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Production during a pandemic

Production during a pandemic

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Productions in New Zealand are gearing up to come online in a matter of weeks after restrictions are lowered. StopPress New Zealand talks to Sweetshop‘s Executive Producers Ben Dailey and Kate Roydhouse about how they’ve adapted over the last six weeks to stay creative despite tight restrictions.

Ben Dailey and Kate Roydhouse, Executive Producers at Sweetshop, say the team have relied heavily on remote production technical solutions to continue with jobs in post and pre-production. 

“For post-production this means offline, grade and online approvals remotely with editors, colourists and flame artists working from home studios. And in pre-production, scoping, casting, boards and any post-production prep being done for when we are in a position to shoot,” says Dailey.

Roydhouse says many scripts were put on hold when the lockdown was announced, however Sweetshop decided to focus on how they could support their clients during this period and have managed to have other parts of the businesses proceed.  

“We want to be able to support our partners and keep the industry going. The best way to do this is to work with the governmental mandates and find new, creative ways to produce work,” she says.

Sweetshop has offices in five countries, and with each country working through different restrictions at different times, the company continues to update production solutions. This also means the company is able to shoot in Australia and Shanghai with while making sure they’re meeting Covid-19 health and safety best practice and considerations.

In line with alert levels dropping, Sweetshop will use direct camera feeds to agency and clients anywhere in the world for New Zealand based directors so that they can continue production in New Zealand.

In terms of campaigns, Roydhouse says the company has had some put-on hold, however has also had campaigns proceed based on working through new processes.

“Essentially, we’ve work hard to find new ways to proceed with the different phases of production. Remote casting for example and new platforms to review edits. A lot of Zoom, Microsoft Teams and Skype video calls too,” says Roydhouse.

Dailey adds there has been other factors play into the new normality of production, one being the messaging, and whether it is still relevant in the new Covid and post-Covid landscape.

Although Covid-19 has brought with it many difficulties and challenges, it has also made companies look for new ways to produce work, ways they may not have even thought about beforehand.

“Would we love to be able to have a meeting in a room full of people? Hell yes! But we have also learnt new processes that we are sure to continue using, no matter the climate. I consider that a big positive,” says Roydhouse.

This piece was published in Stoppress on 28 April 2020. Read the full article her