2.  LiveU – Crew On-Site during Filming

With a LiveU field unit, you can transmit footage up to 4Kp60 10-bit HDR over cellular networks (the newest model can connect to 5G). The crew must have a LiveU field unit, (which plugs into their professional camera) and can then transmit footage back to your office or studio in real time. With the addition of the LiveU Video Return server, live feeds FROM the office or studio can be relayed to the location for observing the setup and conducting an interview. https://www.liveu.tv/

3Teradek Cube 755 – Crew On-Site during Filming

With the Teradek Cube 755, one can stream to any online video platform, such as Facebook, Youtube, Twitch, Periscope, and more. It allow the ability to stream point-to-point to decoders over the internet or on local networks with latency as low as 80ms. The live video feed can be monitored on an iOS device.  https://teradek.com/products/cube-755?variant=39287505869#resinite

4. vMix – Crew Off-Site during Filming

This requires a crew member to go to the location to set up interview lighting, backdrop and plug in USB audio and utilizes a software based solution to transmitting footage from location.  Crew can set up and not be on location during filming and would return upon completion to strike set-up. Footage is captured by video capture hardware on a computer that is on location and then sent over the internet back to your office or studio. They have multiple software options to choose from and simply need the crew to plug an output from the camera into a computer with the software installed. https://www.vmix.com/

We also want to assure you that our production members are adhering to their local COVID-19 safety guidelines as set in their countries, states and counties. At The Crew Company, we are Safe Sets™ COVID-19 Level A Certified and are currently taking OSHA’s COVID-19 Awareness Course.

The White Paper (Health and Safety Guidelines for Motion Picture, Television, and Streaming Productions During the COVID-19 Pandemic) has lengthier guidelines for productions, many of which do not apply to the smaller non-union productions we crew for. We have taken those guidelines into account and created a short list of policies we expect our production clients and crew members to adhere to.

Guidelines include the following:

  • Production Company hiring the crew maintains the right to take the temperature of each crew member prior to entry on set, and reserves the right to refuse entry if crew member exhibits any symptoms of COVID-19. These symptoms include a dry cough, fever, sore throat and muscle pain
  • Some productions may choose to test crew members for COVID-19 prior to hiring and enact quarantines during shooting timeline. All costs would be covered by production.
  • Some productions may require every crew member to sign waivers of production responsibility
  • Some productions may require every crew member to sign a review of symptoms checklist before arriving on set

    Personal Protection Equipment (PPE)

  • All crew members will wear PPE at all times, such as; clear face shields / masks covering mouth and nose, protective gloves, (cloth booties when requested by location.)
  • Talent/Interviewee to wear a mask / face shield on set, up to and immediately after each take.
  • All persons on set to maintain 6 feet of separation for proper social distancing
  • Non-Essential crew will stay out of room / off set (if possible) during filming

    Set Safety

  • When possible, a designated crew member should be tasked with disinfecting all door handles, light switches, bathroom fixtures, or any other surfaces and equipment handled by more than one person – prior to and upon completion of production in each area.
  • Do as much location shooting outside when possible.
  • Use washable/disposable sheeting to place on floors when possible to place pelican/equipment cases, and other items carrying camera and lighting kits
  • For entrance and exit: Use brightly colored tape on floors to designate lanes for entrance and exit to create a one-way flow of traffic.
  • Clean all camera kits, computer keyboards, hard drives, lighting poles, etc. thoroughly with sanitizing wipes after each shoot.
  • Label hand and lapel/clip mics with the name of the user. Take off mic covering (black sponge) daily and wash in hot water and anti-bacterial soap
  • Utilize boom-only audio when possible
  • Eliminate wood and fabric directors chairs / chairs for interview subjects and use easier to disinfect plastic chairs
  • Once production starts, the director should limit takes to make sets more efficient and result in less standing around/congregating time.
  • Larger productions should consider utilizing larger tents with portable A/C or heat in lieu of trailers/motor homes
  • Have one individual put up and take down all location signs
  • If distributing hard copy scripts/sides, dispose of paper after use
  • Frequent hand-washing should be encouraged throughout each day, and if possible a sanitizing station should be set up at each entrance and exit to/from set.

    Meals

  • Any person handling food should thoroughly wash their hands beforehand and wear gloves and masks.
  • Producer/Director should supply hand sanitizer/stations at points of entry for all crew members and on-camera subjects
  • Food/Beverages:
    • No coffee stations with self-service.
      No snack bowls or unpackaged foods
      No fruit that isn’t individually packed.
      No buffets
      All drinks must be in single serve containers (ie: water bottles, cans)

      Grooming
  • Mask / Face shield should be worn by the Make-up Artist or Hair Stylist.
  • Use disposable make-up kits and brushes and dispose of the kit after each application.
  • Assign brush / combs to each talent / interviewee so not to cross contaminate.
  • Grooming station should be thoroughly wiped down with a sanitizing solution between each person.

Transportation

  • Attempt to limit number of people in a passenger van to 2 passengers at one time (masks should be worn if more than one person is riding in vehicle) – some states only allow one person per vehicle.

Be Patient. The shooting days may be longer with these new protocols.  

Waivers:

  • Even with all the safety protocols in place, liability is a big conversation. Crew members may be asked to sign a COVID-19 Waiver.

New information regarding COVID-19 and safety protocols are evolving and we will continue to update as information becomes available to us.

Stay Safe, Stay Healthy!