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Producers' Guild sets out operating procedures for post-lockdown schedules

The guild has set out in detail the procedures that need to be followed when film and television production resumes.

Our Correspondent

The Producers' Guild of India has issued a set of standard operating procedures (SOPs) that all production houses will have to follow whenever the shooting of films and television serials resumes.

The guidelines include strict observance of physical distancing on the set, regular medical check-ups of the cast and crew, and the extensive use of sanitizers. These SOPs have to be followed whenever production resumes.

The Indian film and television industries have been shut since mid-March when the government of India imposed a countrywide lockdown to prevent the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The guild thanked Maharashtra's chief minister Uddhav Thackeray on Twitter for accepting the guidelines it had offered and considering its request to allow film shoots to resume.

Apart from physical distancing and sanitization, the guild has also recommended the use of a negative ion machine (air purifier) on the sets and in studios and offices.

All members of the cast and crew will have to provide their health status before signing on for a shoot and submit to regular health check-ups thereafter. Studios and production houses will also undertake regular checks of body temperatures for all cast and crew attending a shoot. Every individual cleared for work will be provided with a wristband indicating that they are safe to proceed to work. The studio will be charged with maintaining documentation of everyone's health and travel.

The measures suggested also imply a change in several traditional working methods. One such new technique is the use of online videos and video calls for casting directors. The guild has suggested that casting directors conduct auditions online, with video calls helping to manage the interactions. There will also be a reduction in the number of costume-fitting trials before a shoot. The costumes will be disinfected and tried on by the artistes concerned on the day of the shoot itself.

Hair and make-up artistes will be required to wear personal protective equipment (PPE) kits and masks at all times. Their products and tools would have to be cleaned and disinfected before each use and they would be expected to use hand-sanitizers before every make-up trial.

The guild has also suggested limiting the number of people on a set. The art department, which the guidelines suggest employs the highest number of people, will be required to keep the number down to a minimum. In addition, production houses have been told to avoid having anyone over 60 years of age on the set for up to three months from the date of shooting as and when it starts. In addition, medical staff trained and equipped to deal with any health emergency will have to be on call.

Crew members will be expected to wear coloured bands that identify their departments and nature of work. All those who are required to work in close proximity, including actors and actresses, will have to undergo testing before the shoot.

Many of these measure are similar to those recommended for exhibitors by the multiplex association.

The industry has been in regular touch with the Maharashtra chief minister and will implement these SOPs when production is allowed to resume. Some have already made a start, including actor Akshay Kumar and director R Balki, who were seen wearing masks and face shields while shooting a public service commercial yesterday.

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