What are the COVID safety protocols for video shoots?
Staying Safe During Production
Safety is key when it comes to the COVID-19 pandemic. Because of the strict protocols set by the state, as well as Boston video production agency, Skillman Video Group’s own protocols, the production set has a specific type of layout to keep everyone safe, while maximizing efficiency. Chuck Green, Director of Photography, came up with his own way of organizing, separating, and disinfecting gear while on set.
Layout and Cleanliness
Gear must be put somewhere, right? That is why there is a special place that is designated just for equipment. In a different room, separate from the production area is where all of the gear will be stored. To go even further, there are separate zones within this one room, for clean and dirty equipment. After being sanitized, instead of on the floor, the 300 plus pounds of gear is placed onto a disinfected table to ensure that it stays clean before being put to use.
The right half of the table is sectioned off for clean equipment such as the camera, sandbags, mics, and everything else in the production’s arsenal. The left side of the table is for the gear that has been used and is waiting to be sanitized.
As an extra precaution, Chuck has blue trash bags that he uses for the dirty disinfecting wipes. It is not hazardous waste, it is just an extra step to take to ensure that there is no confusion on the job site of what is dirty and nothing gets left behind.
A common issue with safety is attaching a lapel microphone to the talent. The main concern is the distance from person to person. That is why when attaching the mic, personal protective equipment such as a pair of gloves, a mask, and a face shield are worn to protect the person attaching the mic.
The good news is that the lapel mic is not the main source of audio, that role belongs to the boom mic. Stationary over the talent and secured by a C-Stand, the boom mic sits at a safe distance from the talent, while still producing high-quality audio.
Depending on if the shoot is indoors or outdoors will affect how you prepare. More precautions must be taken when filming inside, because of the lack of airflow and the limited distance between people.
One thing that Director, Christina Skillman, likes to do when shooting an interview is to take her mask off when interacting with the talent when the camera is rolling, but she always asks the talent’s permission before taking it off. The reason she does this is that when the mask covers her face, the talent cannot genuinely interact with her. The result on screen is the talent becomes stiff and appears more emotionless, which is an outcome that we’re trying to avoid.
Having her mask off lets the talent see her facial expressions, so they can then feed off of her emotion and provide better answers that not only sound better but look better. The talent will come across as more relaxed because they are more comfortable talking to a face than a cloth mask.
Christina does make sure she is safely socially-distanced and that she is more than six feet away from the talent and the rest of the crew.
The crew is another aspect of production that is adjusted. Because of restrictions as well as necessity, the number of crew members is severely limited. For example, the Mediant Shoot only included 2 crew members and the talent. That means social distancing is not an issue whatsoever. Not all productions will only have 2 crew members, some could have many more. The size of the crew is determined by the size of the production. It is not a one size fits all type of ordeal.
It is a strange world but SVG is flexible and can never be too careful when protecting their crew and their clients. That is why protocols are followed and even exceeded, to really make sure everything is clean and safe.
If knowing going into the shoot that everyone is healthy, then everyone will leave healthy. Even with this knowledge, we take the necessary precautions to keep everyone safe, which is explained in this video with Chuck Green.
We encourage you to check out our website and blog further for more information on our productions and how we handle filming during COVID-19! Please contact us at [email protected] if you have questions or are looking for production companies in Boston to get started on something of your own!
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