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Coronavirus: How will productions change how they shoot during the near/mid term future?


David Peterson
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The bigger obstacle seems to be insurance as the trades say. A big roadblock for now, less so for big productions but yeah. Several insiders saying that the government (in the US especially) might have to step in there. I wonder how many big films (like Fantastic Beasts 3, The Batman, Matrix 4, etc) might wait longer for that reason. I doubt they'd hold out until a vaccine (which could come this year, although it'd be a miracle, some interesting possibilities with the monoclonal antibody treatment thing too) but considering the increase in budgets all around, maybe.

If anyone here has any connection to Martin Scorsese by the way, please tell him and De Niro to wait till a vaccine is ready for Killers Of The Flower Moon please 😄

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The British Film Commission has released a document today regarding the practices for working safely in Film and High End TV Drama. 

http://britishfilmcommission.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2020/05/British-Film-Commission-Working-Safely-During-COVID-19-in-Film-and-High-end-TV-Drama-Production-01-06-20-V.1.0.pdf

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Yup ! I believe the UK government had already given the go ahead a week or two ago, but basically, Fantastic Beasts 3 can start whenever WB wants, The Batman can resume when they want, and other big productions can start again. Doesn't mean the studios will any time soon though. I'm guessing fast and reliable testing needs to be in place along with quarantining the cast and crew for the whole shoot to be able to have actors interact normally. As long as you test your leads regularly, they can do even intimate scenes (Sex Education is one show that's going to resume shortly)

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As of right now. Here in Florida/Georgia, some productions have popped up. All are a skeleton crew, available to those willing to work. The producer is sometimes skyped in on laptop with a minimum crew on location. Crew of four seems to be it, from talking to others. Masks on.

Also, there is a strong shift toward remote productions. Aside from the above. I've seen traditional testimonials replaced with cell phone footage recorded by the talent themselves. It is intentionally DIY and video-chat-like representing the current times. Smart and cheap.

A friend running a rental house in Tampa said he's had tons of requests for a Blackmagic Web Presenter which is supposed to take an SDI camera feed and trick a computer into thinking its a USB plug-in web cam.

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7 hours ago, Manu Delpech said:

One wonders if that will hold with the inevitable peaks coming in two weeks.

The productions around here are requiring liability waivers. So if you get sick, it's your fault, not the studio's. I think production companies will continue to want to make money, especially with the choice of waiver requirement.

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On 6/7/2020 at 1:15 PM, Stephen Sanchez said:

The productions around here are requiring liability waivers. So if you get sick, it's your fault, not the studio's. I think production companies will continue to want to make money, especially with the choice of waiver requirement.

Unless that waiver was drafted by a Lawyer well versed in such, doubt it will hold up in court.  Both parties entered into the agreement in good faith, the production company failed to enforce adequate  procedures to provide a safe work place.

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WAM BAM, first big film resuming mid July, Jurassic World Dominion at Pinewood Studios:

 

https://deadline.com/2020/06/universal-jurassic-world-production-uk-chris-pratt-bryce-dallas-howard-1202958819/

Choice quotes:

 

"The studio is understood to be spending around $5M on its protocols, which will see the production carry out thousands of tests during the remainder of filming. All cast and crew will be tested before returning to set and then again multiple times during filming.

The safety measures will include the commission of a private medical facility called Your Doctor to manage the entire production’s medical needs; Covid training for all cast and crew; on-site doctors, nurses and isolation booths; 150 hand sanitizer stations; nightly anti-viral ‘fogs’; more than 1,800 safety signs put up around Pinewood; and ‘Green Zones’ for shooting cast and crew. Masks will be obligatory other than for actors while performing.

Jurassic World: Dominion has been one of a handful of major studio productions on hold in the UK. The government gave the film and TV industries the go-ahead for production to re-start last month but there remain safety, practical and insurance issues to iron out as the UK slowly comes out of lockdown (schools, cinemas, pubs, restaurants remain closed).

Other UK-based blockbusters waiting for their green-light include Warner Bros’ The Batman and Fantastic Beasts And Where To Find Them 3, and Disney’s The Little Mermaid. James Cameron arrived back in New Zealand earlier this month to get back underway on the Avatar sequels and Netflix is underway on multiple TV productions (and one film) in the Nordics.

All the studios have been working best they can on non-contact elements of their movies during the hiatus, including VFX work, storyboarding and planning for re-starts. We hear that construction crews are gearing back up now on a number of productions so don’t be surprised if this is the first of a string of announcements about movie re-starts.

Universal’s protocols for Jurassic World: Dominion will include:

    • The commission of a private medical facility called Your Doctor to manage the entire production’s medical requirements. This will include Covid-19, fever and antibody testing but they will also review all hand sanitizer, social distancing measures, updates to government and best practice guidelines. Your Doctor will continually update the production’s safety measures as the science and environment changes and will be available for cast consultations to review health and safety concerns.
    • The studio has commissioned Your Doctor to test all crew before they start on the production. They will then test the crew at times throughout production. The whole crew will also be antibody tested. Thousands of tests are expected to be carried out over the shoot period.
    • All crew will be temperature tested every day and not allowed on site until complete. Two walk-through temperature testing stations are being built at each end of Pinewood Studios with capacity of 1,000 crew over 2 hours. Each test station will have a compliment of doctors, nurses and isolation booths. Crew will be verified that they have been tested by a bespoke RFID system that registers when a crew member has been temperature tested. Crew will also be given a paper wristband for identification by security as a fall back. Additional temperature test stations will be set up on location as required.
    • The studio is putting up around 1,800 signs across Pinewood and more on location. These will include reminders that crew numbers will be limited in various locations, the need for social distancing (six feet of separation) and one-way systems in operation.
    • The studio is rolling out a full COVID training program to be undertaken by all staff before starting. Universal will also do specific training for specialist groups (e.g. costume and makeup).
    • The studio is manufacturing 150 hand sanitizer stations to be positioned at points around Pinewood Studios. They are also putting in an extra 60 sinks. All crew members will also be given an individual hand sanitizer bottle when they start.
    • Production will double the cleaning recommendations and employ a large cleaning team who will continually clean all the touch points across the site in addition to all common areas, toilets, welfare and kitchens. They will clean with specialized antiviral sprays appropriate to the situation. In the evenings all toilets, communal areas, welfare areas, kitchens, trucks and sets will be antiviral fogged. Props, grip, SFX and camera will use specialized antistatic cleaning systems.
    • The studio is setting up a ‘Greenzone’ for the shooting cast and crew which will have an enhanced testing environment. The ‘Greenzone’ will be policed to stop any untested crew from coming in as a further measure to prevent any spread of COVID.
    • Universal will have additional security detail maintaining the temperature testing centers and a further team who will check crew are eligible to go into the protected greenzones. Security team will be trained in COVID measures to ensure that the required operations are followed."

 

Sounds pretty darn thorough, regular testing, antibody testing, temperature checks, will probably be one of the safest sets anywhere.

 

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Unfortunately, I don't think we're going back to work soon here in the US. Recent happenings leads me to believe this. Unionized filmmaking is at the moment uninsurable - and from what I can see it will remain so until governmental gap support formulates. There is no way this will resolve itself in the market sphere by itself. 

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