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Guide to film shootings under corona conditions (part 2: United Kingdoms)

The "British Film Commission" updated its guidelines for filming under corona conditions in the UK - this is, what you need to know.

The "British Film Commission" updated its guidelines for filming under corona conditions last week. In addition to the generally applicable guidelines, the following is a compilation of the most important industry specifics. The full working manual can be found at the end of the article.


COVID-19 Specific training and awareness raising on health and safety

  • The introductory training for COVID-19 "Safer Working" must be completed online by all actors and crew members before starting their work.
  • COVID-19 supervision and implementation training must be carried out for the executing production department. It is also recommended that all Heads of Department (HODs) attend this training.
  • First responders should have COVID-19 updates for their first aid training conducted by a suitable provider. If the minimum number of first responders for a production run cannot be achieved, it may be necessary to engage an external provider to provide support.


Supervision, Enforcement and Communication

  • Assign an appropriately trained COVID-19 health and safety officer to the production department. This can be a special role or a suitably trained team member in a dual role.
  • Assign clear lines of responsibility for enforcing COVID-19 for safer operations.
  • Assign a trained team member to each department to help enforce the policy.
  • Assign trained personnel to perform COVID-19 symptom testing.
  • Brief HODs on their compliance responsibilities and provide checklists to help them with the review.
  • The producer or line producer remains ultimately responsible for the health and safety of the cast and crew.
  • Establish procedures in case an actor or team member does not follow the prescribed procedures. All staff should be made aware of this before work begins.
  • Implement a confidential reporting system that allows the cast and crew to raise safety concerns related to COVID-19.
  • Implement a controlled, secure procedure for entering and exiting individual production zones (allowing only key visitors to enter, pre-registering and pre-registering all key newcomers online, designing queuing procedures for log-in and log-out).
  • Establish an appropriate method to identify each team member who is clinically susceptible or at increased risk.
  • Crew and cast should have access to professional counseling to interpret test results and organize return to work in accordance with guidelines.
  • Perform daily COVID-19 symptom checks with crew and cast.
  • Have a clear symptom response plan ready to respond.
  • Do not neglect the basic rules of data protection.


Distance rules and personal hygiene

  • Always follow the general distance and hygiene regulations. Mouth and nose guards are strongly recommended, but are optional.
  • Ensure that these general regulations can be implemented at all times (e.g. through contact-free washing stations)
  • Create an overview using markers that indicate the required separation distance
  • In communally used rooms 4m² of space per person is allowed.
  • If the measures cannot be maintained, limit the number of people and the time spent in the immediate vicinity.
  • Define fixed work groups, keep them as small as possible and try not to mix them up.
  • Establish a controlled, secure procedure for entering and exiting individual production zones.


Mental health and well-being

  • Prioritize the mental health and well-being of all team members
  • Consider recruiting an appropriately trained mental health and well-being consultant
  • The "Film And TV Charity" operates a 24-hour support hotline on 0800 054 0000.
  • Travel
  • If you are bringing international cast into the UK, follow the instructions on quarantine measures (always be aware of changes to the guidelines).
  • Implement the regulations immediately upon arrival.
  • For domestic travel, use self-propelled private transport wherever possible, for example bicycles, motorbikes and cars (note the extra parking and parking space required).
  • If this is not always possible, make use of privately hired means of transport such as taxis or minibuses (these should be checked for common hygiene practices, e.g. separating plastic screens).
  • Have recourse to a local crew to limit travel time.


Accommodation

  • All accommodation arrangements must comply with the relevant UK Government regulations.
  • Adequate, approved and hygienic isolated accommodation must be provided for international guests.
  • Where overnight accommodation is essential, ensure that the accommodation is adequately disinfected and avoid sharing rooms where possible.


Vehicles

  • Keep all vehicles clean and disinfect them before use and as soon as they are reassigned (consider using car and seat covers that are easy to clean and remove if necessary)
  • Ensure a strict separation between drivers and passengers.


Catering and craft services

  • Prevent food from being prepared and eaten together, e.g. through buffets or platters).
  • Set up a pre-ordering system for food, use pre-packaged and portioned food, and disposable cutlery.
  • Stagger meal and break times to avoid congestion in the dining areas.
  • Separate the catering team from cast and crew if possible.
  • Handle and dispose of food waste in catering and dining areas with care.


Work areas

  • Clean and disinfect all working, waiting and other common production areas daily by a specialist company.
  • Establish a clear waste management procedure that considers safe handling and disposal (for used face masks, food and general waste).
  • Whenever a department finishes its tasks on the set, all shared areas or equipment should be cleaned before the next department starts work.
  • Ensure that sets and other work areas are inaccessible to bystanders when not in use. Ensure free access for cleaning personnel and emergency work outside of opening hours (pay particular attention to the fire risk if areas are cordoned off).


