Let’s take two…

by Claire Oldfield – Aug 20, 2020

Video in the early days of corona posed a very obvious set of challenges. With the world in lockdown agencies were limited to innovative use of animation and B-roll footage, plus some Zoom filming when interviewees were happy to do so. The results – even in the most difficult of times – were brilliantly creative.

And that should have been as tough as it got.

But filming as we emerge from Covid-19 is infinitely more challenging. It has thrown up a host of new, thorny questions such as: How do you film when you can’t touch surface?... When you have to social distance?... When you can’t send teams out to make simple human connections?... And when even the video kit poses a threat to viral contagion?

It is a challenge. But like all things corona-related, we’ve found putting a simple process in place enables all the creative flair – and charming interaction – to flow as normal.

We put this to the test the other week when some of our team went out to film the re-opening of Snap Fitness in Greenwich, south-east London.

Here are some of our top tips for success:

1. Plan remotely

The days of wandering round buildings or streets looking for the perfect place to film are gone (for now). Recce using tools such as Google Earth or – better still – pick up the phone and get first-hand insight from someone who is there. And remember: just because you can’t meet someone doesn’t mean you can’t build a rapport with them.

2. Film outside if possible

A lot of people still feel far more comfortable about meeting in groups in the great outdoors. If that’s not possible and you have to film inside, then keep your distance. In work places, or public venues like gyms, follow the guidelines that are in place. And clearly, in people’s homes any filming has to be done in consultation with the householder so that they are happy.

3. Use minimal kit – and clean, clean, clean

We are all used to carrying sanitiser gel and wipes. It should be put to good use before and after filming by making sure everything is clean. Such a basic but important activity also helps make clients and interviewees feel reassured that they are dealing with professionals.

4. Send out a detailed call-sheet

Your call-sheet should include all the usual things such as shoot location, timings, crew and contact details for everyone attending. But in addition, we also send over to clients our agency guidelines on filming in Covid-19 so they can see that there is a policy in place and that it is being followed.

As part of that we have added in a health declaration – everyone attending a shoot is asked to confirm that they are not, and have not recently been, showing any Covid-19 symptoms.

In addition, before finalising the call-sheet, check whether there are any extra precautions that need to be put in place for the specific shoot you are planning.

5. Use a small team

We like to keep our teams lean at any time but with virus fears it’s more important than ever not to have a location over-filled with hangers-on. And for those who are on set: wear masks; don’t use personal mics; be mindful of other people; use sanitiser gel and wash your hands often. Oh, and we always ensure the presence of a charming, chatty (and useful) team member to keep everyone buoyed up.

6. All post-production is remote

Prepare for the fact that getting the final cut may take a little more time. Gone (for now) are the days of client and agency teams meeting in the editing suite. Instead versions of edits and feedback have to be shared online, through calls and video meetings: that takes a bit more thought and planning.

7. Above all… be creative

Don’t trip up because you’re worrying about how to navigate a space. People are desperate for human interaction and we have found in this time of Covid they are more likely to engage properly with a filming session. This is a brilliant opportunity to deliver some really innovative ideas.

As for Wardour, our process means we are very definitely back in the business of film.

Published Aug 20, 2020

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