13 May 2021

Safety on set COVID and beyond

Safety on set has always been and should always be the priority for any production.

COVID-19 has acted as a reminder of just how important it is for all of us, as a community, to embrace safety measures that go beyond social distancing

There are many moving parts to any production, with a myriad of tech, skills, crews and equipment all working at once. Keeping all involved safe is a mammoth task. We also know that the creativity element on set has at times pushed a shot to its limit, resulting in sometimes tragic consequences. The challenge at stake is for all of us to become more aware and put safety first.

Creating powerful and authentic action shots is every DP’s dream. The ultimate goal is to create scenes that feel so real you could be there, a need driven by the viewer’s appetite to feel part of the action. Audiences want to be on the edge of their seats, they want to be on the rollercoaster ride of emotions created by the scenes on screen. Many would argue that even with all the amazing advancements in CGI and post production magic, nothing really compares to recreating the action for real and capturing that on camera. It is a highly complex task, with precise choreography that requires the utmost precision with very little room for mistakes

So, let’s look at the technology we can use during these scenes in real life that keep the crew and cast safe. Eliminating the need for a camera operator to be close to potential risks on set, whilst still being able to achieve intimate and diverse shots, is surely the way forward? Many companies, including Motion Impossible, are making huge steps for this to be a possibility. Remote camera and dolly systems are advancing rapidly and provide a solution for many of these problems; fewer or no cables, controlled speeds, free roaming, repeatable movements to name only a few. If you want a camera angle right in the middle of a dangerous shot, brilliant, get it in there but have the operators controlling it from a distance!

The COVID-19 pandemic has proved immensely difficult in so many ways and for so many industries but it has also forced us to think outside the box and begin to adopt new filming technologies that have previously not been considered. There is no reason why remote filming technologies cannot be used in difficult filming situations, as well as to help productions get back to filming with COVID in mind. It is important to step away from the notion that these remote cameras and dollies are the end of traditional grip jobs, or that those jobs are being taken away by robots. We should move towards and welcoming them on set. They still need operators and skilled ones at that. More of them on set mean that those epic and dangerous action shots can still be captured but only a machine will be in the firing line. In this day and age there is no justifiable reason why crew should be in harm´s way.

Motion Impossible’s filming solutions have always had many drivers, to create movement in shots and inventing ground breaking technology that makes those impossible shots possible. One of those main drivers has always been safety and the team are passionate about promoting those qualities to the wider Film and TV industry. There are so many benefits to remote systems, the bonus being you can operate them safely from a distance.

Lesson learnt: you dont needto compromise on your creativity to keep crew safe.