Author: andrew

Documentary Production Plan

Instructions

Having a smart plan for production in the COVID era is essential. Each show will need to create a production plan that addresses COVID-19 safety concerns. Getting approval for production will be contingent on presenting a satisfactory production plan at the show’s green light meeting.

Part 1: Documentary Subjects

For each subject who’ll be on camera, answer the following questions. If the answer is yes for any given question, explain how you’ll mitigate the increased safety risks.

  1. Are they in an elevated-risk demographic for COVID-19?
  2. Will they need to be maskless for interviews or b-roll?
  3. Will they need to be in close proximity with other subjects or crew members?
  4. Will they need to perform any actions that require shouting, coughing, singing, or physical exertion?

Part 2: Shooting Locations

You’ll need to develop a plan for mitigating safety risks at each shooting location. The most important part of this will come later, with a tech scout at each location. For now, answer the following questions for each shooting location that you’re considering.

  1. Is the shooting location interior or exterior?
  2. Is the shooting location a large, open, well-ventilated space or a cramped, closed, poorly ventilated space?
  3. Is the shooting location public or private?
  4. Do you anticipate any difficulties in doing a tech scout in advance of the shooting day?

Part 3: Travel and Accommodations

How you travel with your crew poses its own safety concerns. If the answer is yes for any given question, explain how you’ll mitigate the increased safety risks.

  1. Will any crew members be traveling outside Leon County?
  2. Will any crew members be using mass transit, such as buses or planes?
  3. Will any crew members be carpooling?
  4. Will any crew members be doing any overnight stays outside of Leon County, such as Airbnbs, hotels, or parents’ houses?

Part 4: Schedule

Using the Google Sheet that Tony Ciarlariello will provide, each group will need to make a comprehensive, day-by-day schedule that outlines all tech scouts, shooting activities, travel, and accommodation for all of the group’s shows.

ASSESS THE SAFETY CONCERNS

As you work on each section of the production plan, assess the level of COVID-19 safety concerns for each answer and then change the color of the answer according to the following criteria: 

GREEN – Standard level of COVID-19 safety concerns

YELLOW – Warning of possibly elevated COVID-19 concerns

RED – Alert of definitely elevated COVID-19 concerns

Documentary Tech Scouts

Under normal circumstances, it is not uncommon for documentary filmmakers to shoot in unfamiliar or uncontrollable locations. The COVID era is of course far from normal, however, so we must pay much stricter attention to how shooting locations are scouted, prepped, and secured. One of the most important steps in this process is performing a tech scout at the location, ideally at least a day in advance of the actual shooting, so that a safety plan can be developed for how the production day will be run.

Prior to the Tech Scout

As early in the process as possible, begin to gather information about any locations you are considering. This will enable you to anticipate more things in advance of arriving at the location for the tech scout. For example:

  • If possible, visit the location in-person to scope it out, take photos, and make some preliminary notes about how you’ll use the location.
  • If it’s not possible to scope it out yourself, ask the owner or someone with access to the location to send you photos or video walkthroughs.
  • See if you can get hold of a floor plan and measurements, so that you can start mapping out the production zones. Looking up the street view and satellite view on Google Maps can also be helpful too.

At the tech scout

The tech scout should ideally be completed at least one day in advance of shooting at the location, with all crew members present. If that is not possible, you’ll need to get approval in advance from Tony to do a tech scout on the same day as production, and you’ll need to allow for at least one hour to complete the scout.

  • Treat locations as if they are infected and use PPE accordingly. Do not touch items native to the location while scouting unless absolutely necessary.
  • Have as much conversation outdoors as possible.
  • Try to maximize space and air flow when selecting spaces to shoot. Plan to film outdoors as much as possible.
  • Create a plan for maintaining a secure perimeter at the location for a controlled work area, free from outsiders to the production.
  • Create a sanitization plan for the location:
    • What surfaces need disinfecting?
    • Who will be responsible for doing this?
    • When and how frequently will it occur?
  • Map out spaces for:
    • Parking;
    • Staging equipment;
    • Green room (if needed);
    • Shooting spaces;
    • Outdoor mask-free zone – with room for physical distancing;
    • Lunch – with room for physical distancing.
  • Assess and determine:
    • If any spaces will make physical distancing difficult;
    • Access to bathrooms and hand-washing/sanitizing stations;
    • Whether any special considerations need to be made regarding air flow and/or HVAC, especially in Zone A areas.

