As of right now, no one is sure what the 2020 Democratic Convention will look like – or if there will even be one. But Wisconsin remains a major battleground state. At some point, political ad agencies for both parties, as well as international media outlets will need to film in Wisconsin. When that times comes, FRESH COAST will be ready with local crews, equipment, studio facilities, and production support.
(If you’re not familiar with the term, don’t bother to Google it. All you’ll find are YouTube videos showing you how to lower your pickup truck.)
The procedure will vary depending upon locations and shoot requirements, but this is basically how filming interviews with Video Drop Kits works.
• The first step is a “virtual location scout”. The interview subject (or someone within their organization) takes photos of the location - home, office, etc. allowing your director and our DP to determine the best interview setup.
• Prior to the scheduled interview, our DP working alone and wearing appropriate PPE, loads in and sanitizes all the equipment. After setting the camera and lighting the shot, he leaves.
• During the interview, your director is connected via a web meeting app. If you’re looking for direct eye-contact between the director and subject, we’ll feed it to a camera-mounted teleprompter. Actual footage is recorded in-camera with reference video sent back to your director via the web meeting app. Camera functions (start, stop, zoom, etc.) is controlled remotely by the DP via WiFi. While theoretically almost any camera package can be used, its usually best to keep it simple (Sony FS7 for example). But when the location allows the DP to remain within 30-40 ft. of the set (an adjoining room, front porch, etc.), wireless control of a full cinema rig may be possible.
• At the conclusion of the interview, and after everyone has left the room, our DP returns to strike and load out all the gear. Footage is then either uploaded or shipped on a hard drive.
The Video Drop Kit approach may not be ideal, but not much is these days. We can all hope that things will improve in the weeks or months ahead, but for now, we all have to learn to think outside the box.
Pre-production has taken on new meaning.
Location Scouting now means more than just assessing lighting requirements, power availability and load-in logistics. Today it means determining if the space itself is sufficiently large and with adequate air circulation to ensure a safe shoot. Off-set areas will be needed for staging and sanitizing equipment and props.
Alternative locations may need to be found, crew positions adjusted, and lighting plans modified – sometimes all at the last minute.
Filming schedules and call times will need to factor in that everything is going to take longer.
Work Smart. Stay Safe.
Minimizing the number of people on-set has always been a good idea. Now it’s an imperative. Each filming environment will have its own unique challenges, and we’re all going to have to learn to adjust.
- DPs could end up having to set lights and pull their own focus.
- Directors may find themselves watching monitors in another room, or even another city via a webcast.
- Talent may have to provide their own wardrobe and do their own makeup.
- Prompter ops and script supervisors could find themselves on headsets in a garage.
- Everyone will need to plan for the unexpected. No more running out at the last minute to find another prop or buy a different shirt for the talent. Even grabbing that extra C-Stand off the truck will be involved and time consuming.
Being Productive While Staying Safe …
Despite whatever policies may or may not be in place (or be enforced) in a particular state, municipality or geographic area, everyone on a Fresh Coast Production Resources set, will be expected to:
- Adhere to all CDC guidelines regarding social distancing, use of face masks, gloves, and hand sanitizers.
- When social distancing is not feasible, everyone working or stationed within 6ft of one another must wear appropriate protective masks.
- Sanitize all cases and equipment in a pre-determined off-set staging area prior to bringing it on set. When possible, camera rigs, lighting fixtures, etc. should be “built” in this off-set area. Sanitizing equipment after removal from the set is recommended.
- Agree to having their temperatures monitored when required.
- Be Socially Responsible. It always been important for everyone on a film set to work as a team and trust each other. Now it is vital. We’re very fortunate to work with a select group of crew people - most of whom know and work with each other regularly. We have full confidence they will take the necessary precautions to keep each other, and everyone else on set safe.
- If you’re not feeling well, call in sick. If you become ill on set, tell someone and go home!