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5 Ways Companies Are Working With Freelancers To Safely Produce Video During This Pandemic

Since the Covid-19 outbreak began, Storyhunter has helped our clients and freelancers continue to produce content safely. We are…
5 Ways Companies Are Working With Freelancers To Safely Produce Video During This Pandemic
(Adrian Hartrick)

Since the Covid-19 outbreak began, Storyhunter has helped our clients and freelancers continue to produce content safely. We are publishing our internal guidelines this week with the goal of helping the entire video community navigate these unchartered waters. The pieces below were made by clients and video creators using Storyhunter during the pandemic. Hopefully they can trigger ideas, techniques, and inspiration for how you can continue telling your stories.

Tell Stories From Home

Great Big Story // Freelance Filmmakers: Jeremy Kruis (Philippines), Fred Dufour (China), Jack Davis (Hungary), Alex Gatenby (London), Tim Smith (Spain), Luca Immesi (Italy), David Wardell (Australia), Masoud Soheili (Iran)

Great Big Story wanted to tell a story of the collective human experience of this pandemic for their series Around the World, but they wanted to do it in a safe way. They hired 8 freelance filmmakers in Iran, China, Australia, Italy, Hungary, the Philippines, London and Spain to document their own situations in quarantine. This strategy allowed them to create an 18-minute long documentary about the coronavirus, without a single freelancer leaving their homes. We interviewed Beryl Shereshewsky, the senior producer for this project, and she gave us a look at her mindset for creating video in this new world:

“In this new world that we’re in right now, we should be looking at storytelling in a slightly different way. We’re used to leaving our homes and going and filming other people, but I think we should take another look at what we can do inside. A lot of filmmakers are sitting at home right now with expensive cameras that are just sitting in a box.”

Use Drones, Expertly

Voice of America // Drone Photographer: Aaron Fedor

Aaron Fedor pitched this idea to Voice of America, and he directed, produced and shot it. The video depicts a desolate New York City with drone shots showing barren streets, an empty Grand Central Station and many famous landmarks, usually crowded by locals and tourists. All but two shots of this video were shot with a drone. The rest were done with a steadicam and only one required the shooters to leave their vehicle, and that’s the one of Grand Central Station, where the only people inside were the two freelancers and two police officers. Aaron told us that he anticipates a lot of companies turning to expert drone photographers, and he’s eager to keep working!

New York, Paused
We visit a very different New York - all the landmarks, but so few people. Reporter/Camera/Drone Camera: Aaron Fedor…

Hire Local Field Producers

QuickTake by Bloomberg // Documentary Filmmaker: Peter Bittner

QuickTake was looking to show how some small businesses in Seattle are dealing with the shutdown. Seattle, at one point, was the US epicenter of the crisis, so they passed on some advice on covering the pandemic to freelancer Peter Bittner. Peter has managed to find quite a bit of work on Storyhunter, and is currently working on another piece from QuickTake. He told us that safety is at the front of his mind on every shoot. For this project, Peter wore a mask and gloves, and walked the interview subject through micing themselves up, so that he could socially distance himself. He disinfected the lav mic right before the subject put it on and after he took it off. His precautions continue when he gets home from the shoot. Peter cleans the interior of his car including the steering wheel, gear shift, stereo and anything else that he touches.

Tell The Incredible Stories of Small Businesses

Business Insider // Video Journalist: Scott Elliott

Business Insider had this story about companies changing their business models to help fight the Coronavirus for their Facebook Watch show. They hired video journalist Scott Elliott in Lehigh County, Pennsylvania, to produce this video profile of Eight Oaks Farm Distillery, which halted production of their usual spirits to produce hand sanitizer. The shoot was in the early days of COVID-19, before it progressed to the level of precautions that we take now. Still, he made sure to be socially distant, and since the shoot was about the distillery’s production of hand sanitizer, there were lots of opportunities to use it!

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Hire Animators and Motion Graphics Artists

Bloomberg Industry Group // Motion Graphics Designer: Virginia Gilles

There are some styles of video that can be created without anyone leaving their homes. We saw this in Great Big Story’s video at the top of this list, and here we have an example from Bloomberg Industry Group. They hired Virginia Gilles, an all-star motion graphics artist to create this explainer video for them about the impact the pandemic could have on America’s 2020 election. They used what could be considered the safest way to produce video to explain why voting in 2020 will have to be revolutionized to protect US citizens.

Luckily, video production doesn’t have to be drastically changed in order to do it safely. If we all use common sense, protect ourselves and those we’re working with, and get creative with what we already have in our tool chests, we can continue to create amazing video, and tell inspiring stories over the course of this pandemic.

By Jake Watkins, Head of Stories