Documentary Daily Production COVID-19 Protocols

Start of the Day

Daily Wellness Check

  • All students should monitor their own health before leaving for set, checking for any COVID symptoms, such as a fever, chills, shortness of breath, coughing, sore throat, fatigue, body aches, nausea, and loss of smell or taste.
  • Using FSU’s Daily Wellness Check app is recommended.

Transportation

  • Crew should self-drive wherever possible, especially if the crew has not formed a COVID pod for the production weeks.
  • If carpooling with anyone outside of your pod, use face-coverings.
  • If at all possible, avoid using public transit.

Prepping the Location

  • Allow for enough time to prep and secure the location at the beginning of the shoot. Be sure to address any safety concerns that were identified during the tech scout.
  • Equipment may only be handled by members of the department to which it belongs and each department is responsible for sanitizing its equipment during load in.

Morning Meeting

  • The director must confirm that everyone has a compliant mask. A disposable from the safety kit should be provided to anyone that needs one.
  • The director must take the temperature of all crew and doc subjects using the touchless forehead thermometer from the safety kit. If someone’s temperature is above 100.3°F, the individual must be sent home.
  • The director must remind all crew and doc subjects about physical distancing and mask-wearing policies:
    • Six-feet distance between individuals must be maintained wherever possible.
    • Masks must be worn indoors at all times, except for on-camera subjects while the camera is rolling.
    • Masks must be worn outdoors if physical distancing cannot be achieved at all times.
  • The director must communicate any additional COVID safety announcements for the day, as needed.

Shooting Interviews & B-Roll

Since the shooting of interviews and b-roll may involve a doc subject not wearing a mask for an extended period of time, please remember that additional safety precautions must be taken.

Setting Up

  • Avoid indoor settings if at all possible. If shooting indoors is necessary, set up in an area with as much outdoor ventilation as possible.
  • Make sure there is enough space for the crew to work while maintaining physical distancing. Crew must maintain physical distancing at all times, except for where a technical operation makes it impossible. Such moments should be kept to a bare minimum and undertaken with extreme caution.
  • Camera placement should be more than six feet away from any doc subject. Any exceptions to this need to be approved by faculty in advance.
  • The sound mixer should hand a sanitized wireless lav to each doc subject and instruct them how to secure the mic. If necessary, the sound mixer may secure the mic themselves, but the physical proximity to the doc subject should be kept to a minimum duration and an extra level of protection should be considered (such as a face-shield or a plexiglass divider).

Going For Picture

  • Any slating should be at least six feet from any doc subject. If the lens or space does not allow for that, a pan over to the slate should be used instead.
  • Immediately prior to “ACTION”, a callout for “MASKS OFF” should be added. The doc subjects should remove their own masks. If the shot doesn’t permit them to keep the mask on their person, they should put the mask into a ziploc bag with their name on it and place it in its own basket until after the setup. The director is responsible for managing the baskets.
  • Immediately after “CUT”, a callout for “MASKS ON” should be added. The director hands the ziploc bag with mask back to the doc subjects and they put their own masks back on.

Meals

  • Since masks need to be taken off for eating, extra precaution must be taken.
  • All meals should be eaten outside with a minimum of six-feet distance between each individual. Stagger the start time for meals if physical distancing is not possible at the location.
  • After lunch, the Director should make sure that high-touch surfaces at the location get a sanitizing wipe down and each department should sanitize heavily used items of equipment.

Wrap

  • Allow sufficient time (at least 60 minutes) for loading out equipment and cleaning the location. The director should not leave the location until everything has been fully wrapped, cleaned, and restored.
  • The sound mixer should instruct doc subjects on how to remove lavaliere mics. The sound mixer should then sanitize the mics.
  • Each department should clean and sanitize equipment during wrap.
  • Any Doors Down Meetings should be performed outside.

Additional Photography Request

Production Paperwork

Instructions

This form should be used by Producers to make a request to the Head of Production (Tony) for additional photography outside of the regularly scheduled shooting days on the crew grid. Since additional photography involves time and resources, requests will not be approved automatically. Approvals will only be granted if the time and resources are available and if students make a compelling case for why the footage cannot be shot during regular principal photography.

