Written by Shona Smith on Jul 22, 2020. Posted in On Location

Turkey’s Panda Films return to production with stunt heavy TVC

The stunt, VFX and SFX heavy TVC for Bayer was Panda Film’s first big shoot since Covid-19 disrupted the market. With only one half of the directing duo able to travel to Turkey, the hybrid remote / on-set system used shows how flexible productions are becoming.

“This shoot included lots of stunt, SFX and VFX, all of these were very time consuming. During the pandemic we don't want to shoot for long hours so our biggest challenge was to make sure all these shots were on schedule” says Chad Ozturk, executive producer/founder at Panda Films. Every hour the set was emptied and fresh air let in for 5-10 minutes.

“We had a director duo but only one of them could travel to Turkey so the other one was following the shoot with a remote system. Some people from agency and client side were also on the set but others could not make it to the set, and were following all the takes through our streaming system. We use the streaming system of our video assist service provider and only the people with the special link can access the streaming”. This hybrid of on-set and remote filming is likely to continue throughout the pandemic.

For those attending the shoot, a wristband system was used for set access. Red wristbands could enter the set at any time. Yellow meant people could access for a few minutes and should leave the set as soon as they are done with their task. Green wristband was for the crew off the set like drivers, runners and catering.

“There are not very big restrictions in Turkey right now. Productions are in full swing but the agencies intend to write stories that don't include many extras and crowds. You can shoot in all public and private locations without any special Covid permits as long as you are in line with the health and safety measures. We try to avoid the crowds as much as we can and a health check is obligatory for the crew before each set, they need to present a valid heath certificate obtained from a doctor” explains Ozturk.

“We cannot work with talents over 65 years old and working with children is not recommended. There is not a limit for the crew number on set but there is limit in terms of the people allowed by a certain square meter in indoor locations. For each 4 square meter, 1 person is allowed on set. If there is any furniture in the location, then it is 1 person for each 6 square meter”.

Panda Films take all the possible safety and health measures to have a clean conscience. We are company known for its good relationships with crews. We see them as a big family and we wouldn't like anyone to be harmed on a set”. Three temperature checks were done each day, and crew changed masks every three hours. A dedicated PA took on the responsibility of keeping masks on and sterilizing hands.

“A few weeks before the shoot we made deals with disinfection/sterilization companies, we bought thousands of masks, vitamins, special napkins and wipes and prepared big prints that remind safety and health measures on set.

“Even before the pandemic, we always brought an ambulance with medical staff to our sets and even after the pandemic we think we might continue to work with the workplace safety specialist as we have found it to be very useful to have on set” adds Ozturk.

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