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Remote Filming During Covid Pandemic 2020-2022

For the first time in human history, we are all in a crisis together and it looks like the crisis is here to stay. It has been a year since the pandemic struck and we are still not sure how long this situation is going to last. India has just seen a new spike in the infection rates and the situation is does continue to be serious.

Those of us in the film and advertising industries who work with international productions are in a tough place because of the travel and quarantine restrictions that might continue for many more months to come.

From March 2020 international travel restrictions set-in and crews stopped coming to film in India. Many presenter led-documentary films and branded content film shoots we were prepping for got cancelled. World over, production companies, agencies and networks adapted quickly to the changing scenario, and remote production soon became a norm for advertising commercials, corporate and branded content films.

Some of our corporate clients and production companies making documentary content needed us to resume work. BBC Glasgow commissioned us to film their series Follow The Food to film four farming innovation stories across southern state of Tamil Nadu.

Corporates and brands want to tell stories of how they or their clients dealt with the crisis, how they innovated or how their products or services helped people during the lockdown. The LinkedIn Women's Day #WeCanDoIt campaign was one such shoot that we executed for production company VCCP London. It was a two camera shoot with a small and efficient local crew. It took over half a day to film it, with director Jessie Ayles directing the shoot remotely with DoP Naiyer Ghufran and sound recordist Amrita Singh.

While content will always be needed, international travel restrictions might not end soon, and even if they did end, health and safety concerns of your company and governments might not allow you to travel with crew and equipment to India.

That’s where we at Backpack Films can help. We can shoot your corporate film, branded content film, short-form documentary or perhaps just some plain talking-head interviews. We can also help you with research and prepping your future documentary or tv shows that you might want to shoot later this year or the next. A bit of prep and research done in advance is always good. Our networks of fixers and researchers across the country can help you finding you characters and stories or do some leg work to set up the shoot in the coming months.

How can we help you?

Let’s connect over email, phone call or a WhatsApp video call or a Skype/Zoom video chat.

We can then go over the production details and budgets over email.

Backpack Films can organise a shoot in most of the cities in India for you and some of the smaller cities, villages and towns as well. We just shot a branded content film in a remote village in Uttar Pradesh with a three person crew.

How we will go about it:

Preproduction: For corporate films and branded content, we would be coordinating with client’s organisation or characters and finalising locations, discussing interview questions and addressing their safety concerns. The crew will undergo Covid testing before the shoot, they will be equipped with safety gear, and will be briefed to follow safety protocols on the shoot. If it is not possible to film at the client’s office, studio spaces can be hired in most cities and towns across India. For documentary films we make sure we have the right researchers, DoPs, Sound recordists and local fixers according to the location and the subject.

Equipment: 4K cameras, sound equipment and lighting packages can be rented in most Indian cities like Mumbai, Delhi, Kolkata, Chennai, Bangalore and Hyderabad. We have trusted camera and filming equipment vendors in all of these cities. For smaller towns and cities, equipment can be driven or flown down from the nearest possible place. We also own a basic interview lighting package which our DP and in-house team can work with so that we have a lean crew. We have also invested in our own remote filming / live-streaming solutions. The director, the client or the agency can remotely direct and supervise the shoot.

Local Crew: We have a pool of freelance directors, DoPs, sound recordists and equipment vendors in most major Indian cities. We will try and make sure that the crew is local or from the nearest possible location to avoid long distance travel. Having worked extensively with international crews, we tend to customise crew sizes depending entirely on our clients’ needs so we can have small to mid-sized crews organised easily. Our local fixers can conduct the interviews in local languages and help with the transcription process after the shoot.

Live Streaming: A director / producer from your end can supervise or sign-off the creatives, camera placements and lighting plan once the crew is on location via video conference call or using an application of your choice. We can offer live streaming for single or multi-camera setups so that you can monitor the shoot long-distance with our in-house remote streaming solutions.

Delivery: The footage can be delivered to you by sending the HD via courier or uploading it on Google Drive, MASV or any other data upload service that you prefer via high-speed connections.

Since the Covid pandemic crisis, we have shot video and photo shoots for Cisco, Google, Red Hat, CBC, BBC, ITV, Waterbear Network, Discovery, ABC, LinkedIn, Brookfield Asset Management, AWS, Liverpool Football Club, FIFA, Carbon X-Prize, British Petroleum, Ericsson, Ikea, Rolex Awards and Apple for production companies from US, UK, Canada, Australia and Singapore. These films were shot across India - Mumbai, Delhi, Kolkata, Bangalore, Punjab, Rajasthan, Chennai, Kashmir and Hyderabad - with local crews.

We also produced a live-feed from Delhi for the Earthshot Prize for BBC and produced content for the Glasgow Climate Change Summit for Silverback TV.

Till things start getting back to normal and we can resume full-scale productions and international travel, let’s keep making films and telling our stories. We at Backpack Films are here to help you tell your stories.

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