How lockdown forced a revolution in remote production

Filmmakers Alan Griswold and Richard da Costa share the innovative workarounds that kept their productions moving throughout global lockdown. Could remote production be here to stay?
Two presenters sit on deck chairs inside a restored barge that is being used as a production set.

The past year has forced us all to change the way we work. In the film industry, lockdowns brought productions to a standstill around the world. The shifting sands forced production companies and filmmakers globally to get creative and find innovative ways to work safely within restrictions.

"The rug was pulled out from under everyone's feet," says Richard da Costa, director of production company Floating Harbour Films in Bristol, England. "In the first few months everyone was kind of shell-shocked."

With international and live events coverage on hold, Richard found himself specialising in virtual events – including working with Wildscreen Festival to produce a week-long virtual wildlife film festival featuring huge names such as director James Cameron, broadcaster Sir David Attenborough and environmental activist Greta Thunberg.

Another filmmaker who faced production challenges was Alan Griswold, director of photography and owner of LA-based production company Monkey Deux, which produces the popular Our Star Wars Stories series for Lucasfilm and Disney.

"One of the biggest things about film production is the sheer number of people involved," says Alan. "The idea that people couldn't be together was a massive shakeup for that industry." For Alan, a remote workaround using Canon EOS R cameras and Canon's EOS Utility software was the key to keeping his series going.

Here, the two filmmakers explain how they kept the cameras rolling, how the filmmaking industry has pivoted and why some forms of remote working might be here to stay.

Has Covid-19 changed video production forever? Hear the conversation in this episode of Canon's Shutter Stories podcast: