Coronavirus Impact: Government relaxes production norms for films and television; cost to increase

By: |
August 24, 2020 8:00 AM

From increase in production timeline to rewriting script, production firms are looking at an increase in expenditure

In June, certain state governments including Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu, released standard operating procedures (SOPs) for shooting of films and television.In June, certain state governments including Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu, released standard operating procedures (SOPs) for shooting of films and television.

The Ministry of Information and Broadcasting (MIB) on Sunday allowed resumption of film shooting — which was on hold due to the spread of Covid-19. While TV serials had already resumed shooting back in June, the new guidelines allow for films and high-budget webseries to get back on track. “Any form of guidelines that lead to restart of production in business for the entertainment industry in India is a welcome move especially if it is supported by the central government. Currently, we’ve been operating under different state guidelines and industry guidelines so a common policy to take us back to open up for business is a great idea,” Vikram Malhotra, CEO, Abundantia Entertainment, told BrandWagon Online.

As per industry analysts, film production houses have to bear a certain rise in cost of production. “There will be an increase in cost but not as much as what producers are going through right now with production stuck mid-way. Cost of keeping a production alive mid-way is a lot more than resuming production under the guidelines,” Jehil Thakkar, partner, Deloitte, said. Analysts believe that production firms will mostly see a 10-20% increase if the film’s script allows for the location to be in a controlled situation. However, in case of certain genres such as action, production firms will have to either make changes in the entire script to make it more adaptable to the situation or put the film on hold.

Moreover, while the guidelines are relaxed enough for films to resume shooting, production companies are looking at a prolonged timeline for the completion of the shoot. “As production houses have to put in necessary sanitation procedures underway as well as operate with a somewhat limited crew, there are high chances for the timeline of production to increase to a certain degree,” Thakkar added.

In June, certain state governments including Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu, released standard operating procedures (SOPs) for shooting of films and television with a caveat as per which only 33% of the crew excluding the lead cast is allowed to shoot, among others. These guidelines proved to be a tad strict for movie and big-budget web series production while television serials adapted to the situation and resumed filming. Under the new guidelines, no media production activity will be allowed in containment zones and physical distancing of at least six feet has to be followed amongst the crew. Further, production companies should coordinate with the local authorities in case of outdoor shooting to minimise and manage the crowd.

Read Also: I&B Minister Prakash Javadekar announces SOPs to resume film and TV serial production

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