The current pandemic has changed the way everyone works. At Knew Productions it is not possible for us all to work from home, as the nature of our business is to be out in the field, filming and interviewing. Even when filming is completed, we have to work on the footage in post-production, in our studio, which has an editing suite facility that cannot be replicated in a home environment. However, it is possible to work alone while editing, so Covid-safe procedures are always followed. In terms of viewing the first cut during editing, a link can simply be emailed to the client so they can watch from the comfort of their own home/office. There is no need for studio visits at all – what could be safer than that?
A clean slate
Our first priority is always to keep everyone safe. From the outset of the restrictions on work, we reviewed our risk assessments and method statements – and are continuing to revisit them regularly, to ensure they comply with or exceed the latest guidance. To this end, we have also compiled a Safety Filming Guide, which we rigorously follow. This has been designed in line with government advice for whichever part of the UK we are working in.
Even before the pandemic, we worked with pharmaceutical and Biotech companies, at locations where the hygiene and cleanliness of both our crew and equipment was important. So, the heightened level of cleanliness required wasn’t a shock to us.
When we are working on location, we make sure all necessary precautions and social distancing measures are being taken by both our staff and the individuals we are filming.
During pre-production, we carry out job and site-specific Risk Assessments and Method Statements. We have also made sure all our crew have undergone training in Covid-19 issues. Social distancing is a priority, we use screens where possible, all our equipment is sanitised before and after filming, and crew members have their own FFP2 face masks and hand gels. Work is undertaken in well ventilated areas, and outside where possible.
These additional hygiene practices have to be allowed for within the shooting schedule, so more time is allocated before, during and after filming. The precautions even extend to our crew’s lunches. No food is allowed to be provided by the client or bought en-route on the day of filming. They bring their own packed lunch and drinks. Crew members must also travel to site in separate vehicles.
Prior to the job commencing, we will discuss the safest options to carry out the filming with the client. This will include the best place for filming to be done. By planning ahead, we can limit the numbers of film crew, clients and contributors – keeping numbers to a minimum.
It is up to the client to make ensure that they adhere to Covid guidelines from their end too. Any changes, by any party, have to be communicated at the earliest opportunity. And of course, anyone displaying any symptoms related to the virus, such as a cough or temperature, must stay at home.
On the day – or Practicing Safe Sets!
On the day of filming, we will take the temperatures of all crew as they arrive on site. Face coverings have to be worn by everyone present, with the exception of interviewees being filmed, and social distancing must be observed – even within our own crew.
If filming is taking place inside, good ventilation needs to be maintained – with open doors and windows where possible – and filming kept to short periods with breaks, to allow the air to circulate. No one, except the technicians, is allowed to touch the camera or sound recording kit, which is also cleaned at the end of the filming. When viewing footage, monitors are set up a good distance away, behind Perspex screens, so director and client can see what’s being filmed without any close congregating. Remote viewing options are also available for off-site teams, whether reviewing footage nearby on a phone or at home on a laptop.
It’s a wrap
By following these guidelines we are able to continue filming safely, making sure everyone involved with the process stays safe and is protected. The system is working and we’re finding everyone is happy to comply with these rules. As a result of this, we’re proud that we have been able to continue filming throughout the pandemic, delivering the same high level of service to our clients – whoever and wherever they may be.