Filming in the ‘New Normal’

2nd July 2020

As filming resumes, how are we making our shoots safe for staff, crew and clients?

We’ve been reviewing practical ways to resume the full production of TV commercials, whilst adhering to the rules on social distancing and ensuring the safety of our staff, film crews, artists and clients.

During Lockdown, we’ve been making TVCs and other content based on graphics, animation and library footage. So we have in fact been able to do everything up to, but not including, live action shoots.

As we enter July with our first live action shoots in the calendar, this is how we are re-starting the filming process:

  • Casting

Casting of actors can in the first instance be done using self tapes — i.e. they film auditions on their mobile phones. Following this, we will audition a shortlist of artists using Zoom. This allows the client to view auditions taking place at the same time as the director going through the motions. This has been working very well and could in fact become the future of casting! Particularly if it enables us to see a wider variety of applicants from further afield.

  • Recces

Initial recces will take place by Zoom. The clients will be able to view videos of the shortlisted locations before a member of the Space City team visits in person with the Director.

  • Location/Studio Filming

At the moment, local councils are not granting filming licenses for public environments. However, there are still plenty of creative ideas that can either take place in a studio or a private, residential home setting.

We are filming in larger studios to ensure enough space for everyone required on set. Studios will be asked to implement strict safety procedures and make sure their facilities are deep cleaned before, during (where possible) and after the shoot.

In location settings, Space City will provide strict safety instructions and ensure that deep cleaning procedures are carried out prior to the shoot as well as during and after filming is completed.

To minimise the number of people on set, we will operate with a smaller crew and only permit one client to attend the shoot in person. Remote video streaming will be arranged for other clients to participate if necessary.

  • On Set Control Measures

In order to minimise the risk of spreading infection, anyone related to the filming will be asked, in advance of the shoot, to complete a declaration of health questionnaire.

Crew members should, if possible, drive in their own cars to the studio/location, avoiding public transport.

Where possible, start times will be staggered for crew and cast members, to avoid everyone turning up at once, and temperature testing will take place upon arrival. Anyone with an elevated temperature will not be permitted to join the filming team and safe passage home will be arranged if required.

Hand sanitisers, soaps and paper towels will be provided for use throughout each day. Everyone will be expected to wash their hands regularly and, particularly if they are touching equipment, use antibacterial hand gel.

Covid Safety supervisors will be present on all shoots and would be responsible for the following…

Ensuring set is clean before shooting – overseeing cleaners

Place distance markers on floor and keep clear throughout working day

Make sure that hand-sanitising stations are set up correctly

Make sure all areas have been set up correctly as needed

Make sure that PPE is visible

Make sure notices/posters are set up and visible

Make sure toilets are set up and clean

Ensure social distancing is observed throughout the shoot

Replenish PPE as required

Check communal areas are clean and not over-crowded

Brief all cast and crew on best practice to limit transmission on set

  • Equipment

Crew members should use their own equipment where possible. When items are hired in, the hire company should ensure that any kit being supplied has undergone a thorough disinfection clean before being loaded for delivery. Hire companies should also ensure that any personnel delivering the kit wear gloves and masks to minimise cross-contamination. Crew required to unload any equipment will also be provided with gloves and masks.

  • Artists

If we are filming a single person (e.g. a presenter in a studio/location setting), this should be readily achievable. If the creative calls for groups of artists within close proximity of each other (e.g. a couple or family) we will consider casting a real couple or family that are already living together. However to ensure the comfort of both artists and crew on set, we will take additional measures, such as using larger studios and locations, to give more space to all individuals on set and keep crew members to a minimum, as well as following the most up to date government safety guidelines. Alternatively, it might be possible to film locked-off shots, where artists take it in turns to deliver their performance, and we then assemble the sequence in post-production.

  • Sound Recording

Where possible we will use boom mikes. Sound recordists will also instruct artists on how to wear radio mikes from a safe distance.

  • MakeUp and Wardrobe

Wardrobe selections will be made prior to the shoot day – to avoid multiple changes of costume on the filming day, and, where possible, artists will be asked to wear their own clothes. Artists will be given a designated room to change in and a plastic bag to keep their own clothes in.

Where hair and make-up is a necessary requirement, enhanced PPE equipment must be worn, including gloves, apron, mask and visor.

The materials used for make-up should be unique to each artist and, ideally, they should be disposable. All other equipment should undergo thorough cleaning before and after any shoot.

  • Catering

Food options will only be made available if they can be served in individual take-away style boxes/containers. Where this is not possible, per diems will be offered to cover the cost of individuals bringing their own food from home.


If you have any questions, or would like to discuss your next shoot, please call the office or email Thanks!

Drop us a line

020 7371 4000

0161 210 3330