How to shoot Covid-proof TV show

Makers are changing the way scripts are written along with creating episode banks

By   |  Published: 8th Apr 2021  4:50 pm

Mumbai: Getting ready for a soap shoot is no longer just about mugging dialogues and putting on make-up and costumes. In the ‘new’ normal that comes with restricted shooting permission in the wake of the second Covid wave, the process of creativity has to be made pandemic-proof, too.

So, for a start, TV series makers are focussing on the script. Writers are being told to visualise scenes that require less characters in every shot.

Also, producers are creating episode banks by shooting episodes in bulk at a time, to ensure the flow remains intact in case a key cast member or two are out for a fortnight after contracting the virus. That, again, is quite a challenge, given the fact that television, more than the comparatively relaxed work culture of films or OTT, demands an unending flow of fresh programming to keep the show running.

The scene, after all, has not been rosy. Lately, there has been a rapid increase in Covid cases among television stars, perhaps because the community is forced to spend long hours together.

While every TV producer readily talks bio bubble, and insists social distancing is being maintained on the set, the industry is wary. Room for error will always remain for a virus threat that spreads quickly and shows no sign of ebbing.

Producer Binaifer Kohli, known for her shows Bhabhiji Ghar Pe Hai and Jijaji Chatt Par Koi Hai and Happu Ki Ultan Pultan, is among creators who believe the start at thwarting the entry of Covid into sets has to happen from the root – the way scripts are written.

“TV shooting can continue with social distancing on the sets. Everybody is going to be tested via RT-PCR on the 10th of this month, that is before they get into the set. Distancing is possible if you plan your shooting well, take it in cuts, it can be done. The way forward is to write your story in a manner where there are lesser people in a scene and distance can be maintained,” she says.

Others like director JP Sharma (Vignaharta Ganesha) talks of bulk shooting, to be prepared for a scenario when key cast and crew members might fall sick.

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