PRODUCT ION RESTART | FEATURE
counterparts. Google’s mobility index, which tracks our movements by our phones, has us moving 3% less than at the start of the year (pre-pandemic). You can almost understand why we might be reacting like this as our Covid-19 experience has been so bad. We asked some crew if work was coming in and what their experiences were. Jonathan Jones from Ember had just released his new Netflix Tiny Creatures programme, so was busy doing press for that, but had also just come back from Iceland on a secret project. Jeff Brown from Brownian Motion had a couple of film jobs, but was just waiting for the commercials world to wake up. DOP Julian Court was slowly winding up for Killing Eve , but did say that there were quite a few productions on the edge of starting up. Overall, the feeling is positive, as the testing has been very promising. If there is one thing that this industry does well, that’s testing. A big problem, or perhaps incentive, is that big broadcasters – commercial and public – are running out of content, and the content ready to go into the cinemas is either risking that fans will go back to the movies or, like Disney, releasing blockbusters on streaming services. Disney is currently showing Mulan on its service, but on a premium part of the service that costs around £24, plus the price of the service if you haven’t already signed up. That is a lot of money, especially as you might only be able to watch it the one time. It’s still early days in our world struggle against Covid-19 and we are at the mercy of localised spikes of infections, so let’s hope that all these measures persuade more productions to carry on where they left off in March and get our industry moving again.
safe measures to ensure safety for crew, production teams and subjects, so filming projects can continue. Jeremy Braben, aerial DOP and CEO of Helicopter Film Services, comments: “We’ve adopted new operational procedures to take into account all the risks posed by coronavirus. Fortunately, aerial units are generally more isolated from wider crew, and communications can be carried out by radio and telephone to liaise with other departments.” Now, all HFS aircraft are sanitised before every flight, with particular attention paid to any contact points. Shared equipment, such as monitors, remotes and cables, are also cleaned with anti-viral treatments prior to use. Aerial crew are tested for the virus on a weekly basis, regardless of symptoms and any positive results will trigger an immediate quarantine. What’s more, all crew are required to wear masks and gloves on every flight and additional remote viewing facilities are provided for helicopter and drone units. Where distanced or remote working is not possible, the crew members wear PPE when required, in line with studio, production and health and safety guidelines PRODUCTION RUSH? The UK as a nation is being very shy about getting back in the office or, indeed, the set. Our economy shrunk by 20% in the second quarter of the year, which is more than any other G7 country. But the sad fact is that if people don’t go back to work, or if work doesn’t start materialising, as in the film and TV production business, then the UK economy will further suffer. Unfortunately, the UK also seems stuck at home a lot more than our European
RECENT REVIVALS There are pools of light in these dark times, though. UK car show Top Gear started shooting in early June with very strict rules on shooting in-car and indoors. Coronation Street cameras started rolling again, despite an 11-week interruption to filming. Emmerdale , too, with restrictions in place and by recording new episodes showing characters dealing with lockdown. EastEnders cast and crew have started to film new scenes as the cameras begin to roll again following the coronavirus lockdown. Service companies like Helicopter Film Services have introduced Covid- IMAGES Disney’s Mulan (top) and Netflix’s Tiny Creatures (above) are two of the productions still being released, albeit on streaming platforms
We’ve adopted new operational procedures to take into account all the risks
SEPTEMBER 2020 | DEF I N I T ION 43
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