By L. Thompson
The Global Pandemic put everyone's lives on pause this year. The outbreak has had a solid impact on the entertainment industry, them being unable to produce or showcase any new projects, and not providing people with new entertainment when they need it the most.
Hollywood sets and cinemas across the world have been empty for almost three months since production, events and film festivals have been cancelled. The global Box Office revenue has dropped billions of dollars and the Chinese film industry has lost over two billion dollars since March.
How will Hollywood overcome the speedbump that is COVID-19? Well, producers have been researching innovative methods of producing a film which consider 'creative distancing' for cast and crew safety. Inspiration is being taken from video games and other films which are partially animated or used virtual sets. "I don't see a film like Dune or another epic film like Mad Max being produced right now. These are productions that require 250 people in production and another 250 extras. You can't control it," stated Oscar winning producer Nicolas Chartier. Replacing crowd scenes with computer generated extras is also being studied, but it would "cost a fortune," added Chartier.
"We're likely to start with smaller productions because it would make sense. There's fewer people on set, it's easier to socially distance," says Bryn Sandberg, a reporter from the Hollywood Reporter, "It's unlikely that you're going to have crowd scenes in the foreseeable future". It is speculated that intimate scenes may be shot separately and combined in post-production too.
Take the Oscar-winning film 'Gravity' as an example. The only thing which was live action were the faces of the main characters; everything else was computer generated. Virtual production means the production team does not have to physically be in the same place. Crew members can continue to collaborate regardless of being in different locations.
On the other hand, it hasn’t taken long for some filmmakers to adapt. Previews of films which revolve around the coronavirus pandemic are already being released. 'Corona' is the first feature film on the subject. It is a low-budget, single-take film, shot inside a broken-down elevator. Another decorated film is also in production: 'Songbird', which takes place two years from now where the pandemic is still under way, and lockdowns are still in progress. All major studios will be watching this production as it will be the first to establish new health and safety protocols in order to avoid the spread of the highly contagious virus during the production process.