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Shooting Corporate Video as COVID-19 Restrictions Ease

Posted by Kim Moseman on May 20, 2020

For the last two months, cities all over the world have implemented stay-at-home orders and lockdowns to help minimize the spread of coronavirus COVID-19, thus shutting down location video production globally.

Large agencies and Fortune 500 companies resorted to video conferencing, webcasting and other remote technologies to maintain internal and external communications. These remote video options have served a great purpose and created a stopgap for the corporate video landscape during this time.  

With these orders easing us into what might be our new normal, many production professionals and video executives are asking the same question: what does video production after lockdowns are lifted look like?

We reached out to some of our top crews who have shot video in recent weeks to see what has changed during corporate video shoots, as things start to go back to normal (or should I say, a new normal).  

What Video Production Looks Like Now

As states across the country and cities all over the world cautiously ease into re-opening and video productions resume, we want you to know that Crews Control has the safety of our clients, crews and employees top of mind. Along with COVID-19 compliant shooting for our clients in essential industries, in the past 4 weeks, our crews have also been able to shoot video again for non-essential industries in international cities that have lifted stay-at-home orders.

The lingering threat of the virus is still felt in these cities, even though they have started to reopen. Because of this, there are several new measures and protocol to ensure everyone’s health and safety is a priority on-site.

“Yes, even with social distancing restrictions in place, we’ve still been able to film brand films, social media content, product videos and more,” Angela Cheung, Managing Director for a production company in Hong Kong said. “We’ve had to change our creative execution in some cases (reduce the number of cast or change locations) but you would never tell looking at the final result that there’s been workaround.”

Much of the new protocol is common sense and are measures individuals are already required to do in everyday life: wear a face covering, lots of sanitation and social distancing. We’d like to add that restrictions and mandates will vary depending on location. While the protocol and tips we provide is pretty standard, we encourage all of our crews and clients to adhere to what their local government is saying.  

“We’ve been doing only takeaway catering, not allowing a makeup artist, distancing of minimum six feet, outside locations preferred, maximum 10 people on set.” DP Søren Petersen in Denmark said.  “These guidelines should really limit risks, and then maybe consider additional concerns when dealing with high risk participants.”

Small preparations you can do before even stepping foot on-site include minimizing social activity in the days leading up to the shoot, and checking the condition of the location to ensure there are windows for ventilation and a spare space for the crew to wait in.

Other changes our crews have made on-site include:

  • Only carry out and takeaway catering
  • Preferring outdoor video shoots (but make sure you have the appropriate permits)
  • No make-up artists to avoid physical contact
  • Frequent reminders about personal hygiene such as hand-washing, not touching face, reduction in passing/sharing items to each other
  • Keep supply of cleaning products and facemasks on hand
  • Open communication with the talent prior to and during the shoot, to ensure everyone is comfortable

“I wear a mask at all times and keep my hands as clean as possible. Wearing a mask seems to be the most important thing in Korea. Keeping your hands clean is also very important.” South Korea based DP Francois Saikaly Jr. said.

cta 1 video production

DPs are also looking to the near future and what can be done now to ensure a stronger tomorrow for video production. Even with new guidelines and sanitary measures in place, we ask that those on-site do what they are most comfortable with.

“I would continue to be careful even after restrictions are lifted, perhaps until a vaccine is developed. While you are in quarantine/lockdown, try to develop your shooting/editing skills as much as possible before you start working again,” Saikaly added

What We Are Asking of Our Crews and Clients

While we understand that the re-opening of states and international cities could be reversed, we are cautiously optimistic that video production can safely resume, following CDC guideline recommended precautions. 

We are encouraging all of our crews to follow these guidelines on every Crews Control shoot:

  • No crew members will currently have symptoms of COVID-19
  • No crew members will knowingly have been in close contact with anyone with COVID-19 in the past 2 weeks
  • Crew members will wear recommended protective face masks and gloves, and will observe all recommended hygiene protocols – hand washing, sneezing or coughing into sleeve, use of hand-sanitizer
  • If possible, shoots will be pre-lit and surfaces sanitized before the talent arrives
  • Audio is preferred to be boom mic only to avoid contact. If wireless microphones are used, mics, as well as transmitters, will be sanitized before and after each use
  • No physical contact and 6′ or more distance from talent will be maintained if possible
  • Minimal crew members will be in the room during the shoot

Much of this protocol should also be applied to the producers and talent on-site. We ask our crews and clients to follow these guidelines to allow each and every Crews Control manned location shoot to be in the safest production environment possible.

What Will the Future Look Like?

That is the million-dollar question. And we here at Crews Control are committed to convening with the top minds on the corporate, agency and production sides to help drive towards collaborative solutions for our collective industry.

The answers are ever changing, and an opportunity for us to innovate. We’ve seen amazing creativity during this turbulent time. Some of our global crews have built robotic cameras and sterilized remote camera carts to accommodate the needs of today. In 2018, we started working with OpenReel, a remote direct and capture technology, that has helped several of our clients capture great video at a time when producers and crews are on lockdown.

The one thing we have learned in providing new video solutions and communicating with both clients and crews, is that everyone inherently wants things to go back to a place where producers and crews can work on-site. We think that this pandemic has shed an interesting light on the need for high quality video communications. In the long-term, we urge you to continue to validate the need for professionally captured high-def video.

The need for video content hasn’t gone away. In fact, in many areas it is going to increase, as there will be a reduction in face-to-face interaction and travel for some time to come.” Cheung said.

How we capture and execute video production in the future may be forever changed.  But we are optimistic that the new normal will further advance video as a medium and enable audiences to connect with subjects from a far. The demand for on-brand, high quality video will never go away.

If you are ready to resume COVID-19 compliant production and would like to book your video shoot in one of the cities that have eased restrictions today, please reach out to your Crews Control Production Manager directly or click here to fill out our quote form. 

We are in this together and we will all see it through to the other side. Stay safe.

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