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Managing Remote Teams During COVID-19
As a Production Manager and Line Producer, I have worked on many different types of productions over the last 25 years. From corporate internal and external video and broadcast television, to series and special programming for cable networks in the U.S. and worldwide, I know first-hand that production management, even under the best of circumstances, is challenging. Add a global pandemic in the mix and things can get downright chaotic. But it doesn’t need to be that way, even with practically everyone working remotely.
By taking some extra steps and taking advantage of current available technologies, you can make your process much more manageable for yourself and your teams. You can also do this while continuing to get your critical messaging out to your target audiences in a timely manner.
Safety While On-Site
First things first: right now, everyone’s paramount concern is safety. You may need to capture that important interview, executive message or critical footage, such as life-saving equipment being delivered or a vaccine being developed. There are still ways of accomplishing this while keeping your teams of producers, editors, filming subjects, and the video crews safe. Filming is happening in various mediums during this time, although options may vary from location to location in the U.S. and internationally.
Consider hiring local crews to shoot the following scenarios during this time:
- where offices or individuals are allowing outsiders to enter their premises
- in secure studios that are classified as an essential business (Crews Control has many crews that own their own studios and/or have access to such studios); some of our crews also offer robotic cameras so that no crew need to be in the actual studio with your subject during filming
- outdoors where permitted in local areas
If being on-site is out of the question, consider a remote direct and capture tool. Crews Control formed a partnership with OpenReel back in 2018, and this tool has proven to be a great asset for our corporate and agency clients.
OpenReel allows producers to capture and live direct remotely from the comfort of their desk. This technology allows footage to be recorded on a subject’s device and then sent directly to the cloud. Maintain control over your videos without being on-site.
Regardless of where and how filming is taking place, Crews Control recommends taking the following precautions to minimize risk during this time. We are strictly enforcing that all of our crews follow this protocol when on-site for a shoot:
- No crew members will currently have symptoms of COVID-19
- No crew members will have been in contact or close-proximity with anyone with COVID-19 in the past 2 weeks
- Crew members will observe all reasonable hygiene protocols – hand washing, sneezing or coughing into sleeve, use of hand-sanitizer
- If possible, shoots will be pre-lit before the talent arrives
- Audio will be boom mic only to avoid contact
- No physical contact and 6′ or more distance from talent will be maintained if possible
- Crew will purchase and wear latex gloves and a proper mask over their face during the shoot
- Minimal crew members will be in the room during the shoot
Critical Communications Tools
Beyond figuring out the logistics of how to shoot corporate video or pull off a video production during this pandemic, you’ll also need to consider how to shepherd the footage through post-production. That way, you can get your critical messaging out there where it’s needed most. There are many tools at your disposal to help streamline your day-to-day workflow and keep your team of producers and editors motivated, in sync and moving forward. Some of these you’ve likely employed in the past, but they can be further developed to keep everyone focused, effective, on schedule and on budget.
Communication & Collaboration
It’s important now more than ever that everyone on your team has clearly defined tasks, project scopes, deadlines, deliverables and budgets. It’s also important that these are communicated early and clearly. And since your team is likely not in the same place at the same time, it’s also important to have team and one-on-one check-in’s regularly. Make sure that everyone gets face time, feels heard and understands their part of the larger picture, as well as to reinforce accountability. There are several tools to help manage this communication and collaboration.
The tools won’t work effectively unless everyone on your team has access to the equipment and gear that they need. Whether it be laptops, software, mobile devices, internet connection or permissions to shared tools, it’s important that this is worked out early. Don’t forget to add that into your corporate budget as well.
During this time, many of your team members are working full-time, taking care of their children at home and just trying to stay safe and sane during this pandemic. It’s important that once you set up expectations, that you trust your team. Providing them with the freedom and flexibility to get their tasks done on a schedule allows them to be the most productive and efficient.
This is always important to the functionality and success of any team, but during these turbulent times, it becomes even more critical. Touch base with each team member on a personal level, as well as on a business level, and be sure to share and celebrate even the smallest of victories. Offering encouragement, emotional support and opportunities for your team to interact socially through video calls will go a long way in supporting them. This also helps them achieve a healthy work and life balance.
Across the board, it’s important to check in with your team regularly to assess what’s working and what isn’t, so you can make necessary adjustments quickly to keep everyone on track.
Crews Control is here for you and can provide guidance for you in these areas, as well as assistance with regards to remote production and post-production. Don’t hesitate to let us know how we can support your communications efforts during this time. We are all in this together and together we’ll come out of this stronger!