Video Production Guidelines During the COVID-19 Outbreak

These guidelines are a set of best practices designed to ensure the safety of video producers and crew before, during, and after working in the field during the Covid-19 pandemic. We talked with numerous organizations, advocacy groups, production companies, and freelancers who all helped to assemble this list. While we believe these guidelines should be followed when producing video right now, due to the dynamic nature of the pandemic and different local environments, they are by no means complete. If you have any other best practices you believe should be included here, or have any other feedback, please email guidelines@storyhunter.com. 

Freelancers working on Storyhunter: Please confirm you’ve read and understood these guidelines before applying to any job.

When applying to a job

  • I know the symptoms of the Covid-19 virus and how to recognize them in myself and others.  
  • I have the responsibility to reject a job offer because I deem it to be unsafe for me or others.
  • I will not take a job if I am exhibiting symptoms of Covid-19.
  • I am familiar with the area that I’m working in. I have weighed the risk of the production. I will take extra precautions if working in higher risk areas, which may include: 
    • Any high population-density neighborhood
    • Hospitals
    • Nursing Homes
    • Assisted Living Facilities
    • Factories
    • Prisons
    • Airplanes
    • Buses
    • Cruise ships

Preparing for the shoot

  • Before going out on a shoot, if working with a crew:
    • We will have a team conversation about health, safety, and recognizing symptoms in each other.
    • Both myself and every member of my crew will be made aware of the risk factors for Covid-19 illnesses and will be required to mention any relevant health issues they may have.
    • The CDC has determined that these are risk factors for catching the coronavirus:
      • Asthma
      • Chronic lung disease
      • Diabetes
      • Serious heart conditions
      • Chronic kidney disease being treated with dialysis
      • Severe obesity
      • People aged 65 or older
      • People in nursing homes or long-term care facilities
      • Pregnancy
      • Immunocompromised
      • Liver disease
  • I am aware of the situations in which I should self-quarantine after a production, as recommended by WHO and CDC.
    • I know that it is suggested that I self-quarantine for at least two weeks, if I experience the following:
      • Exposure to a high risk area 
      • Someone I encounter exhibits symptoms of COVID-19
        • I can end my self-quarantine if they test negative for COVID-19
      • A member of my crew comes down with COVID-19
  • In the event that I become seriously ill with Covid-19, I am aware of local medical centers that can treat me.
  • Neither the client, nor Storyhunter, will be held liable if I get Covid-19 or any other illness and/or injury from this production.
  • I understand that it is recommended for me to review my health insurance coverage to ensure I am covered for the locations I will be working in.
  • I am aware that it is recommended I am clean shaven.
  • I will check with my local & state government websites for resources specific to my area.

While out in the field

  • I will protect myself by wearing a mask and at least one layer of gloves.
  • If working in a high-risk area, I will wear goggles and a full-body suit or an extra layer of clothes.
  • I will not shake hands or bump elbows with anyone.
  • I will wash my hands or use hand sanitizer frequently while out on the shoot
  • I will use my time as efficiently as I can. The less time I spend shooting means the less opportunity I have to come in contact with the virus.
  • I am aware that filming can attract attention from the public. If people approach me while on the shoot, I will make sure that they stay at least 6 feet away from me, my crew and the subjects of the shoot.
  • I will disinfect all equipment during the shoot when I have the opportunity to.

For interviews

  • I will not greet my interview subjects by shaking hands, bumping elbows, or coming within 6 feet of them.  A simple wave or “namaste” should suffice. 
  • I will make sure that interviewees are following social distancing.
  • I will stand off to the side of the interviewee, as opposed to directly in front of them.
  • I will use a zoom lens to capture close up shots to avoid violating social distancing
  • I will use a windscreen on all microphones for the duration of the shoot, if I have access to them.
  • I will not mic the subjects of the shoot. Instead, I will talk them through micing themselves up, if it’s required that they wear one.
    • Before I instruct them, I will disinfect the microphone in front of them so that they can see I am taking precautions for their safety, as well as mine.
  • I recognize that this is an emotional time for a lot of people, and potentially for my interview subjects. I will do my best to ask and frame questions so that they don’t upset the interviewee.
    • Storyhunter recommends that you reach out to interviewees ahead of time to introduce yourself. It’s harder to build rapport with a subject when you’re wearing a mask. This isn’t mandatory, but some freelancers have noted that this has benefited their work.
  • If I need the interview subject to sign a release form, I will have them sign it digitally, or record them saying they agree to the terms of the form.

After you finish shooting

  • If possible, I will designate an area at home to undress and dispose of my gloves, mask and, if I wore one, my full-body suit.
  • I will wash the clothes and goggles (if applicable) I wore on the shoot immediately after taking them off.
  • If relevant, I will wipe down the inside of my car after I get home, emphasizing the areas that I touch the most and where my gear was located.
  • I will check in on the people I worked with after the shoot to see how they’re doing.
  • I will check in on the subjects/actors from the shoot as well.
  • I will follow steps recommended by my local health authorities if I begin exhibiting symptoms of Covid-19
  • I will disinfect all equipment after the shoot.
    • Courtesy of Everyday Projects, here are some estimates for how long the virus can live on some common surfaces.
    • Here are some recommended solutions for cleaning your gear:
      • Cameras, Tripods – A lot of freelancers are cleaning their gear with Clorox wipes. You can also use hot soapy water or isopropyl alcohol in 60% or greater. Use a paper towel to clean the surface, but don’t soak it with whichever solution you use. Make sure to clean the viewfinders on your camera, since your face can get pretty close to it.
      • Microphones – You can wipe microphones down with the same solutions as your camera, but be careful around the buttons and other cavernous sections of the microphone’s body. It’s important to not oversaturate whatever cloth or paper towel you’re cleaning your microphone with.
      • Windscreens – To clean windscreens soak them in hot soapy water and then rinse them in clean water. Shake them out and let them air dry overnight.
      • Lenses – We hope that you’re cleaning your camera lenses anyways, but here’s a friendly reminder not to forget about them! Of course, don’t use any wire brushes. Just dab a Q-tip in isopropyl alcohol (60% or greater) and gently disinfect the lens. You can clean goggles (if you’re wearing them) the same way.
      • Clothes – This might be more obvious than the lenses, but don’t forget to immediately wash the clothes you wore on the shoot when you get home. Just make sure you’re not washing them on cold water, since warm/hot water is most effective for killing the virus.

If you have any feedback on these guidelines, please reach out to guidelines@storyhunter.com.