Centre Releases SOPs For Resumption Of Shooting Of Films, TV Serials
A director watches a scene on a monitor at Basra Studios in Mumbai, India. (Photographer: Brent Lewin/Bloomberg)

Centre Releases SOPs For Resumption Of Shooting Of Films, TV Serials

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The Centre on Sunday announced standard operating procedures (SOPs) for resuming shooting of films and TV programmes, and these include measures such as social distancing and mandatory use of face cover or masks for cast and crew, except for actors in front of camera.

The guiding principles and SOPs on preventive measures for media production to contain the spread of Covid-19 were announced by Prakash Javadekar, information and broadcast minister.

He asserted that these measures would facilitate resumption of shooting and provide employment to scores of people that were impacted after the film industry was forced to shut shop when the Covid-19 pandemic broke out.

These SOPs have been finalised after consulting the health and home ministries, Javadekar said.

Shooting of films and TV serials can be started using these SOPs issued in the wake of the pandemic, the minister said.

Sharing details of the SOPs, Javadekar said barring those who are in front of cameras all others will have to wear masks.

"We are laying down SOPs as per international experience, and with the consultation of the health ministry and the home ministry, we have issued these SOPs," he said.

"This is an important aspect of the economy and it employs millions of people, therefore, we have issued this to facilitate now the production activity to resume. I am sure everyone will welcome this and all states will implement this," Javadekar said.

The document from the information and broadcasting ministry also emphasised the health and family welfare ministry's guiding principles which state that non-essential activities will not be allowed in Covid-19 containment zones.

The guiding principles also said that employees who are at higher risk, such as older employees, pregnant employees, employees who have underlying medical conditions, should take extra precautions.

They should preferably not be exposed to any front-line work requiring direct contact with the public, according to the health ministry guiding principles.

The I&B ministry SOPs state that physical distancing of at least six feet must be maintained as far as feasible at all locations at all times, while sitting, standing in queues, among others.

These include places such as shoot locations, sound recording studios and editing rooms.

Aspects such as scenes, sequences, set-ups, camera locations, positions of various crew members, seating arrangements, food and catering arrangements, staggered meal timings should be planned while giving due consideration to physical distancing norms, according to the I&B ministry document.

Measures should be taken by the production team to involve a minimum number of cast and crew members during the shoot, the ministry said.

Visitors and audience should not be allowed on sets and for outdoor shooting, necessary coordination with the local authorities should be ensured to minimise and manage the spectators, it said.

Resting or stay-over facilities should be planned while adhering to physical distancing guidelines, according to the document.

Staggered call and pack-up timings for different production units should be ensured by studios having multiple sets, the SOPs state.

"There shall be designated entry and exit points for all shoot locations and other workplaces," the document said.

The guidelines require that common locations such as sets, cafeteria, make-up rooms, edit rooms, vanity vans, washrooms should be sanitised regularly, if possible before and after the shoot.

They also stressed that measures for the safety of sanitisation staff such as adequate provisions for rational use of gloves, boots, masks, PPE, should be undertaken.

It says that sharing of costumes, hair wigs, makeup items, equipment should be kept at a minimum.

Persons handling or working with common or shared equipment shall wear disposable gloves and efforts should be made to encourage wearing of gloves among other members of the cast and crew as well, according to the document.

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