24 Aug Creating Your Video Production Pod
With the COVID-19 pandemic still in play, safety is paramount when planning a production. While many versions of video production are being created and tried, Midweek Productions has found success in working with ‘pods.’
What Are Pods?
‘Pods’ are simply a group of production personnel that have been tested for COVID-19 and are kept together for each shoot, with limited external contact outside of the production.
The pods system is very different from what is being called the Zone System, introduced in The Safe Way Forward report. Many larger productions are implementing the Zone System, where personnel are classified under a zone that corresponds to varying degrees of risk. Each zone has different requirements for testing and PPE and assigned personnel must stay within their zone. This helps limit contact between departments.
Not every production has the flexibility of budget, personnel and locations needed for the zone system and for a crew like us, working in Pods makes more sense. As with everything, there are pros and cons to the Pod System.
Our Pod Squad
Your pod becomes your group of trusted and responsible crew members that you spend the entire duration of production with. We like to call it our pod squad.
One of the most obvious pros to Pods is the element of limited external variants. A set up like this is ideal for a traveling series, documentaries and shoots that don’t require large crews. For example, if you are doing a series with a crew of 5-7 people and are traveling in a pod, you know where they eat, where they sleep, what rest stops they have been to and how they are traveling (fun fact: for us it’s a disinfected van, we call her Minnie). Every crew member has the same amount of limited exposure to outside factors and can easily track where they have been. The pod also gets tested often and follows safety protocol like wearing masks, washing hands often and disinfecting gear.
This system also limits the number of personnel on a set. This is not only good if there are state limitations to the amount of people in one place, but it also lowers the amount of potential exposure. You might also find that your pod works out a system and becomes quite efficient along the way!
One very large con to the pod is that it often requires each role on set to do more than they traditionally do. This can get difficult when it comes to union shoots or working with crew members very specialized in one area. Because there is not space to have extra people on set, everyone may have to wear many hats to make the production successful.
Limited crew members also means that everything, like setting up and tearing down, may take a bit longer than it normally would. You have to make sure that you schedule your day with extra buffer time between set ups.
There is also a lot of preplanning needed before traveling in a pod. Ideally, you will be able to travel together (in our trusty van and Subaru!) or large bus, 15 pass van, etc. to keep everyone and all equipment together. Clean and safe bathrooms will need to be mapped out along the way and accommodations should be researched in advance. We found the hotels were better than something like an airbnb because of the strict cleaning and sanitizing protocols between each guest.
While no solution is quite perfect, we have found success and a greater sense of well-being working in our pod. It limits the number of variables and unknowns that you come across. It also has made us more efficient and flexible as a team.
Looking for a pod to shoot for you? Reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Stay safe everyone!