Filming Amid the Pandemic: How to Stay Safe

February 5, 2021


2021 has just begun. There is a lot of anticipation for this new year. Some are skeptical that it would be better, others are welcoming it with new hopes. However, one thing is for sure, Indonesia is slowly opening up its borders and building up the economic sector; this includes the film industry.

After some lull period due to COVID-19 outbreak in Indonesia; with cinemas being closed and productions postponed, now the film industry is back in business. Filmmakers have adapted new safety protocols to ensure that filming could take place safely amid the pandemic. So, here are some of the procedures implemented by Indonesian filmmakers to get the cameras rolling again.

  1. Conducting Swab Test & Self- Quarantine

    During the pre-production phase, all parties who are going to be involved in the shooting process are required to carry out the COVID-19 PCR swab test beforehand. This is done to ensure that everyone who will be in close contact during the filming has been declared virus-free. It is also suggested to implement a 14-days self-quarantine for crews and actors who are coming back from out of town.

  2. Smaller Crew & Shorter Working Hours

    Pre-COVID era, filming involved long working hours and hundreds of people in the process; But now, producers are obliged to shorten daily working hours and limit the number of crews to the bare minimum. Moreover, for some places that are still in semi-lock down conditions, the filming activity must strictly follow the working hour regulation allowed by the local government.

  3. Ring System/Zoning Implementation

    In order to reduce the number of people gathered in a particular area and to reduce the scope of the virus’ spread, the shooting process now has to implement the ring system. This system divides the shooting area into several rings (zones), such as ring 1, which is the main shooting set where only the main crew and the actors playing the scene are allowed, then ring 2 is a waiting room for the actors and crews who are not on duty or crews who needs to prepare for the next scene. While ring 3 is for the monitor set-up, where the directors, producers and clients are present. All casts and crew are required to comply with these rules and are not allowed to move outside their assigned ring without permission.

    However, there are some crews who are granted special permission to access all rings, such as assistant directors, production assistants, and others.

  4. Set & Gears Sterilisation

    Every nook and corners of the shooting set, as well as all the props, gears and equipments that are going to be used during filming must be sterilised. Spraying disinfectant all over the shooting area is a must, especially objects that are often touched by many, such as door handles or utensils. The provision of a washing sink or hand sanitiser are also a common sight on set nowadays.

  5. Support from COVID-19 Task Force Team

    To make sure that everyone is following all the regulations strictly, producers tend to hire additional staffs as COVID-19 surveillance team. Their job is to double check and guarantee that filming is done safely and properly. They will also take care of emergency health situations when necessary.

  6. Conducting Body Temperature Checks & Rapid Tests

    Just like how our body temperatures are checked every time we enter public places, every day before entering the filming location, everybody’s body temperature and health conditions are checked. If they show any kind of symptoms, they are not allowed to “check-in” and will be tested further. Also, once in a while, rapid tests or rapid antigen tests are carried out on a group of selected crew or casts. These two things must be done regularly to ensure that the people working together in the filming process are always in good conditions and that no new COVID cluster is created.

  7. Wearing Mask, Social Distancing & Washing Hands

    In addition to all the things that have been mentioned above, of course, every crew and casts must strictly follow the basic rules of social distancing, washing hands and wearing masks.

    Even though the above rules may seem troublesome, the safety of all the parties involved in the filming process is of utmost importance. However, it is not only the job of the producers or the COVID-19 task force team to make everyone safe. The involvement of every single cast and crew in abiding by all the rules & health protocols is very important. Only then can we all keep the cameras rolling and ensure the industry survive in these hard times.