Written by Shona Smith on Jun 3, 2020. Posted in On Location

Page International put together specialised safety team for first shoot in Portugal

The spot was an advert for Uber Eats / McDonalds from director Gonçalo Morais Leitão for agency Partners and the local Portuguese market. “It was a perfect size job to start again with; one day shoot, one location and two talent. The crew size was around 45 in total” says Nick Page, CEO of Page International.

“Safety was our number one priority on the day and the team effort was really impressive” says Page. “With all the measures in place, the shoot itself was very relaxed. Everyone felt very comfortable and very happy to be back at work. I could feel everyone was smiling behind the masks”.

Shot on location in an open plan loft apartment in Lisbon, permits were needed for filming outside on the street and for crew parking. “To respect social distancing it was necessary to find more available spaces than normal for a shoot this size” says Page. “The Lisbon City Council is already issuing filming permits on the basis we abide by PFC (Portugal Film Commission) Covid-19 Guidelines for filming, which have been approved by the Government Health Department. The permit process time is the same as before and we were able to prep this job in one week with all the necessary permits”.

A specialised team was put together solely responsible for supervising the safety procedures who had trained during lockdown for post-covid shooting. “The team PlasticBox are an SFX unit who, during lock-down, trained and qualified in Covid-19 cleaning and disinfection in working areas. They also trained and certified in OSHA Hazardous Site Worker Training, Respiratory Protection Training (correct use of masks), and Bloodborne Pathogens Training (infectious microorganisms that can cause disease). They brought all their know-how and safety equipment to the set” explains Page.

Ahead of the shoot, PlasticBox were on site during the tech-recce day when they mapped the location with the 1st AD. A disinfection tent and isolation unit were installed in case a crew member showed suspected Covid-19 symptoms. The day prior to shooting the apartment location was disinfected, as well as the unit base, catering and support zones.

For crew members this meant that a health declaration form was completed prior to the shoot. “On the day, call times were staggered and upon arrival all crew visited the disinfection tent to clean and sanitize their hands and where they were provided with PPE equipment including FFP2 masks (which all crew are required to wear), latex gloves, plastic covers for shoes and alcohol cleaning wipes. Once checked-in crew members were given a green sticker to wear on their shirt meaning they were cleared to enter the location.

“Our 1st AD and PlasticBox have already done three shoots together since the end of lock-down and they have been fine-tuning these procedures. For example, they did a shoot in a house where they gave the crew different colour stickers depending on which area of the house they were allowed to enter. At all times, we are keeping in consideration the importance of social distancing and ensuring that the set is never overcrowded”.

From the client and agency only two people were present on set, others working from home tapped in to the live-streamed video. “We use the same kind of technology as live-reporters use on the news. The quality of image is excellent (HD quality) but our equipment is not broadcast level so we have a slight delay of around 15 seconds. However - it is just a question of hard-ware and it is possible to upgrade to broadcast equipment and reduce (remove) this delay”.

“Doing this local job has really given us the confidence that we can tell our international clients that we are ready to begin international service jobs again, and that we are going about business in Portugal the right way" says Page. "Confidence is going to be one of the key factors as to when international clients begin shooting abroad again and we are expecting it to be a slow return, but hopefully each job like this will give the industry a boost” says Page.

Currently there are no quarantine requirements in Portugal and fifteen flight arrive in Lisbon from Europe every day. Visa application processing is suspended, but this is being reviewed on June 15th. Hotels are reopening, with clean and safe stamps from Portuguese Tourism Board. Small shops and restaurants have also reopened with customers wearing masks.

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