Everyone is trying to restart life amidst a global pandemic. The same goes for film production. Now more than ever, there’s an increased demand for content. But with creation on hold, the demand is piling up. To relieve this pressure, many projects overseas have resumed filming, albeit in a different manner.
Image by Lilja Jonsdottir/Netflix on Nicole Sperling’s blog. Link- The New York times
Image source: WARNER BROS via the article by Ben Dalton, Screendaily.com
As part of the world’s largest film industry, Indian film companies too will soon start production. But the question is HOW?
HOW can we ensure the safety of the cast & crew?
• The filming crew needs to wear personal protective equipment.
• Temperature checks are compulsory before entering the premises.
• Social distancing needs to be maintained at filming locations.
• Frequent sanitization is important to minimize the chances of infection.
These are basic guidelines given by authorities. But who ensures they’re being met? Even a small incident of flouting restrictions can have major consequences. Then shouldn’t someone supervise the shoot? What if someone fails a temperature check? Can they be replaced, or will the shoot need to be called off?
Except for vague information floating around, there’s no concrete plan to implement these measures while filming. Sets also need to be monitored continuously, with documented proof that protocols are being followed. But most work happens through independent freelancers. With very few organized players, it can be tough to enforce the right hygiene standards across all shoots & filming techniques.
HOW can we overcome this problem?
1) Use tech to ensure rules are followed: On a chaotic set, mistakes can happen & rules can go overlooked. Even if a supervisor is appointed, human lapses in monitoring are unavoidable. Then how do we ensure social distancing? Or verify adherence to guidelines? Technology is the answer. With automated image/video capturing, violations of safety rules can be reported to authorities with minimal OR no human intervention.
2)Keep the team size to a minimum: To maintain distancing, shoots might unfortunately have to function with the smallest possible filming crew. This can be ensured by finding the best professionals online, and limiting the crew to the essential ones. Many independent filmmakers have proven that – great content can be created without hiring an army to do it.
3) Access to health monitoring & hygiene facilities: Multiple sanitisation kiosks can be installed in the shooting area. This will minimise risk of spreading infection. Everyone present could also go through temperature checks. Non-contact thermometers can help detect people at the entry & exit points of a set.
The use of such a health monitoring system can effectively protect the health of unit members & prevent unforeseen delays.
4) COVID-proof catering: Traditional catering isn’t safe (at least for now). Food needs to be supplied in boxed meals untouched by hands. How to do that? By creating an organised, online distribution network. Using technology, we, at Filmboard, have tied up with multiple food brands, to ensure boxed, contactless delivery to filming locations & crews.
4) How to handle suspected cases: If someone is showing symptoms, it’s important to not panic. The suspected person could be immediately quarantined & tested. If they turn out positive, their replacement could be found. The supervisor can ensure this process happens smoothly.
All of these measures can be monitored & executed with the aid of technology. And Filmboard is leading this fight, with technical expertise. Due to our organized setup, we can also work in the purview of regulatory bodies. We believe Filmmaking in India needs to resume soon & we’re developing the ways make it happen – like an app that can monitor & make sure rules aren’t violated.
We admit filming a movie might not be the same anymore. This new way of working might take a little getting used to. But hopefully, soon, all film professionals will be able to get back to work & support their families.