Cinematographers Guild Releases COVID-19 Safety Recommendations

IATSE locals will be tasked with creating safety protocols for specific film production departments

camera lens

The International Cinematographers Guild released their recommendations for COVID-19 safety protocols for their members on Wednesday as Hollywood prepares to roll out broad safety protocols to resume filming while labor organizations continue to develop craft-specific guidelines.

The 11-page report, which can be read here, recommends creating separate work spaces for positions that regularly come to sets, such as directors of photography and production designers, and keeping them distanced from those who do not come to sets like accountants and coordinators. Minimizing in-person scouting for shooting locations is also strongly advised.

For safety protocols during filming, ICG listed specific guidelines on how to properly clean cameras and other filming equipment and advises designating a specific crew member or group with cleaning and handling equipment to minimize contact. Each department should have a specific space that all members stay in until called to the set, which should have one-way access routes to minimize contact between members of different production departments. Directors and producers should also determine which crew members are absolutely essential for each step of filming, keeping non-essential members for set-up, rehearsal and shooting off the set and have them watch remotely.

ICG, which is a part of the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees as IATSE Local 600, is releasing these guidelines as Hollywood and other major filming locations are putting the final touches on broad COVID-19 protocols after weeks of discussions between studios, labor organizations, and epidemiologists.

On Monday, the British Film Commission released its guidelines on resuming film production in the U.K. while the Industry-Wide Safety Committee, which has overseen filming safety protocols for Hollywood since 1965, sent its white paper of recommendations to California Gov. Gavin Newsom and New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo. Health officials have told TheWrap that the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health is using the white paper as a guide for finalizing its safety requirements for filming to resume in Hollywood. Those requirements are expected to be released in the coming week, though it has been repeatedly postponed and the exact date of release is not currently known.

Even when those requirements are released, there are several more matters that must be addressed before filming can resume. In addition to studios figuring out how to implement those protocols for each of their specific projects, unions like ICG are still in the process of determining craft-specific guidelines for departments like hair and makeup. On Monday, ICG President John Lindley and National Executive Director Rebecca Rhine said in a letter to members that “the implementation of the broad protocols, as well as the Craft-Specific details for each union and guild, will now be the subject of bargaining with the employers.”