Here’s how the Coronavirus is impacting Hollywood.
In Los Angeles County, there are currently 409,000 cases with 7,700 cases. In fact, in the last two weeks, there are over 50,000 cases of Coronavirus infections.
That said, Hollywood is masking-up, taking precautions, and moving forward with filming. Since June, state and county officials said Action allowing film and tv productions to resume filming as they follow new health and safety protocols.
On top of social distancing, face coverings, and testing for the coronavirus, only essential cast and crew are allowed on set with the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health’s new rules. As a result, productions must disinfect props, actors must wash hands, and crew must be as silent as possible to avoid spreading the virus through talking. Also, there will be no craft service buffets, fight scenes, and “intimate scenes” discouraged.
With this new pandemic, new technology is emerging in the film industry. In a report by the Los Angeles Times, Hollywood productions are using color-coded IDs with embedded chips that are scanned by COVID safety officers. The chip collects and tracks data on the crew’s movement to effectively do contact tracing for someone who tested positive for the disease.
The new technology is called Safe Set and was recently launched by Greg Guzzetta, a former production manager who spent the last 10 years making public safety technology for live music events.
“It allowed me to put the live event business over on a shelf and not be depressed by that,” he said. “I’ve taken bits and pieces of different tech that I used in the other spaces and wrote some new software with my development team, and we came up with Safe Set.”
Also, Los Angeles cinematographer Aaron Grasso and talent manager Josh Shadid created a new company after the pandemic. The two created a robotic camera currently used by Netflix, Warner Bros., and other studios to help film stars remotely for marketing campaigns for such projects as the upcoming “Dune” movie.
“During the pandemic shutdown, [we] were looking to figure out ways to get back to work safely,” said Grasso, cofounder of Solo Cinebot Inc. “And so we started exploring possibilities for remote options — cameras, light, and sound that we could operate remotely.”
Ultimately, virtual productions are the new business strategy during the Coronavirus. During the COVID-19 pandemic shut down, Stargate Studios created virtual sets for actors to step into once the industry was up and running again, reducing the number of people needed on set.
As the second pandemic wave begins to rise in related news, we will probably see a lot more production shutdowns that we previously experienced this March. As a result, some studios will be shutting things down in the coming weeks. A few shows, including Netflix’s The Witcher and Apple TV+ Myrhic Quest, have already stopped production amid new Coronavirus cases. Now, according to Deadline, CW’s The Flash is already facing a similar scenario after an unidentified production member tested positive for COVID-19, which caused all production to pause “out of an abundance of caution.”
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