Student Life

Film students shoot for success despite pandemic

Words and Images by Aarthy Balaganesh

“It was tricky” said Josh White, 21, the producer of the grad film, Conwy 6, when asked how they made sure everyone was safe, given the circumstances.

The behind-the-camera crew members are really good friends from the same student household at the University of South Wales, which means they didn’t have to worry about social distancing. But to make things simpler, the team made sure they stayed two metres apart and followed the same rules the other crew members, including the costume, make-up and set design crews.

The set is also in a public space so they didn’t want an any negative publicity to be fed back to their university. They set some ground rules for everyone such as wearing masks, sanitising hands and maintaining a social distance from each other. 

“One of the worst thing was the transport and getting people where they needed to be,” says Josh.

“Normally, you get a car and you squeeze as many people as you can to fit in and try to commute as minimal as possible,” he added.

Transporting the large crew as well as all the equipment with very few vehicles proved to be a major challenge. The team are working around the clock on a short time frame (they have to film within a week) so transport time really adds up.

Three cast members and seven crew members who didn’t have cars needed help with the transportation everyday in addition to the equipment. To ensure Covid safety, Josh insisted that there should be just one other person in the car with the driver and that the two should sit as far from each other as possible.

Cars should be equipped with hand sanitiser and wipes and masks and visors should be provided and worn during the commute. As producer, Josh was responsible for ensuring all the rules were followed throughout the shoot.

The students say they appreciate how the university made this term and this module as normal as it could. The university provides £50 per student to make the film. But the crew say the pandemic added hidden costs.

They say they weren’t supplied with enough PPE (Personal Protection Equipment) and had to buy their own. In addition to the extra cost of masks and wipes, there were also the and also added transport costs.

The fact that the campus had restricted opening made hiring equipment from the media store a big obstacle. The module leaders, supervisors, lecturers and every individual on the faculty side of the course were very understanding and helpful throughout the process of filming, pre-and post-production, according to the crew. 

Conwy 6 is set around 30 years in the future towards the end of a small violent civil war between England and Wales over independence. The plot revolves around Nia and Gwen who are sisters. Gwen leads a military troop of six people and they are working their way to a weapons base on the English-Welsh border. The film focuses more on the relationship between the sisters as they have a big age gap and have lost their brothers to the war.

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