Industry trade body, UK Screen Alliance has published version 2.0 of its Guidance for Covid-Safe Working in Post-Production and VFX with guidance on the slow return of client attended sessions.

Produced in consultation with UK Screen Alliance members, DCMS, the British Film Commission, BFI, PACT and BECTU, the updated guidance responds to the government’s policy direction of encouraging a safe return to on-premises working.

Until now UK Screen has been discouraging client attendance at post & VFX houses to minimise the risk of Covid-19 transmission, with working from home being preferred. Whilst remote editing remains a safe and viable option for many projects, it may not offer the necessary flexibility and speed required for complex multi-suite bookings, particularly when delivery is close to transmission. There are also circumstances where the controlled environment of an audio dubbing or colour grading suite is best provided inside a post-production facility.

The updated guidance allows client attendance in a carefully managed way to minimise the risk of Covid-19 infection. It calls for cooperation between post-production companies and their clients in sharing the responsibility for Covid-safe working particularly in dry-hire scenarios. It recommends that the teams of editors and edit producers should be limited to 6 people in order to contain the impact of any individual contracting Covid-19, which could then require the entire team to self-isolate and seriously disrupt the production. If larger teams are required, they may be split into separate cohorts of no more than 6 that do not meet each other face-to-face.

Creative operators and their clients often work together for many hours at a time and often for many consecutive days, so the guidance does not allow reduced separation of 1m for these activities, as a required mitigation for close contact is to restrict it to as a short duration as possible. Therefore, 2m separation will be required at all times in post-production suites.

Remote review and approval is still preferred for editorial viewings, but executives and senior producers may attend on-premises viewings when sign-off requires access to high quality audio and video monitoring. However, the Guidance recommends limiting attendance at viewings to relevant decision makers only and using two suites to separate visitors from creatives where possible.

The UK government has not mandated the wearing of face coverings in office settings but the Post & VFX Guidance ask that edit teams should consider wearing them and particularly advises using them in grading and dubbing suites, where creative operators may meet different clients each day.

UK Screen Alliance, chief executive Neil Hatton said, “This will be the beginning of a gradual transition to normal operations in post-production, as demand begins to increase and filming restarts. It will rely on all parties taking responsibility for social distancing in both their professional and personal lives to ensure that we maintain a Covid-safe environment everyone in the workplace.”

The updated guidance can be downloaded from the UK Screen Alliance website.
https://www.ukscreenalliance.co.uk/campaigns/guidance-for-safe-working-in-post-production-and-vfx-during-the-covid-19-pandemic/

Jon Creamer