It’s a week on from Boris Johnson’s announcement of the UK’s first easing of lockdown restrictions. That announcement was followed up on 11 May with a confirmation from the Department of Digital, Culture, Media and Sport. The headline – as far as we film makers were concerned: film and television production in the UK is permitted to restart, providing all involved abide by social distancing guidelines.   

This is, of course, welcome news to film makers and the industry as a whole, but the restart does come with its own set of challenges. 

As far as we interpret the new regulations, the great news is we can now support clients with live action shoots - if that is the best way to bring their message to life. But just because we can get back to live action shoots, that doesn’t mean we should be planning them by default.

To advise our clients responsibly, we believe we should be exploring other film-making techniques that can be produced remotely alongside live-action creative proposals to see if they can be equally or more effective without the risks of working alongside each other. These techniques include:

  • Animation projects
  • Footage edits
  • User generated content (UGC)
  • Remote recording

We discussed the merits of these options in brief back in March and last week we published a detailed guide on how to make the most out of UGC in your corporate comms.

Like the rest of the industry, we’re busy absorbing the government guidelines along with advice from other institutions such as the Advertising Producers Association (APA) and the UK's biggest broadcasters’ back to work blueprint to make sure we’re putting measures in place to keep our crew, clients, contributors and artistes safe on set. Our planning includes crafting answers to the following questions

  • How can we minimise crew sizes? Using collaboration tools to keep clients, the director and others away from set, for example
  • How can we plan shots so we can maintain social distancing? Shooting separate plates and joining in the edit, for example
  • How do we make sure our locations and equipment are properly sanitised?
  • What do we do if one of our crew or contributors is unable to attend due to showing symptoms?
  • How do we make sure we’re fully complying with rapidly changing legislation and advice? 

We’re currently reviewing our processes between lower-risk (defined as fewer than five people, one location, exterior shots and full social distancing possible) and higher risk productions. Once complete we’ll have simple, straightforward steps to take on the smaller projects, and increased or more detailed health measures ready and waiting where they’re needed.

Crucially, this will be a collective effort, with clients, agencies, crew and talent all working together to create great films while minimising the risks to ourselves and our wider communities.

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