Updated: Jun 24, 2020
It has been 95 days since I closed my pink Peli Case and put the remote to bed.
Whilst going through what seemed like a rollercoaster ride of emotions, ranging from sad to depressed and bored, I still maintained an intense passion to fight for my industry and to get back on set. To just make it work.
We’ve researched and planned ahead on how we can shoot, and in theory we are ready.
In practice, it is a challenge. I would like share with you, this once-in-a-lifetime experience.
A GOOD PREP IS HALF THE JOB....
June 21th 2020
We all know this. A good prep is half the job. Know it all. Be prepared for anything. But what if there is this one thing you can’t control? Where your best is normally good enough, but now it’s all about making it work together, communicating and reorganising. Your best suddenly needs a software update. Filmmakers are known for their adaptability, for colouring outside the lines, for bending and breaking the rules. Suddenly, we are faced with a situation where you are required to colour within the lines in order to create a safe workspace. Your best is, at this moment, not good enough anymore if it means your actions can put the health status of the set in jeopardy.
On the 16th of June, whilst resuming prep for a feature which almost 4 months ago had been rudely interrupted by the pandemic, I underwent a Covid19 test as requested by production. This requirement is not necessary for most productions, but a well suited addition to the protocol which provides a ‘clean slate’ and ease of mind for all on set.
Results were a gleeful negative, which meant I could attend to set 2 days later.
Since a good prep is half the job, we initiated a Covid 19 rehearsal day.
This meant that as a crew we could see the location, get acquainted with the covid manager and set-nurse, and discuss the covid protocol plans to see if they made any sense in context.
During the rehearsal day we discovered a few things, the one-way-walking routes
were challenging for some departments such as the grip when moving a dolly. Since there are only a max of 6 persons allowed inside the main set building at all times, a queue had to be formed where we were obliged to wait for each other to enter and exit. This required a top up of a much-requested virtue: patience.
The actual shooting day, starts with a pre-call to go to the set nurse. An added 5 minutes to our usual routine. The nurse takes note of your temperature and oxygen levels. If all is found to be good and dandy, then you’ve got a green light to go to set… alone, in your own car.
On set we have a max amount of 30 people, as previously mentioned 6 inside the house,
INCLUDING actors. In order to see the blocking we put a 20mm on the main camera which is a Mini LF. This acts as our witness to the scene. The entire crew can log into an app where they could follow (with sound) the blocking on his/her phone.
If you haven’t thought of this by now, I’ll lay it out for you. Six people is not a lot.
Think about it. The DOP, 1st ac, grip, 1st AD, Boom opp, director. That’s 6… without actors.
We coloured inside the lines but that doesn’t mean we restricted ourselves from creating creative solutions together.
This first day of shooting went smooth, protcol wise. To me, it felt like I could almost do my job. I do miss being next to the camera and seeing actors and DOP move during a scene. Focus pulling also involves the art of feeling a scene. When you're forced to be outside the room, you cannot feel the dynamics between the camera and actors anymore and rely heavily on instincts and experience.
The upcoming week will be interesting. A 6 actor-scene.
And because a good prep is half the job, my request for a platform to be installed besides the house has been approved. I can now see the scene through the one-story window and really pull it off.
Check the site on Thursday to read a follow up on shooting during corona times