Cleanliness, sanitation and inspection of equipment

  • Team members are not allowed to share personal items and must take responsibility for regularly disinfecting their own personal equipment.
  • When equipment is rented, sharing must be minimised (plan to use the rented equipment and limit it to the agreed crew members, attach name tags to the equipment).
  • Have additional radios and headphones and assign a member of staff to each department who will be responsible for them for the duration of the recordings (for example, for disinfection).
  • Consider using multiple handsets instead of combo video monitors on the set to prevent grouping in front of them.
  • If possible, work without paper.
  • Avoid the use of cash and prefer payment cards and online shopping.
  • If possible, receive deliveries 72 hours in advance and store them in a sterile and safe place (otherwise a sterilisation procedure must be introduced for receiving, disinfecting and handing over items).
  • Allow additional time for processing deliveries and, if necessary, extend the loan period for the equipment to carry out the disinfection process.
  • Try to keep the set and work areas free of as many unnecessary items as possible.


Cast, crew and stunts

  • In order to minimise the risk, remote working practices should be used where possible and the crew members who must be authorised on set should be identified.
  • Consider organising departments into smaller cohorts and keeping them separate (in this respect, it is advisable to stagger calling and working hours, limit access to the set to one department at a time and limit inter-departmental interaction).
  • Since actors and stunt actors cannot always maintain social distance, the activities in front of the camera must be subjected to a strict risk assessment in accordance with COVID-19 guidelines for each production and discussed with those concerned before rehearsals and the start of production.
  • Keep actors and stunt actors in position for as little time as possible
  • Team members may only be on the set if it is necessary for their scene.
  • Allow only the presence on set of the main actors who are essential to the scene (note that an intimacy coordinator must be allowed on set if the situation requires it).
  • Child actors should only be closely accompanied by one parent. The accompanying person must observe the distance restrictions at all times, unless they are also a family member (take into account the level of understanding and maturity of the child actors in relation to the COVID-19 arrangements made).
  • Perform as much outdoor work as possible. Otherwise, ensure regular breaks, which should be spent there.

The following applies to work with stunt actors:

  • Thoroughly clean safety catches and safety mats, as well as equipment that comes into contact with the performers, before and after use.
  • No other department has contact with this equipment without prior approval from the stunt department.
  • Personal stunt protection equipment (such as pads, braces, belts) will not be divided and will be cleaned appropriately at the end of the day.


Crowd-shootings and extras

  • Avoid social mass scenes or use existing technical solutions of the industry to reduce the number of extras needed.
  • When working with supporting artists the following applies:
  • Casting agencies should receive a briefing on the COVID-19 protocols of the production, which they should communicate to the extras. A recording of the information and subsequent confirmation must be ensured by the agency.
  • Locate holding areas as close as possible to the shooting location in order to keep the transit time as short as possible
  • Allow additional time to adequately check extras on site for COVID-19 symptoms.
  • Assistant directors should work with and be briefed by the COVID-19 supervisor.
  • Encourage extras to wear their own clothes and to do their own hair and make-up.


Construction, Workshops and Off-set Services

  • Separate workspaces as much as possible to minimize contact with other departments
  • Specify drop-off and collection points for shared items.
  • Prefabricate as much as possible. Only the assembly and painting of the components should take place on the subject.
  • Tools and stationary machines should be used by a single person if possible.


Props, stage decoration

  • Estimate how much space each shot requires and discuss this with the departments concerned.
  • If possible, have each of these departments work separately on the set.
  • Use a separate, isolated purchasing team.
  • Whenever possible, procure items online and coordinate delivery and logistics with as few contacts as possible.
  • Store props and consumables in a quarantine zone created for this purpose or have them thoroughly cleaned in a specially created hygiene station before use.
  • Restrict the handling of key props on set to a team member of the props department and the corresponding cast.
  • Special decontamination procedures are required for sensitive items that cannot be cleaned or disinfected.


Camera

  • Separately, give the camera team and the grip and crane crew enough additional time and space to safely set up, move and set up the equipment.
  • Provide a separate area for camera equipment that only the designated department has access to (limit handling to a reduced camera team).
  • Agree a procedure for the safe handling of camera cards and cases when they are handed over to the DIT (the number of people handling them should be kept to a minimum).
  • Cards and card cases must be wiped and disinfected upon delivery. Before and after this procedure, it is important to wash your hands.
  • If you are shooting on film, discuss with the processing lab how to handle material and cans.
  • If possible, use remote and wireless systems for camera operation.
  • Agree on a procedure for processes that require close proximity between the camera team and cast (such as the flap board, attaching actor markers, focus measurements).


