The Costs of COVID-Safe Filming

COVID-19 has presented all industries with unprecedented challenges and the arts industry in particular has faced major upheavals. With limits to people gathering, physical distancing requirements, and disruptions to the supply chain whole productions have had to be delayed or simply cancelled. The challenges of filming during a pandemic are not just logistical and emotional, they also carry very real financial costs—some more obvious than others. We’ll take you through some of these costs below so you’re more prepared to meet them if and when they arise.

Direct costs

There are two categories of costs that come with COVID-Safe filming. Direct and indirect (or passive) costs. Direct costs are up-front, immediate costs you must cover to get the production up and running. Examples of these direct costs are the following:

  • Accommodation and/or hotel quarantine
  • PPE and other equipment (e.g. masks, gloves, hand sanitising stations)
  • Extra COVID-19 support staff (e.g. a nurse for testing purposes, a COVID-19 supervisor, intimacy co-ordinator)
  • Screening and testing
  • Additional equipment (to ensure social distancing and eliminate sharing)
  • COVID-19 safety training for cast and crew
  • Additional mental health support

To manage risk while filming during a pandemic, we’ve seen some productions form “production bubbles.” These are quite effective as they ensure no interaction with anyone outside of the shoot, but the costs of a production bubble compound quickly as everything—including accommodation—must be provided. Even for a smaller shoot of twenty to thirty people accommodation alone can cost upwards of seventy to eighty thousand dollars.

Your production budget must allow for these direct costs, and anticipate some of the potential indirect costs that may come up as a result of the pandemic. We’ll cover these below.

Indirect, or passive additional costs

Indirect, or passive additional costs are expenses that happen as a result of COVID-19 but are hard to predict with any certainty because they are responses to an ever-changing public health context. It’s very important such costs be factored into your budget because—as we’ve seen—things can change very quickly. Some examples of indirect or passive costs are:

  • Delays
  • Rescheduling
  • Location changes
  • Crew and/or cast losses
  • Loss of income

Rescheduling shoots, changing locations, and other such unforeseen delays common during a pandemic can result in loss of cast or crew, and loss of income if such delays become indefinite. Not much can be done about this, but approaching the budget and production with open eyes will set you up for dealing with such costs should they arise.

We hope this has been helpful in getting to grips with some of the demands of COVID-Safe filming. It’s important to be aware of these costs when creating or updating your budget so you’re not taken by surprise. In a world full of uncertainty caused by this virus, this is one risk you can mitigate by planning.

If you have any queries or concerns about COVID related costs, book a free consult with us today so we can help you make sure you’re covering all your bases.

A note on this article

Information provided by Above the Line Accounting on this website is general in nature and does not take into consideration your personal financial situation. It is for educational purposes only and does not constitute formal financial advice.

Scroll to Top