Lights, camera, action! How creatives kept cameras rolling during Covid

Emmerdale set / floor plan Credit ITV Calendar and Ian Bevitt)

TV and media professionals will reveal this week how they kept shows such as Vera and Emmerdale in production despite lockdown.

A free online event, organised by the North East and Borders branch of the Royal Television Society with support from the University of Sunderland, will show the extraordinary lengths production crews had to go to so viewers could keep watching their favourite TV shows.

A whole new set of tricks of the trade have been added to the ‘magic of television’.

Scripts had to be rewritten, cast and crew numbers reduced or kept apart and new camera angles found. Fight scenes and struggles had to avoid any physical contact but remain convincing. Electricians and set designers, who would never normally step in front of a camera, now found themselves on screen as extras.

The “Covid – Creativity in a Crisis” panel includes ‘Emmerdale’ Director Ian Bevitt, ‘Vera’ line producer Fahima Chowdhury, CBBC’s ‘Danny & Mick’ production co-ordinator Victoria Griffin and Teesside-based independent producer and Managing Director of Ithica Films, Matt McGough.

Emmerdale was the first soap to get back to production during the first lockdown and global hit series Vera was able to get back out on location across the North East, providing much needed work for regional crews.

Emmerdale director Ian Bevitt, who has also lectured at the University, put in place the filming processes at the Leeds-based soap, which were quickly adopted across the industry.

The panel, hosted by TV presenter/producer Chris Jackson, will also look at the positives from the last year.

Chris said: “A fascinating silver lining from coping with Covid is that many of the producers I have spoken to say the heightened awareness amongst the crews has given everyone a much better appreciation of each other’s craft skills. Just like the rest of society, the TV industry isn’t taking anything for granted.”

“Covid – Creativity in a Crisis” will be held on Thursday (April 29th) at 7.30pm.

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