We’re people people. So much of our job involves personal interaction that when the Covid-19 Pandemic began, we were worried about what it would mean for our industry and the way we had always done business. Thankfully, it has not spelled the end of human interaction, but it has inspired us to find new ways of creating content. 

Right now, a lot of people think it’s impossible to make marketing videos given the various rules and regulations regarding the number of people who can share a space with each other. If that were true, we would be out of business. What is true is that successful video making takes more planning and careful consideration of certain factors than it did before the pandemic. Nine months in, here’s what we’ve learned about how to make a video in a pandemic.

Stay up to date with the laws and regulations

Although government regulations to stop the spread of Covid-19 often seem onerous, it’s worth remembering that it’s also in their best interest to keep businesses going, therefore, they have designed their regulation often to reflect this. We like to think of them less as limitations and more as the rules of the game. Before you do any live-action shooting, take a look at the latest regulations and make sure you can fit your concept into them. This might take a bit of creative adjustment. For instance, new concert videos have all but disappeared from YouTube because most countries no longer allow gatherings of that size. However, musicians have pivoted to performing alone in jaw-dropping spaces like museums or empty theatres to create videos that their fans are quickly gobbling up.

How many people need to be involved?

Your production company will have a producer, director and cameraperson on your project but it will behoove you to think about how many people to involve on your end. The basic rule is that each new person you add to the project will up the level of coordination difficulties you face. This is through no fault of their own; instead it’s a function of carrying out almost everything remotely. Put simply, it’s easier to schedule a call between two people than it is between seven. And there will be calls. Keep your team lean and you will save time, cost, and headaches. 

Find an example

All pre-production, with the exception of location recces, is conducted via calls. As good as video-calling technology is, it isn’t the same as a face-to-face meeting, so be sure to come prepared. One of the most helpful ways that clients can convey the tone and style of the video they would like to create is by showing examples of other videos that they like. 

Makeup

For all the doom and gloom predicted at the beginning of the pandemic, there aren’t many jobs that have been completely put on hold by Covid-19. Unfortunately, makeup artistry has. The good news is that you can still look amazing on camera as long as you follow a few simple steps when doing your own makeup:

  • Don’t overdo it: unless it’s a fashion shoot, your makeup should be minimal and natural looking: no heavy contouring, no bright red lipstick.
  • Don’t shine: The main purpose of the makeup we use on anyone that isn’t an actor or model is to keep your face from appearing shiny when we shine bright lights onto it. Minimalism is best: a bit of powder on and forget about it.
  • Be careful with your eyes: you want to use eye makeup, mascara is fine but any sort of eyeliner or eyeshadow can potentially show up poorly on camera.

Location, location, location

To make a video, you’ll be spending at least half a day in a given location so you want to do everything you can to choose a location that is going to Covid-free. Avoid bars, restaurants, retail spaces, and really anywhere that hosts a lot of people in an uncontrolled way throughout the day. Offices, professional studios, and even homes are much safer bets because, at the very least, you know who has been in and out of them recently. 

Work with the a Covid-conscious team

In the heat of a shoot, it’s easy to cut corners and ignore little things like disinfecting surfaces, or keeping your mask on properly. Too many little slips can invalidate weeks of hard, socially distanced, work. Make sure the production company you hire has explicitly-stated Covid-protocols and each of their team members have been trained to work under them. 

The magic of the boom microphone

There are a lot of precautions that your production company will need to take to minimise the risk of spreading germs but the one that they should never forgo is using a boom mic to record sound. A boom mic is a microphone attached to a long pole that is dangled over a speaker’s head, either from a stand, or by the much-maligned boom mic operator, who you often see in cartoons or other funny depictions of movie making.

In the past, a lot of video was made using lav mics, which are clipped to lapels. After the advent of Covid-19, production companies realised that putting a lav mic on a person was the only time in an entire shoot that physical contact between production company and client was unavoidable. Now that we’ve done away with them in favour of booms, we’ve almost forgotten how ubiquitous they once were, but it’s worth making sure that whomever you’re working with isn’t still using lavs. 

Shoot remotely

DropCam kit

If you can’t, or don’t want to bring people from a production company into your office, there is now a way to shoot your video without ever coming into contact with people from outside your bubble. Our Dropcam product allows us to deliver a full suite of disinfected shooting equipment to your door and then remotely instruct you on how to set it up and use it. It’s safe, easy, and already working for a lot of our clients. Once you’re done shooting, we retrieve the footage and edit it into the final product. The only thing we don’t do is shake your hand. 

The global pandemic has not provoked a qualitative change in the work of video making, as many feared that it might. It is still a process of coordination between client and creatives. What we have witnessed is a change in pathways that facilitate this coordination. Meetings have become calls, crews have reduced in size, handshakes have become elbow bumps, and technology has stepped into solve problems that we could never have predicted in 2019. Can you make a video right now? Yes. Should you? Absolutely. It’s safer than it’s ever been and just as easy as long as you go into it with the things we’ve just discussed firmly in mind. 

So Where Can I Start?

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