“And Action…” Behind the scenes on a COVID-secure film shoot

Picture this. It’s the hottest day of the year. We’re at a quarry in the south of England. It’s incredibly dusty and – worst of all – there is nowhere serving coffee for miles.

This is no ordinary film shoot. This is a UK film shoot days after COVID lockdown restrictions eased.

Granted, it wasn’t the most glamourous setting to film in, but we couldn’t have been happier on location that day.

The recent project for a global manufacturer of heavy-duty machinery, has proved that it is still possible to get great footage in new and challenging circumstances.

Video is a critical part of this client’s marketing strategy and thanks to new ways of working and extra safety measures, we delivered the same high-quality video content. Here’s how.

Assess the risk before filming

Firstly, we completed our robust risk assessment which has been specially created for video shoots using best practice from Health & Safety bodies and the TV and film industry.

Each element of the filming was assessed for risk and a strategy was put in place to manage every stage of the filming.

Creating video on location in quarry

Keeping safe on location

The new ways of working on location focussed on reducing unnecessary contact with others. Measures put in place on the day included:

  • Setting up the site and subjects ahead of filming
  • Crew travelling alone
  • Staggered arrival times for crew members
  • Minimum crew. No assistants – it’s all hands on deck (sanitized, of course)
  • Using wireless monitors for directing
  • Logical filming, capture shots by camera equipment rather than traditional chronological approach
  • Sanitizing equipment

 Working together

By working closely with the client, we have been able to generate content which is as good as any video produced before lockdown. Meticulous planning, clever shooting and smart scripting have all played a part.

Post production continues as normal, so our clients still benefit from expert editing, graphics and voiceovers to bring the video to life.

We may ask a little more of our clients than we normally do for an up-coming shoot. But it’s nothing too taxing, such as:

  • On the day of filming everyone will need to complete a health declaration form
  • Clients may be asked to bring their own props
  • We might need you to help to prepare locations ahead of the filming day
  • You’ll have to learn how to attach a microphone to your clothing yourself
  • Following the health and safety measures outlined on the day

Our team is focused on managing risk and will remain sympathetic to the fact that people have different ways of dealing with this situation. We encourage a working environment where everyone feels comfortable sharing concerns or worries on the day.

Shooting video for construction equipment

Planning future video shoots

We’re used to work in difficult conditions and environments. COVID-19 brings another challenge to the mix, but one we can work around.

Our bespoke risk assessments are now in place for any client who wants to continue using the power of video in their marketing strategy. We can hit the ground running and that’s one less thing for you to worry about as we have it covered.

The outside setting for this project gave us greater freedom, but it’s still possible to deliver indoor shoots. Other safety measures include compulsory face masks, mandatory hand washing breaks and working back-to-back with sound and camera operators, for example.

If you think filming isn’t possible, think again. We will carry on capturing great footage and working within the changing guidelines to keep everyone safe in the process.

On this location it was very hot, really dusty and we had no phone signal, but everyone was so happy to be there, getting back to normal and doing what we love. Bring on the next project.

If you want to discuss video content with our experts, why not get in touch with us at hello@cwa.co.uk

Written by
Dave Clancy
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