Filmmakers & Videographers in the Field During the COVID-19 Pandemic: Best Practices
source: Shutterstock Royalty-free stock photo ID: 1660469317
Front Row remains committed to the success of the entertainment industry and its creators in both good times and bad. With the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, we are now, of course, in bad times, but we thought we could be helpful to those brave filmmakers, film equipment operators and videographers who are still out there working in the field by providing this information.
Questions to ask before heading out on location:
- Who are you interviewing?
- Do you need to actually head out/interview a contributor?
- Can it be done via FaceTime or Skype instead?
- Are you a risk to anyone?
- Is anyone nearby more vulnerable/susceptible to the virus?
COVID-19 Information re: Filming
-For any interviews, consider filming a FaceTime (or another video telephony product) instead of in-person interviews. FaceTime interviews can look bad as stand-alone screen-records, but you can be creative shooting these things yourself.
-Clip mics: avoid using these on anyone other than colleagues. It might be best to use a hand mic and/or camera top mic with a wireless transmitter plugged into the bottom for interviews. At the end of the day, take a sponge and wash any mics in hot water and soap.
-STOP sharing earpieces and headphones.
-You or your colleague(s) may wish to use a boom pole from at least a metre of distance.
-Carry latex gloves, masks, hand sanitizer and wipes to clean kit and hands. Pack spares in your kit bag. Latex gloves are the best on location.
CLEAN YOUR KIT
It’s the thing you’re likely touching the most. Clean any camera gear, keyboard, etc. regularly. Carry anti-bacterial wipes to clean equipment in the field. Most importantly, clean equipment at the start and end of the day. Wipe everything.
CLEAN YOUR DEVICES
-Cards in wallet, etc. Avoid touching any coins or cash, if possible.
-Are you using a work car, pool vehicle or hire car? WIPE IT DOWN… spend 20-30 minutes wiping down your vehicle before anyone enters – seats, steering wheel, buttons, handles, etc.
-Keep a log of who has been driving each pool/company vehicle and when/where. If someone picks up the virus, you then know who may need to isolate.
-Think about what you’re touching: e.g., wipe down the bottle of water you’ve just bought. Anything entering your apartment, edit suite or work vehicle should be wiped down.
-You may wish to consider vitamins if you work long and unpredictable hours. The right vitamins can strengthen immune systems. Diet is important, too.
-Be patient. Things will take longer and there will be more to do, but everyone benefits.
HEADING INTO A COVID-19 DANGER ZONE?
-Do you have any underlying health conditions, or problems affecting your immune system? If you do, you may be sensible not to go. You also may not wish to go if any of your immediate family have any of those issues.
-Do your research. Things can change within hours – sudden lockdowns, bans on certain nationalities being able to travel or enter areas, sudden rises in cases, entry and exit restrictions. Have contingency plans for sickness on location, entry/exit plans, etc., and the prospect that you might be stuck there for much longer than planned.
-Protective equipment. Take the basics – gloves, masks, wipes, etc., but plan for the worst. What if you get stuck somewhere? What if you end up sick and having to go to a local health facility (which is likely to be very high risk?). Do you have full protective clothing and perhaps a full face covering (helmet with screen) on standby?
-Wipe down your hotel room. Wipe everything down – light switches, surfaces, toilet seats, etc. You probably don’t want to be eating in the hotel restaurant, drinking in the bar or having a leisurely coffee in the local Starbucks.
RETURNING FROM A COVID-19 DANGER ZONE?
-If returning from a high-risk location – for instance a locked-down town or region, you will probably need to quarantine for 14 days. Have plans for that and take it seriously. Have food and supplies delivered to you. Check and note your temperature and how you’re feeling twice a day. Plan to be able to entertain yourself. Take the isolation seriously and actually isolate. Don’t go to Starbucks, or to see your family. Think about the safety of everyone more vulnerable than you.
-Hot wash all your clothes on return. You may wish to soak/hand wash/scrub some clothing thoroughly. Soak your shoes in boiling hot water and soap. If you suspect something needs to be thrown out, just throw it out.
Good luck and take care,
— The Front Row Team
Disclaimer: This disclaimer provides that the information in this blog post is merely information – not advice. If individuals need medical advice, they should always consult a licensed medical professional. This information was provided by an anonymous working camera journalist, originally posted on the “News And Current Affairs Camera Operators” Facebook group on March 17, 2020.