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COVID-19: Sound Hygiene

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By Katrina Ferguson

Tuesday 23rd March, 2020

Australian sound recordist, Mark Edwards, has curated a public living document package on Dropbox of best practice protocol for safely operating film sound services in the COVID-19 era in order to mitigate the possibility of infection between talent and crew.

Some information within is COVID-19 specific and some demonstrates general best practice.

While much of the in-person Australian workforce is currently at a standstill, it won’t always be this way.

Coming out of COVID-19, as such, Mark’s resource will remain invaluable for – as Mark said – “anyone who wants it” and more specifically, the sound recording community worldwide.

News crews in particular ought to take heed.

“The problem is that the advice…and the landscape is changing so quickly, ” Mark said. “I know that most productions will have shut down so this is for those remaining crew who are still working.”

“I am not condoning people going out and making content right now.”

– Mark Edwards, Greenside Productions
Film and TV sound services protocol for COVID-19

“It’s not a static situation. It’s very, very fluid. And as it gets worse I think the risk mitigation needs to increase and then it will get to a point where it’s just not safe to go out. While it is safe to go out, we need to protect ourselves and that was the whole rationale behind this.”

– Mark Edwards, Greenside Productions

The resource has been compiled with advice from colleagues and medical professionals including specialist film and TV on-set nurses, a paramedic, and a member of NBC crew.

Information has also been compiled from trusted general and industry-specific sources such as Sennheiser, DPA Microphones and the Australian government Department of Health (DOH.)

ABOVE: An example of general information included in the sound protocol resource. Specific and current COVID-19 recommendations can be found in the document package itself, which can be found HERE.

The sound protocol resource details practical advice including the instruction to wear Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) when or if working.

What Mark described as ‘one of the most useful bits of information’ forwarded to him by a colleague was produced by The Walt Disney Company (TWDC) and distributed to relevant employees. It details protocol for the cleaning of equipment.

There are probably very few productions still running…there are a few new crews going out and some of them are still using [lavalier microphones] and I say to them I don’t personally think that’s a good idea but if you’re going to do it, be safe.”

– Mark Edwards, Greenside Productions

“In my own personal situation I would simply just not use any radio mics at all at this point. Boom only and if they don’t like that, I go home,” Mark said.

At time of publishing the live link containing direct and immediate access to the pool of resources has been translated by users into Spanish and disseminated among the sound recording community in the UK, the USA and Bolivia.

If anything changes I’ll update the documents in that folder as much as I possibly can.

– Mark Edwards, Greenside Productions

If you know someone directly in or in contact with the sound recording community, please forward this resource on. Unfortunately, they probably have plenty of time to read and absorb it (and ultimately put it into practice) given current working – or lack thereof – conditions.

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SOURCE: DPA Microphones

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