French Industry Orgs Offer Safety Protocol Guidelines For Resumption Of Filming On Movies & TV

Following Spain, India and others, France has outlined recommendations for on-set safety when filming gears back up again as coronavirus restrictions ease in the country. The Central Committee for Hygiene, Security and Working Conditions for TV and Film (CCHSCT) published its proposals today. The org noted that the suggestions are complementary to measures put in place by the government, and may be amended in the future.

France is in the third week of lifting some lockdown restrictions and the government is expected to release further overall information on Thursday. Cinemas are not anticipated to re-open until early July, but the prolific birthplace of cinema should be keen to get back to rolling its cameras.

The CCHSCT guidelines are a result of discussions between producers and union organizations. They are broken out into two parts: “Before Considering Resuming Activity” and “Resuming Activity.”

In the former, the CCHSCT says risks associated with the coronavirus pandemic must be assessed before filming can begin again. The lengthy document cites several of France’s codified laws regarding general working conditions, but also makes specific recommendations.

In the case of the audiovisual industry, particular attention must be paid to certain aspects of production which make social distancing difficult. That includes scenes of intimacy, scenes with older people, and group and fight scenes.

In those cases, one or more measures must be adopted says the CCHCST. In order of priority they are: The tweaking of certain scenes by rewriting, shot changes, digital inserts, masks, voluntary testing and/or temperature controls, potential voluntary quarantining and possibly a delay in filming such scenes. (Temperature taking is recommended, though testing cannot be enforced under French labor laws.)

Production companies will also need to supply materials for regular hand washing and the disinfection of surfaces, as well as defining methods of restocking and waste management. Personal Protection Equipment including masks and gloves should also be provided.

Depending on the scale of the project and the number of staff, a dedicated COVID overseer may be required full time. Employers can also decide to call on a person qualified in health risk prevention from outside the company. In the case of smaller projects, someone already under the authority of the production manager (or the production manager themself) may take on the responsibility. A nurse or doctor can also be hired to implement, if necessary, procedures defined by the production company for the care of a symptomatic person.

In terms of locations, studios should be the first choice in order to limit interactions, travel and to ensure safety. That’s perhaps a bit ornery for France where shoots are largely done in natural settings.

As for casting, auditions should be organized by video. Follow-up in-person meetings should respect necessary distances.

The guidelines further state that it should be ensured that sanitary equipment provided allows employees to respect national safety guidelines including the number of washbasins, the size of restrooms, running water, liquid soap, single-use hand towels, the regular cleaning of faucets and surfaces, and pedal-operated garbage cans. Air hand dryers should not be used.

When possible, departments that require personal proximity — like costume and hair and make-up — should be limited to strictly essential personnel. Certain talent including main actors, extras and stunt people may do their own prep and place their own microphones under the supervision of the respective departments.

Here is a look at some of the other suggested measures.

– Written confirmaiton should be made by equipment suppliers and studio owners that all material and premises will have been disinfected and not pose a risk of contamination

– Regular hand washing, upon arrival to work and after touching any common surface

– Regular cleaning of premises, surfaces and objects

– Work hours and breaks should be adapted to allow for cleaning measures

– Dedicated, labeled equipment (phones, computers, walkie-talkies) for all workers

– Regular airing out of sets and offices

– A strict limitation to only essential personnel

– Individual water bottles

– Avoid public transport in favor of carpooling with the necessary social distancing

– Arrange housing for non-local cast and crew with proper social distancing and a limitation on interaction with others who may be staying in the same place

– A limit on foreign travel; if a crew member has recently visited another country at risk, they should be confined until such time as their state of health has been evaluated

– During meals, social distancing of at least one meter should be practiced. Meals will on prepared trays, however staff can bring their own food from home

– Social distancing should be implemented on all sets between the crew, artists and production superviors

– Social distancing should also be implemented between actors, extras, stunt people, hosts, guest and other participants during rehearsals

– There should be regular cleaning of surfaces, including floors and microphones

– In terms of post-production, it is recommended that editors work remotely and that ADR be done with a limited number of people present

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