Cinematographers Among IA Locals to Recommend New Protocols Amid COVID-19

Under Local 600's guidelines, private rehearsals will be limited to the actors, director and cinematographer.
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June 8 is the deadline for all IATSE locals including the Motion Picture Editors Guild (Local 700), Make-Up Artists and Hair Stylists Guild (Local 706) and Art Directors Guild (Local 800) to submit to the IA their member-specific safety guidelines for returning to work amid COVID-19.

These are being developed to augment the Industry Wide Safety Task Force's White Paper, that was submitted on June 1 to state governments as part of return to work protocols.

The first to release their guidelines to the public was the International Cinematographers Guild (Local 600), which last week published an 11-page document outlining its recommended practices.

Many of Local 600's general guidelines are similar in scope to those in the white paper, in areas such as social distancing and personal hygiene with the company providing all PPE. It recommends that during production, a portion of the daily safety meeting be dedicated to COVID-19-related procedures. And, it reviews cleaning procedures for gear including cameras, eyepieces and lenses.

Local 600's document asserts that any employee showing symptoms must stay away from work "without the feat or retaliation or limitations on future employment." If a single department member develops symptoms on a shoot, the protocols call for the rest of that department to be isolated from the rest of the crew until any future evaluation made by a medic or other safety rep.

There could also be changes to schedules so as not to compromise the health of employees. ICG urges productions to limit the duration of workdays and extensive consecutive workdays while extending rest periods.

Social distancing at all times includes a limit of one department at a time on set, for instance production design for set construction. Monitoring and video review would be handled using remote-working technologies wherever possible.

Under these guidelines, only necessary crew would be on set during blocking and full rehearsal. Private rehearsals would be limited to the actors, director and cinematographer.

Additional recommendations include curtailing the use of atmospheric smoke, haze and fog during production.