We started off not shaking hands, then we moved to knocking elbows, then we left location all together and went into Lockdown. Vast swathes of the industry went into Hiatus, hibernation or plain extinction.

I have been fortunate to have had two projects come in during the Nationwide lockdown. One was shooting the “Welsh End” of the BBC News “In it Together” ident and then Voltage TV were commissioned to make a series of 5 specials going back “Inside the Factory” to see how the Virus, Lockdown and some panic buying had effected them.

Being on location, dealing with contributors, operating within the Risk Assessments of not only the production team but the factories that were shooting in and the governments as well and ultimately still making a TV programme have helped me piece together various “protocols” for working in the current “Socially Distanced” location shooting world., after collaborating with my fellow sound recordists involved in The Sab Network, this document has now been sent over to Bectu to go forward to any productions looking at getting back to shooting in the factual, Obs doc, PSC genre. If you would like to view this document please click on the download link.

For a very quick overview of the protocols I would adopt from my own personal standpoint as well as working with the Productions Risk assessment:

Social Distancing

Social Distancing, along with other government guidance over PPE, will be adhered to at all times on location. Maintain 2m distance from all cast and bystanders during set up, shoot and de-rig.
Regular Handwashing.



Equipment will be “cleaned” with 70% Isopropyl alcohol & finally wiped down with anti bac wipes before the shoot begins and any accessory bundles (ie mic clips, stickies, Waistbelts & Batteries) required put together, minimising cleaning required on location.
Any “Shared” kit (IEM, Timecode Lock Box, Digislate, Camera Hop) will be “cleaned” with anti bac wipes before and after handing over to relevant individuals. All shared kit will be handed over to the individual in question after cleaning in a sealed bag and won’t be returned until end of day or that individuals wrap time.
“Shared” kit

Sound kit

Sound kit on camera body (Camera Hop, TC lock Box) will be kept to a minimum after conversation with DoP/Camera Person & Production.

DoP/Camera Person will be offered two ways of mounting the kit. 1) After washing my hands/donning gloves, I will manage equipment and checks on camera or 2) He/She can manage the equipment and checks as I supervise from a safe distance.
DoP/Camera Person

face coverings

If, at an interior location, social distancing becomes compromised face coverings will be worn.
Radio Mics can be used but the presenter/Contributor will either have to self mic with guidance or agree to me mic’ing them whilst we both wear a face covering. All Contribs will be offered anti bac handwipes before and after mic’ing up and any waste securely tidy away afterwards. Radio Mics can be moved from one contributor to another for different shots/scenes in the day but they MUST be cleaned down with anti bac wipes from capsule to Transmitter before being handed over again. The wearers and the recordist are the only people to touch the radio mics.

Radio Mics


Travel: I will travel on my own to all locations, without any other unnecessary journeys whilst driving to shoot location. Whilst I shall take regular breaks on any long drives, I will also minimise contact with others at any rest stops.
If I display any Symptoms, on location, before shoot or after wrap, I will inform either the senior member of production on site OR the Production Manager. Should I display Symptoms then I would immediate follow Isolation protocols as set out by the UK Government. If I have to leave location, I will arrange for a Stand-in to come to site as soon as possible.


For a full description of the Pre-Shoot, Location & Post Shoot Protocols please see: Factual/PSC/Structured Reality Filming During the COVID 19 Epidemic Sound Department (PDF)

First Option Covid-19 Certificate

Safe Sets International Covid-19 Certificate

Coronavirus basic awareness on production training

COVID-19 and Production

First Option Safety are one of, if not THE largest and most experienced safety consultants to the media and entertainment industry. If you have worked for any of the major broadcasters or the main production companies you have been in contact with First Option.

They have produced a download infographic and are running Zoom based courses for shooting during the COVID 19 Pandemic.

COVID-19 and Production - What you need to know (PDF)

The British Film Commission (BFC)

The British Film Commission (BFC) is the national agency with a remit to maximise and support the production of international feature film and television in the UK. Their document has been prepared in consultation with the Department for Digital, Culture Media and Sport (DCMS) with input from crew and crew representatives, industry bodies, unions and the devolved administrations in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland, and in consultation with Public Health England (PHE) and the Health and Safety Executive (HSE). This document is intended to provide high-level guidance to manage COVID-19 specific risk in producing film and high-end TV drama in the UK.

The document is aimed predominantly at managing the COVID-19 specific risk in producing film and high-end TV drama in the UK.

British Film Commission - Working Safely During COVID-19 in Film and High-end TV Drama Production (PDF)

Commercial Producers Ireland (CPI)

Commercial Producers Ireland (CPI) is the not-for-profit trade association for the television commercial production industry in Ireland. They represent 90% of all commercial production companies in Ireland. CPI’s membership draws upon a group of companies involved in the production of television and online commercials. CPI have produced an infographic, who doesn't love an infographic.

Commercial Producers Ireland (CPI) filming protocol COVID-19 (PDF)

The Guild of Television Camera Professionals (GTC)

The Guild of Television Camera Professionals (GTC) is a UK based organisation representing anyone who works professionally with cameras, from trainees to DoP’s and camera supervisors, DIT’s and vision engineers, self shooters, in fact anyone who is involved with the business of using cameras. The stated aim of the GTC is to "to preserve the professional status of all those earning their living through working with television cameras and to establish, uphold and advance standards and expertise within our profession.” In conjunction with the British Film Commission members of AMPS, ACO, BSC & GBCT, the GTC has helped to provide guidance on returning to work for HETV and feature film production as you can see in the link attached below with the BFC Guidance.

As well as this, the Guild of Television Camera Professionals has compiled, with help from its members, a list of resources that they have found useful. Not all are technical, some are even things to do if you’re stuck at home with children!

Click here for the Guild of Television Camera Professionals COVID-19 resources

Obviously, a lot of these documents are aimed predominantly at High End Television (HETV) Drama and Feature Production, however, BECTU are currently working with the various branches (including sound – see the SabNetwork download link, camera, HMU, AD’s & FM’s) to create a similar document for factual/non scripted/live production. Of course, work in this sector has continued during the lockdown period but will soon be ramping up and will need encompassing protocols. As yet, nothing official has been released, but the meetings are happening and any updates will be available from the BECTU website. At present in my experience it is working well by putting together the individual production company’s RA and the protocols that we as technical have put in place. One often informs the other, with both becoming stronger.

It is worth mentioning that at this time BECTU are offering a reduced rate for members to reflect the financial hardship being incurred. To apply it is best to call them on 020 7346 0900.


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