Indicate on the form the type of additional photography that is being requested:

  • ESTABLISHING SHOTS OR B-ROLL
    Check this box if the request is for 2nd Unit shots that cannot easily be scheduled during regular principal photography. Typically these would be for shots that need to be shot at a discrete location without the involvement of principal actors, such as establishing shots at an inconveniently place location or B-roll of events that are occurring outside the regular production window.
  • VFX PLATES OR ELEMENTS
    Check this box if the request is for background plates or other photographic elements that are needed to complete visual effects shots.
  • PLAYBACK CONTENT FOR SCREENS
    Check this box if the request is for video content that would need to be shot in advance of regular principal photography in order to be played back during production.
  • PICK-UPS
    Check this box if the request is for pick-up photography. Only BTH and MTH shows may request pick-ups.
  • RESHOOTS
    Check this box if the request is for the reshooting of a scene where circumstances beyond the students’ control resulted in footage becoming unusable. Typically, trying to solve the problem through editorial fixes will need to be explored before a reshoot is approved.
  • OTHER
    Check this box if the request is for something different than the above examples, and provide a brief description of the type of additional photography that’s being requested.

Requests for additional photography must also include the following information:

  • the exact nature of the subject content to be shot;
  • the reason why it cannot be shot with the first unit crew during principal photography;
  • the date, times, and location of the proposed shoot;
  • a summary of the equipment plan for the shoot, including any requests for school equipment;
  • the crew required for the proposed shoot, including names and signatures (you’ll need to determine how many crew members you need and you’ll need to recruit them).
  • any additional supporting documentation can also be attached as needed.

Submit the completed request form to the Head of Production. Leave adequate time for the Head of Production to review the request and be prepared to make adjustments if any concerns need to be addressed. The Head of Production’s decision on whether to approve or deny the request is final.

CONTINGENCY PROTOCOL IN THE EVENT OF AN F3 CREW MEMBER BEING OUT

If a crew member is unable to report to work during principal photography, they must contact the show’s Producer and the Head of Production (Tony) as soon as possible, and no later than two hours before call time. 

The Producer and the Head of Production will then work through the following steps in sequence to determine the most appropriate solution:

  1. If the Director is unable to work, advance to Step 6.
  2. Deploy one of the students not assigned to any crew positions or “days off” that day. If that is not viable, then…
  3. Check to see if one of the students in a “days off” slot is able to work. If not, then…
  4. Check to see if a BFA3 is able to fill in. If not, then…
  5. Check to see if having a smaller crew and consolidating positions will work. If that is not viable, then…
  6. Postpone the show, moving any remaining shooting days into the Week 10 buffer week. If that is not viable, then….
  7. Postpone the show to the first available date in the tail end of the semester and rescheduling post-production as needed.

Contingency Protocol in the Event of an MTH Crew Member Being Out

If a crew member is unable to report to work during principal photography, they must contact the show’s Producer and the Head of Production (Tony) as soon as possible, and no later than two hours before call time. 

The Producer and the Head of Production will then work through the following steps in sequence to determine the most appropriate solution:

  1. If the DR unable to work, advance to Step 6.
  2. If the 2D, 2C, SS, KY, or BE is unable to work, the AE should step into the role. If that is not viable, or if it’s the PRPDDP, 1D1CGF, or SM who’s out, then…
  3. Check to see if there’s an MFA2 (such as one of the six students in pre-production) who’s able to fill in. If not, then…
  4. Check to see if there’s a BFA3 who’s able to fill in. If not, then…
  5. Check to see if having a smaller crew and consolidating positions will work. If that is not viable, then…
  6. Postpone the show, moving any remaining shooting days into the summer and rescheduling post-production as needed.

BTH Specs

SinglesDoublesAnimation

Content specs

Page count7 pages
Story runtime7:30
Credits runtime1:08
Total runtime8:38
Quantity of scenesNo limit
Quantity of locationsThe script can include a variety of locations as sluglines, but you’ll need to plan to be able to shoot them all at no more than three actual locations
Quantity of charactersNo limit
ChildrenYes
AnimalsYes
WeaponsYes
StuntsYes
IntimacyYes

Production specs

Shooting days3 days
Length of workday12 hours
Earliest call time6:00AM
Latest wrap time12:00AM
Night shootsNo
Locations per day1 location
Distance to locationCan make a distant location request for outside the studio zone
Pick-up daysCan request 0.5 days (not guaranteed)

