The idea of social distancing on a film set has the potential to sound like an oxymoron. Almost every memory I have working on set involves lots of people working closely together for very long periods of time. While it may be too early to conjecture there are still things we can plan and prepare for.
Using technology, avoiding paper and going digital used to be a nice suggestion over the last several years. These tools/technologies were often optional devices that productions would use to streamline things and make things more efficient. Today in light of the COVID-19 Pandemic that we face digital tools will serve as a primary and necessary way to help in our efforts to create a safe set and maintain productivity.
Below I have outlined 7 ways to encourage social distancing on a film set in light of the COVID-19 virus.
- Use technology to allow a video village system that is not dependent on 1-2 monitors. Teradek has a great product called SERV PRO that allows a video system to stream up to 10 devices (combination of iPads and phones). Using this device will allow the people that really need to see a monitor (various dept heads and Producers) the opportunity to view without having to all be clustered around the same monitor as the Director/DP/Scripty. In addition this system makes it extremely helpful for ADs when placing and setting background in very large spaces to carry their monitor with them.
- Have signs on set to remind cast and crew of Social Distancing efforts. Consider placing these signs in key spots such as restrooms, trailers, entrances to set etc
- Limit in-person meetings and auditions. Consider using software like Zoom to conduct production meetings, table reads etc.
- When working with Background Actors consider using software like RABS to decrease contact between staff and the Extras. RABS is great for handling digital vouchers and creating a paperless system that will give you peace of mind.
- Go digital with sides, call sheets and essential paperwork for cast and crew. A few companies that are making waves in this industry are Setkeeper, Croogloo, Studio Binder and Scenechronize. By avoiding passing out paper documents you will be minimizing crew interaction in a significant way. There are also numerous payroll companies that have setup digital systems for time cards etc.
- Create a training video system that each Crew Member, Cast Person and Background Actor must watch prior to their first day of work. Trainual is a software tool that you could implement with relative ease.
- Allocate large enough holding areas for lunch, background holding etc so that people are able to have enough space when doing those activities. Some sets may even talk about doing a working lunch and observing french hours to allow for such a possibility.