NYC film, TV productions resume under pandemic rules

Lights, camera, action! Film and TV production is back in business in New York City. After a long six months, cameras are once again rolling at Steiner Studios, which reached a deal with Hollywood unions and studios.

"The unions are issuing their final sets of regulations this week," said Doug Steiner, the chairman of Steiner Studios, located in the Brooklyn Navy Yard.

Everyone must follow new guidelines, which includes mandatory and comprehensive use of PPE, frequent testing of cast and crew members, and even a COVID-19 compliance officer, who will oversee it all.

"In terms of hair and makeup in preparation for a scene, the person during the hair or doing the makeup has to wear a face shield and goggles and take extraordinary precautions because the health of that actor is critical for the schedule," Steiner said.

Steiner Studios is also taking its own measures.

"Taking extraordinary precautions in terms of disinfecting on a nightly basis all the public spaces," Steiner said. "And we also have changed our air filtration systems."

New rules, however, mean a lot of rewriting of scripts.

"There's been a lot of rewriting to be done in a lot of the scripted series in order to avoid large extra scenes, minimize the number of intimate scenes among actors," Steiner said, "and just trying to figure out how to move forward because of demand for content is only greater because of COVID."

Steiner said the number of people on the lot is pretty much back to normal however certain areas of the studio have a capacity limit.

Production is about two to three weeks behind. But, he said, the industry is ready to give folks what they want — content and lots of it.

"This is part of New York's economic future so the fact that it's rebounding so quickly and so fully, I think it's a great sign of New York's renaissance coming back to full strength," Steiner said.

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