Safety on Set: Filming Recommendations

One of the biggest challenges our clients face is how to start up production while being safe. The pandemic makes even the most minor personal interactions feel risky. At FDM, we understand this concern and are committed to implementing a plan that keeps everyone involved in the production safe and healthy.

Many organizations have put out guidelines for a safe return to work. In our industry, unions have been publishing their own recommendations. We have compiled a list of safety protocols to make every FDM shoot safer, drawing from guides put out by IATSE, SAG-AFTRA, DGA, and BECTU.

1. Health Safety Supervisor

We recommend adding a person to the crew who is dedicated to facilitating, overseeing, and enforcing these COVID19 safety guidelines. They would have the power to stop production in case of unsafe practices and be the contact person if anyone has questions or concerns on set.

2. Safety Briefings

Both online before the shoot and before starting work on set, an all-crew safety briefing should take place to go over the safety guidelines so everyone is on the same page. Any concerns can be raised before the set has been compromised.


3. Symptoms & Testing

The cornerstone of the IATSE/SAG/DGA guidelines is extensive testing for all cast and crew members. Frequent testing is the only way to guarantee no one on set is spreading the virus. However, this is burdensome to the crew, and the scarcity of testing kits in some areas may make this impractical. At the very least, we recommend doing a symptom check before the shoot; anyone exhibiting COVID symptoms should stay home. This also applies to anyone who has been in contact with another person exhibiting symptoms, because they can spread the disease while being asymptomatic.


4. Social Distancing

Keeping six feet apart is a critical part of stopping the spread of the virus. On set, this can be facilitated with wireless equipment, spreading out our setup, and limiting the number of crew. We also have the ability to live stream a feed straight from camera via Skype so clients, directors, producers, and other stakeholders can run the set virtually.

In addition, SAG recommends a ‘Zone System’ so that talent (who are often unable to wear PPE on camera) are kept sufficiently distanced from crew members.


5. Hand Washing

Hand washing will be encouraged, and hand sanitizer will be made available on set for frequent application.


6. Face Masks

Face masks have been another cornerstone of stopping the spread of disease. Single-use surgical masks will be made available for all crew, and wear will be required/enforced.


7. Follow-Up Report

Two weeks after the shoot has wrapped, we will contact all crew members and check in to make sure no one is exhibiting symptoms. We can then alert the other crew members if anyone they have worked with has become ill.

If your organization has COVID-19 safety guidelines in place, we are happy to incorporate those as well. Tell us your concerns and we can tailor a safety protocol for your shoot.

We have always been committed to the safety of everyone on our sets, and with the global pandemic, we are refocusing our efforts. Together we can still have a great shoot!


Here are some useful links to read further recommendations put out by other organizations:

Posted on July 1, 2020 in Uncategorized

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