Producing During COVID-19
NorthStarr Media Group’s Role: Packaging and Concept.
NorthStarr Notes: Just as the COVID-19 Pandemic has altered a majority of people’s private and professional lives the video/film industry is no exception. June 29, 2020, was our first day back in the game (on set). However, a large amount of time went into what alterations we would make once it was time to say “action and cut” again. After gathering precautionary tips, our task was to think about how it can apply to our industry and crew as well as clients. We also keep in mind that recommendations will change as time progresses thus, we deemed it to be in our best interest to stay on top of the alterations.
As much as we love storytelling our primary focus is the health and safety of our crew and clients. Thus, our goal is to figure out ways to produce our projects in a safe manner. Our approach is to attempt to apply methods that will stop the spread of COVID-19 from person to person or any other possible ways. Our group is more like a family so traditionally our greetings are filled with hugs, half handshake half-hug, you name it. However, with the implementation of the six-feet or more distancing, we opt to air-high-fives and other creative ways of greeting. Everyone has a mask that covers their nose and mouth. We also adorned branded hats that had buttons that allowed face shields to snap onto the sides. Everyone on set also wore disposable gloves.
All crew members have access to three different sizes of disposable gloves. Medium, large, and extra-large come in what we call our “COVID-19 Prevention Kit” which is housed in a waterproof bag with our logo on it.
Two small bottles of hand sanitizer, and a towel so that all equipment can be wiped down as well as heavy touch areas. To dispose of the towels, we came up with a “gym sack” with a plastic bag lining and drawstring. The idea is that we can just pull the string to close the top and never need to come in contact with possible contaminated towels until we open the bag and pour the towels in the washing machine. We can also wash the “gym sack” along with the towels. There is also a face mask in the kit. A tape measure was also on set.
Understanding the production’s requirements is key because it enabled us to come up with alternatives to scenarios that would typically require close interaction such as applying microphones to the talent for a sit-down interview. Our answer to that was a long boom pole and proper mic placement.
We also added a higher amount of monitors, longer cables, and extra batteries. This keeps the director or others from hovering over the DP as well as providing less restriction concerning spacing.
Decreasing the amount of crew inside of the location was different for us. The adjustment we made was to only have the mandatory crew in the space based on what was needed at a particular time of the production. We also wiped down the areas that we frequented with disinfectant.
Lunchtime is handled in a very different manner, everyone had their meals in separate bags. We didn’t sit elbow to elbow in a group as we have done countless times.
We are in ever-changing and different times; our tactics will change and improve. In fact, we have a new list of additions that will be implemented for the coming productions. For example, we will send out a survey to the crew prior to our shooting days, we take everyone’s temperature, and identify the designated areas with blue tape if possible. Everyone will use the mask from our kit and we will have 2x times the amount in case a backup is needed. This will assure that there isn’t a contaminated mask being used on set, these masks have been isolated for at least a week. We understand that there isn’t any guarantee that these steps will keep everyone COVID-19 free but we will make an honest effort to do so. We will continue to reflect on ways to make improvements just as athletes watch game footage to prepare or improve for the next sporting event. As we learn more and observe we will make updates. Perhaps there will be a part two or maybe a series concerning our experiences and helpful tips. Please be safe.
“If there’s a story, we can tell it!”