Capture specs

Camera packageRED
Frame rate24.000p
Sensor mode7K FF
Capture resolution2048 x 1080 (2K)
Capture aspect ratio1.90:1
Approved mattes1.37:1 • 1:85:1 • 2.39:1
Capture formatMOV
CodecProRes 4444 HQ
Gamma/color spaceRWG / Log3G10
Color processingIPP2
Output color spaceRec. 709
Output tone mapMedium Contrast
Highlight roll-offMedium
Sampling4:4:4 12-bit
Bitrate302 Mbps (VBR)

Data allocation

Pages per day2.33 pages
Shooting ratio20:1
Data rate2.6 GB/minute
Data per page52 GB
Data per day121 GB
Total data364 GB
Dailies per day47 minutes
Total dailies140 minutes

Post-Production

Picture Edit

Pic edit softwareMedia Composer
Pic edit days11 days
Pic edit locationPost Hall

Sound

Production soundDual system
Sound design softwareProTools
Sound design days10 days
Sound design locationPost Hall
Sound mix days0.5 days
Sound mix locationMix A, Mix B

Visual Effects

VFX scopeMust be approved by VFX instructors
VFX softwareMust be approved by VFX instructors
VFX daysVariable, based on crew grid
VFX locationDigital Artist Suites

Color

Coloring softwareDaVinci Resolve
Coloring days2 days
Coloring locationPost Hall

Content specs

Page count12 pages
Story runtime12:30
Credits runtime1:08
Total runtime13:38
Quantity of scenesNo limit
Quantity of locationsThe script can include a variety of locations as sluglines, but you’ll need to plan to be able to shoot them all at no more than six actual locations
Quantity of charactersNo limit
ChildrenYes
AnimalsYes
WeaponsYes
StuntsYes
IntimacyYes

Production specs

Shooting days6 days
Length of workday12 hours
Earliest call time6:00AM
Latest wrap time12:00AM
Night shootsNo
Locations per day1 location
Distance to locationCan make a distant location request for outside the studio zone
Pick-up daysCan request 0.5 days (not guaranteed)

Capture specs

Camera packageRED
Frame rate24.000p
Sensor mode7K FF
Capture resolution2048 x 1080 (2K)
Capture aspect ratio1.90:1
Approved mattes1.37:1 • 1:85:1 • 2.39:1
Capture formatMOV
CodecProRes 4444 HQ
Gamma/color spaceRWG / Log3G10
Color processingIPP2
Output color spaceRec. 709
Output tone mapMedium Contrast
Highlight roll-offMedium
Sampling4:4:4 12-bit
Bitrate302 Mbps (VBR)

Data allocation

Pages per day2 pages
Shooting ratio20:1
Data rate2.6 GB/minute
Data per page52 GB
Data per day104 GB
Total data624 GB
Dailies per day40 minutes
Total dailies240 minutes

Post-Production

Picture Edit

Pic edit softwareMedia Composer
Pic edit days14 days
Pic edit locationPost Hall

Sound

Production soundDual system
Sound design softwareProTools
Sound design days10 days
Sound design locationPost Hall
Sound mix days1 day
Sound mix locationMix A, Mix B

Visual Effects

VFX scopeMust be approved by VFX instructors
VFX softwareMust be approved by VFX instructors
VFX daysVariable, based on crew grid
VFX locationDigital Artist Suites

Color

Coloring softwareDaVinci Resolve
Coloring days2 days
Coloring locationPost Hall

Project Specs

Page count1.5 pages
Previz duration72 seconds
Max. number of assets12 assets per artist
Max. number of characters3 character
Max. number of shots24 shots
Max. seconds of motion90 seconds
Final content duration90 seconds
Credits duration68 seconds
Final TRT158 seconds

Sound specs

Sound softwareProTools
Sound design days10 days
Sound design locationPost Hall
Sound mix days0.5 day
Sound mix locationMix A, Mix B

Coloring specs

Coloring softwareDaVinci Resolve
Coloring days2 days
Coloring locationPost Hall

Front Sequence Set-up

Download the Extras folder, which is located on frame.io inside the D1 folder.

In Media Composer, change the sequence starting time to 00:59:00:00.

Control-click on the Program Monitor – Sequence Report.

Import / link to the Bars and Tone video and add it to the timeline. It should run for exactly 30 seconds.

Add a 30-second slate with the title tool that includes: the title of the film; the names of the creative team; and the TRT of the film. Note: the TRT starts at the first frame of FSU leader and ends at the final frame of the copyright.

Import / link to the countdown and add it to timeline. This should run for exactly 8 seconds.

Import / link to the FSU Leader and add it to timeline. This should also run for 8 seconds.