COVID-19 Video Production Protocol

How to keep your video production safe during the pandemic.

Now that we’ve had several large video shoots during the pandemic, we’ve established a routine for ensuring a safe and healthy production.

Things are still fluid, guidelines vary by county almost at a daily basis, but here are some general protocols we’ve been following during our shoots, primarily in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Tests and Waiver forms

If possible, it’s ideal to have your cast and crew tested before the shoot, especially if it’s a multi-day production. A simple Google search will yield test centers, test kits and even testers who you can hire to test on site.

You will also want everyone to complete a survey and waiver form attesting he or she is not exhibiting symptoms, have not been in contact with anyone with symptoms, etc, etc. You can easily find language online or download apps that crew and cast can fill out on their phones at the day of the shoot. It should also include language that they understand the risks and would not hold your company liable should they contract COVID-19.

If you would like a copy of our COVID-19 Waiver Template, contact Picturelab at


Have a back-up plan in case any of the cast or crew are not able to participate. For each crew and cast, have an extra person on hold who knows he or she may be called off the bench the morning of the shoot.


Have a touchless thermometer on site, and check each person’s temperature as they arrive. If it’s 100.4 F or greater, send that person home and contact the substitute. Don’t take any risks.

Personal Protective Equipment

Everyone needs to wear a mask at all times. The only exception would be actors during their scenes. It needs to be clear to them before the shoot that scenes without masks will occur and if they will be in close proximity with other actors without masks. That risk has to be communicated to them upfront so they understand and accept the risks.

Anyone not in the scene should be six feet away. When not rolling, actors should wear their masks as much as possible.

Actors should also be aware if there will be makeup. When feasible, they should be given the opportunity to do their own makeup.

All makeup artists as well as anyone who will not be able to maintain social distancing should wear face shields as well as masks.


Hand sanitizers should be readily available and producers should encourage everyone to wash hands and sanitize often.

Makeup artists should be instructed to sanitize equipment and supplies after each use.

Items like media cards and equipment should also be sanitized.

Social Distancing

This has been a challenge during our shoots, especially when shooting indoors, but it needs to be strictly enforced. For each set-up, create one-way lanes, entrances and exits to optimizing distancing.

Establish waiting areas with enough space for distancing. This is of course your unit base or basecamp but with more space.

Limit the number of people that are inside at one time. If there’s anyone not immediately needed, send them to the waiting area. Often, this waiting area will be outside, which means you’ll need to prepare cover and temperature control such as fans or heat lamps, as needed.

Craft Services and Meals

Prepare pre-packaged snacks. Lunch should be individually wrapped and carefully handled. No communal dispensers or buffet-style meals.

We’ve also given crew and cast the option to bring their own snacks, coffee, and meals, which we reimbursed with receipt.

That covers the main aspects of our safe video production protocol. If there’s anything you do differently, comment below.

Hopefully the pandemic will come to an end in a few months, but until then, stay safe and healthy!

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