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  • Writer's pictureJulia Straka

How the Heck do you Social Distance When Making Movies?

Author Julia Straka directs Studio BDC producer Brian McClure toward the hand-sanitizer.

When COVID-19 disrupted business this spring, industries found and implemented new and whatever they might consider safe ways to carry on: restaurants switched to takeout, retail went online, and many commuted to their couch for Zoom meetings.

But how can film and production companies social distance when top-quality content calls for in-person shoots human interaction?

“In our business, it took a ton of research and consultation,” says StudioBDC Executive Producer Brian McClure. “The primary goal is to keep everyone alive, of course," he adds. “We value our work and what can be achieved, but after all, compared to our health, it’s only a business.”

After working with health professionals and closely monitoring evolving industry standards, StudioBDC developed a comprehensive set of clear protocols to keep clients and crew as protected as possible Understanding that social distancing only works if everyone works together, priority now is placed on both crew and clients to follow the guidelines and look out for one another.

First, all masks, all the time. “We do our best to stay six feet apart.” says McClure. “We gather the fewest employees possible, and ask the same of our clients.” When it comes to sound and audio recording, StudioBDC features boom and self-applied lavallier mics. In fact, the mantra heard most onset is, "wash your damn hands."

“We love our makeup artists,” says Director of Photography Jay Mallin. “But there’s no on-set glam until the situation improves.” Instead, the crew provides single-use applicators for last minute touch-ups.

There’s a good deal more paperwork. Visitors and crew scheduled to be on set sign a safety form confirming that they have not put themselves at greater risk for contracting the virus in the last two weeks, and affirm their personal network is recently free of unhealthy symptoms.

"All I know is you have to pay attention," says Cameraman Nick Taylor. "Going on set? Better have that red pass!"

After forms are signed and approved, temperatures are taken daily before work can begin. Shiny red "all-access” passes are issued accordingly and crew and visitors are tracked carefully, allowing only those cleared to be on set.

Sets and workplaces, as well, are always clean, but now they are sanitized. “We verify that building managements deep clean the locations before anyone arrives,” says McClure. “We designate roles to keep them that way, continually cleaning gear and props and doing simple things like taking out the trash.

Again, he asks, "have you washed your hands?"

With conditions and situations always evolving, the folks at StudioBDC understand it can be hard to settle into anything even resembling a new normal. “We communicate regularly with our crew, and anyone part of our filming and recording sessions,” says McClure. "The safety protocol list is distributed along with the daily call sheet, and we provide clients clear direction the night before.”

While it seems like a lot to keep track of, the stakes are high. At StudioBDC, as various situations arrive day in and day out, one clear mandate remains: focus on safety.


Julia Straka is a senior at University of Richmond, and summer intern for StudioBDC

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  • Writer's pictureBrian McClure

Sterne, Kessler, Goldstein & Fox recently commissioned StudioBDC to create more than 40 original paintings celebrating important inventors and their inventions from around the world. The installation serves as a branding and way-finding system for conference rooms and meeting spaces throughout the firm’s iconic headquarters in Washington, D.C. adding vibrancy and visual dialogue to the space.

ABOUT THE ARTIST: New Mexico artist Shelly Johnson (shown at top) created the fantastic over-sized paintings during a series of months from her far-flung studios located in the high desert outside Santa Fe.

Travel today with StudioBDC as we head off the grid to New Mexico, meet the artist, and experience her special brand of inventing artwork, celebrating invention and creativity – hallmarks of the Sterne, Kessler brand.

Warm thanks to rising Director of Photography, David Muessig for trekking with me across some extreme country and magnificent scenery (featuring a distinct lack of paved highways and even a friendly dingo boy dog named Alice), in order to get the shots that get it done. Press play above. You simply must see and hear this.

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  • Writer's pictureBrian McClure

Updated: Jan 16, 2020

StudioBDC, the award-winning, full-service provider of engaging and innovative digital cinema, is pleased to announce that company founder and president Brian McClure has been honored at the annual NAB Show as a StudioDaily 50 award recipient, named one of the top 15 independent content creators in film, television and broadcasting.

The new award sponsored by industry news site StudioDaily celebrates a cross section of influential creatives and technologists whose leadership exemplifies innovative and creative thinking.

Bryant Frazer, editor of StudioDaily, says the magazine’s editorial team sought nominations from their readers around the world, as well as performing their own comprehensive research for compiling a list recognizing excellence across the creative spectrum — from high-end feature filmmaking to ground-level B2B productions."The Studio Daily 50 pays tribute to professionals who exemplify the boundary-pushing spirit of innovation that drives our industry forward in their day-to-day work,” Frazer says. “In that spirit, we’re pleased to recognize Brian McClure’s work by including him in the inaugural StudioDaily 50."

“The honor goes to our crew and cast of collaborators,” says the producer. “I want to thank StudioDaily for recognizing our efforts, and of course, the clients who trust us with these opportunities for delivering great work.” StudioBDC is a worldwide digital cinema, video, and film and production company based in Washington, DC and Richmond, VA.

The firm was founded on the principal that communication today requires multimedia solutions.“To be included on any list featuring Sony Electronics, Adobe Systems, Avid and HP is certainly an honor,” says McClure. “The group of independent producers is equally impressive,” he adds. “I’m very excited to be part of the community and see our team recognized.”

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