Costume

  • A costume adjustment is necessary if the compliance with the spacing rules cannot be guaranteed or if the cast is not able to put on or adjust his costume himself. If possible, the actors should receive their costume in a screened booth.
  • The use of fixed and reduced teams is recommended.
  • Do as much work as possible, away from the set (e.g. when trying on or changing the costume).
  • Avoid face-to-face positioning during the fitting.
  • Adjust the preparation time for the department in order to obtain possible pre-approvals.
  • Minimize the crew on set to one person per actor on set to reduce contact and speed up any processes.
  • Set up costume vehicles or special easy-ups near the set to reduce movement to and from the base.
  • Form two teams: one on set and one on base for the duration of the working day.
  • Extras must dress themselves (a specially designated place must be set up).
  • To reduce the risk of cross-contamination:
  • disinfect and ventilate changing rooms between missions.
  • Separate the costumes of each actor in plastic bags.
  • Hang the actors' private clothing in a clean plastic bag.
  • Wash costumes between each use and then store them individually in plastic bags.
  • Consider using an employed buyer to purchase costumes, fabrics, and other materials.
  • Each member of the costume crew should use their own sewing machine and other equipment.
  • Consider additional costume carts for storage, preparation, and laundry, depending on the number of staff and the cast.


Mask

  • An adjustment of the mask image is necessary if it is not possible to ensure compliance with the spacing regulations or if the cast is unable to apply its mask itself.
  • The use of fixed and reduced teams is recommended.
  • Position the mask locations apart and consider using plexiglass panels between them.
  • Food and beverages are prohibited in the mask rooms.
  • Restrict all access to hair and mask parts to the department concerned.
  • The use of airborne disinfectant sprays is recommended.
  • Keep make-up in lockable containers unless it is used directly.
  • Limit the materials used per mask place to a minimum.
  • Sterilize and disinfect equipment between mask times and changes of personnel.
  • Use disposable brushes.
  • Each cast must be assigned its own make-up set, brushes and other equipment, which must be sterilized daily and may only be used for that cast.
  • Set up a special area for the make-up next to the set to minimize interaction with other departments.
  • Minimize touch-ups to the set.


Lighting

  • Due to the large amount of equipment used by the department, appropriate equipment management and cleaning procedures must be established.
  • It is also important to ensure that the relevant electrical safety regulations are observed.
  • Particularly in the case of lighting construction, an increased amount of time must be taken into account for planning and implementation.
  • Consider dividing personnel into small groups for separate activities on the set (e.g. transportation of equipment, lighting).
  • If possible, offer an extra day or time for pre-construction during which only the department concerned works on location (whenever possible, the department should work on the set without other departments).
  • Avoid the use of the same tools and equipment by more than one person (and disinfect them between handovers).


Location, motif and set

  • The site should have all the requirements for implementing the safety regulations.
  • It should be possible to isolate work areas safely from the public.
  • Exclusive use of the site must be guaranteed for the entire period of use.
  • If a base is absolutely necessary, keep it within walking distance of the set if possible.
  • Before confirming a motif, check that residents are not at risk.
  • Only one scout should be deployed at any one location at any one time (owners are required to provide a single representative accordingly).
  • Implement a COVID-19-compliant deep cleaning of the location before and after shooting.
  • Have the premises cleaned by a professional cleaning company at the end of each working day.
  • If necessary, provide alternative accommodation for site owners and residents for the duration of use.


Production office

  • If possible, consider working remotely for employees in production offices and accounting.
  • If this is not practical, make sure that distance rules are followed (for example, by keeping desks apart or separating workstations with Plexiglas panels).
  • If possible, introduce paperless systems (for example, digital signatures, pay slips, contracts and timesheets, as well as online banking and contactless payments)
  • Visits to the office should be restricted or completely eliminated.


Sound

  • Disinfect all items that came into contact with one crew member before assigning them to another.
  • If possible, use recording techniques that avoid direct contact between crew members and cast (for example, fishing and booms).
  • Provide an isolated area for the sound mixer.
  • The use of wireless microphones with recording capability is recommended.
  • Provide an audio system that allows for distant communication within and between all departments (e.g. for crew members not on set or a dedicated channel between the director and cast).


Special effects (SFX)

  • Where special effects are required, assign a safe and separate work area for the department.
  • The SFX crew should be provided with their own working materials.
  • Define a test area for the use of pyrotechnics (also designate team members who are exclusively responsible for the transport of pyrotechnic objects between the test area, the set and the pyrotechnic store).
  • If you are considering using smoke and fog, discuss the COVID-19 usage requirements with the manufacturer in advance.

Downloads:
Full Corona Guidelines For Filmmakers in the UK (english)

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