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  • Writer's pictureVaibhav Babaji

Impact of Covid-19 on the Advertising and Film Industry

The entire film fraternity was shaken with effect to the complete lockdown declared by the Indian Prime Minister in Mid-March 2020. Industry people who were otherwise engaged 24X7 now focussed on the 21 day countdown. Twenty one days turned into 3 months keeping the lockdown intact. Discussion between the state and central government and some eminent directors and producers led to granting a controlled permission for filming of movies, advertisements and TV serials.

However, the negligence towards understanding the inestimable consequences of this relaxation can take a huge toll on the lives of technicians and actors.

The guidelines set by them were highly impractical. How could they facilitate medical facilities and doctors when basic medical centres were experiencing shortage? Despite having strict precautionary factors like availability of ambulance, periodic sanitization of set, Covid 19 testing of technicians, a lot of filming schedules were on with least care. All the more, decreasing the number of shooting hours put producers in more losses.

Today, when production technicians are filming with their lives in their hands, why shouldn’t the same injustice be applied to the film post production studios? Why doesn’t the same injustice apply to live events? On the contrary, the effects of corona virus can be prevented in a better way by taking precautions in a confined environment. According to me, there should not be a problem in reviving post production permission as the government has lifted ban on highly risky businesses like lodging and hotel industry. In today’s difficult times, many studios have chosen to work from home.

Yet, not all activities in this industry can be executed from home. This boils down to the basic rule that the production data in the industry is highly sensitive and cannot be mishandled like this. Data privacy plays the most crucial role when a producer collaborates with a studio for a certain assignment. Otherwise, the possibility of piracy cannot be ruled out. Although many studios agree to maintain data privacy while accepting new assignments, data leaking is not a surprising factor.

However, in this pandemic, a lot of studio owners have become debtors. For the reason of this lockdown, many clients have realized that their work can be executed on a small setup or from a freelancer. This is turn has become ringing alarm. Many studio owners purchased world class equipments and tools while setting up business expecting to provide enhanced services. Now that the same can be done on smaller setups or by freelancers, they are considering their purchase decisions. This situation is also directing towards job loss of post-production technicians. Nowadays, everyone is looking to take advantage of this crisis. People are accessing power in bargaining client quotations on the basis of client quotations and counter quotations by freelancers. This frightening situation is being side-lined.

Film industry comprises of not only on shooting crew but also post production units. To begin with, the government should have granted unlocking in a series of steps. The government should have allowed filming that were partly done and required only 2-5 days of shooting left, regularization in sanitization of post-production studios, continuation of post-production activities, permitting only fiction based TV serials, providing police control in productions that required the most stringent rules, featuring advertisements that focussed more on prevention from contracting COVID, in addition to providing relief to small advertising shoots whose budget fall below 3 lakhs. These steps would lead our country to proudly stand tall if we I we implement them logically yet moving towards stabilizing the film industry.

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