Written by Shona Smith on May 28, 2020. Posted in On Location

How producing in China has changed since Covid-19

As the rest of the world awaits to emerge from lockdown, Chinese production companies have been shooting in a post Covid-19 world for some months. On location shoots and filming in studios are possible but ways of working have changed.

Arthur Ma, founder of Red Horse Media is a Shanghai based producer with extensive experience working on international TVC’s for clients including Alibaba’s Olympic Ad. “We do a lot of international projects, but now we cannot go abroad so we have to fake a lot of western locations” he says.
Both working in a studio and on location are now possible in China. “We can’t have as many people in the studio now. We often have a hundred people on set for a commercial because labour in China is so much cheaper than western countries. Nowadays we can only allow sixty people at most”.

Everybody’s health is checked using the Chinese QR code system which shows a green pass if people have been in one region for fourteen days, at this point entry to studios is possible. “Secondly, all crew have temperature checks and everybody wear masks. Every one or two hours there is a cleaning break. Very serious shoots with celebrities we have a doctor or ambulance on set”. Ma notes that it is easier to shoot in the studio because of public perception. Even with permissions, “you cannot prevent the public from calling the police and interrupting the shoot because of a big crews” he says.

Foreign and western directors are very popular with Chinese clients explains Ma. “But because of travel restrictions we cannot have a lot of foreign directors or crew. The local directors and team are getting more chance at the moment” he says.

Remote shooting is the new normal for these shoots because inter-state travel is resticted. “It is working" says Ma. "Whether shooting overseas or in china we can use it to control the shoot”.

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