Ever since the coronavirus outbreak and later imposed lockdown in the country, shootings of various films and Television shows have been put on halt. After approx three months, the shooting in certain states resumed keeping in mind all the necessary precautions. And now Union Minister for Information & Broadcasting, Prakash Javadekar on Sunday made an important announcement and said that the ministry have released a detailed SOP for resuming work in the media production industry. The general principles behind the SOP will help create a safe working environment for cast and crew in the industry.
"I am happy to announce that we are releasing standard operating procedure for film and TV programme shooting. The shooting of films and tv serials can be resumed now while following the norms of social distancing and wearing of masks except for the people who are being recorded on camera. I hope the decision to allow resumption of film & TV serial shooting will be welcomed by everyone, including film industry and states. States can specify additional conditions to the SOP, if necessary. This will also provide a push to the economy." announced Prakash Javadekar on August 23.
The SOP ensures adequate distancing at shoot locations and other work places and contains measures including proper sanitization, crowd management and provision for protective equipments.
The SOP suggests that sharing of costumes, props, wigs, makeup, etc., shall be kept to the minimum and persons handling shared equipment shall wear gloves. Lapel mics shall be avoided and never shared while direct contact with diaphragm of the mics shall be avoided. The new SOP, however, prohibits the entry of visitors or audience at shooting spots.
The I&B document also emphasised on the health and family welfare ministry's guiding principles which state that non-essential activities will not be allowed in COVID-19 containment zones. The guiding principles also said that employees who are at higher risk, such as older employees, pregnant employees, employees who have underlying medical conditions, should take extra precautions.
They should preferably not be exposed to any front-line work requiring direct contact with the public, according to the health ministry guiding principles.
The I&B ministry SOPs state that physical distancing of at least six feet to be followed as far as feasible at all locations at all times, while sitting, standing in queues, among others. These include places such as shoot locations, sound recording studios and editing rooms.
Aspects such as scenes, sequences, set-ups, camera locations, positions of various crew members, seating arrangements, food and catering arrangements, staggered meal timings should be planned while giving due consideration to physical distancing norms, according to the I&B ministry document.
Measures should be taken by the production team to involve a minimum number of cast and crew members during the shoot, the SOPs said.
Visitors and audience should not be allowed on sets and for outdoor shooting, necessary coordination with the local authorities should be ensured to minimise and manage the spectators, they said.
Resting or stay-over facilities should be planned while adhering to physical distancing guidelines, according to the document.
Staggered call and pack-up timings for different production units should be ensured by studios having multiple sets, the SOPs state.
"There shall be designated entry and exit points for all shoot locations and other workplaces," the document said.
Common locations such as sets, cafeteria, make-up rooms, edit rooms, vanity vans, washrooms should be sanitised regularly, it said.
Sanitisation, to the extent possible, before and after the shoot should be done, the SOPs said.
They also stressed that measures for the safety of sanitisation staff such as adequate provisions for rational use of gloves, boots, masks, PPE, should be undertaken.
The document also states that as far as possible, the practice of work from home should be followed.
It says that sharing of costumes, hair wigs, makeup items, equipment should be kept at a minimum.
Make-up artists and hair stylists will use relevant PPE and artistes should be encouraged to do their hair styling and make-up remotely with the help of professionals, as per the guidelines.
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