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Huntress

Soaps Returning To Production

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Here's an article from last month that gives an insight into how different countries worldwide (Australia, China, Denmark, Czech Republic, Germany, Iceland, South Korea, UK) had to change their ways of filming soaps and television series during the pandemic.

 

https://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/shooting-pandemic-producers-worldwide-find-ways-work-1292591

 

The three German soaps, which the article also mentions, had to suspend production for a short time, but eventually resumed filming in April. Since they film up to 7 weeks in advance, they didn't run out of new episodes. GZSZ added 4 special episodes which mainly consisted of flashbacks, but fit in nicely with the current episodes.

 

Quote

In Cologne, Reinhardt's team, with typical German thoroughness, came up with an 80-point plan covering everything from mandatory temperature checks and tightened security at the studio entrance to hand washing and social distancing on set. The soap's scribes reworked scenes to ensure no more than three castmembers were in front of the camera at any one time and that everyone was at least 1.5 meters [around 5 feet] apart, as required by the country's coronavirus regulations.

 

"We have a corona stick, a 1.5 meters pole we use to make sure everyone keeps their distance," says Reinhardt. "And we use visual tricks, shooting long focal lengths, or over the shoulder, to give the impression the actors are closer together than they actually are." The new episodes, which will air in the summer, continue the series' regular pre-COVID-19 storyline. "We don't know what the situation will be like outside when they go to air, so we decided not to address the crisis in the show but to keep to our own, fictional world," he says.

 

Unter Uns actors all do their own makeup, with the professional makeup artists, in a room nearby, guiding them via video chat. Every personal item on set, from makeup to props and catering, is individually wrapped and marked for a single actor's hands only. Reinhardt has cut the on-set crew size in half and even set up some physical barriers, including a 6.5-foot-square plexiglass shield between the camera operator and the sound technicians. It takes longer — six days, not the usual five — to shoot a week of six, 30-minute episodes, but Reinhardt has kept his entire crew employed and the show on track.

 

UFA Serial Drama, the company that produces Unter Uns, is using the same 80-point COVID-19 guidebook for two other German soaps — Alles Was Zählt (also shot at MMC Studios) and Gute Zeiten, Schlechte Zeiten, produced on the Studio Babelsberg lot outside Berlin.


The material which was filmed after the hiatus began airing last week and you can clearly see the difference: Characters are standing or sitting far away from each other (which looks really akward in most instances), there are hardly any extras, and storylines have been altered and also been slowed down to make room for longer dialogues. Before they film intimate scenes, actors need to be tested and stay in quarantine for 3 or 4 days.

 

Just some examples of how far apart the actors need to stay away from each other:

 

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26443404_661268b1f4f0568eec04cb3cf352d99

26275244_33bac518dc24230b4a0389558ac49e7

26439064_93a9f126901200e1c52368008a98661

26364539_f919aba8c6a536a1bca7105bbc75fd8

Edited by Huntress

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Thank you for the hi-res pictures. It's going to take some getting used to.

 

Does anyone know when the Neighbours episodes that were filmed after the lockdown will start airing?

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1 minute ago, Chris B said:

 

 

 

Oh this will be interesting! I wonder how they're going to announce the return and whether they have an idea of when they might return. 

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5 minutes ago, GLATWT88 said:

 

Oh this will be interesting! I wonder how they're going to announce the return and whether they have an idea of when they might return. 


I’m curious too. With numbers going up there’s no telling if they’ll have to stop again so I’d stay off the air and film as much as possible and relaunch in the fall when you have a backlog of episodes available. 

 

Soaps will figure it out whatever the case, but these primetime shows I don’t see how theyll keep filming one episode in 7-8 days when it’s very likely there will be a fall shut down. THEYRE the ones I feel will suffer the most unless they figure out a way to film those episodes faster. 

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1 minute ago, Chris B said:


I’m curious too. With numbers going up there’s no telling if they’ll have to stop again so I’d stay off the air and film as much as possible and relaunch in the fall when you have a backlog of episodes available. 

 

Soaps will figure it out whatever the case, but these primetime shows I don’t see how theyll keep filming one episode in 7-8 days when it’s very likely there will be a fall shut down. THEYRE the ones I feel will suffer the most unless they figure out a way to film those episodes faster. 

You're right, I didn't think about the potential for another shutdown. I was actually thinking if Days was going to rush back and start filming since it still has another 4 months worth of episodes or if they would hold off a little while longer.

 

We're already used to poor quality in daytime, but I wonder if primetime shows will look incredibly different and how will this impact the reality shows? 

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Odd.

 

It will be interesting to see what their ratings look like if Y&R is airing old episodes when they return with new ones. I think it will just hurt B&B frankly. 

 

Y&R and GH still seem to be weeks away from starting production. 

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Let's see how fast Brad's machine cranks out the first episodes. Bet they are targeting week of 7/13 (4 wks away) with 7/6 (3 wks away) being an outside possibility.

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I'm not surprised B&B is back first since they have a small cast and they can get away with just using a couple of sets. I'm also thinking they might film more scenes outside since the risk is lower there.

 

I see a lot of contradictions inherent in the process. They need to film a lot of episodes fast, in case production shuts down again, but the process is going to be much slower with breaks for handwashing and cleaning. They're going to need more blocking and rehearsal time to work out the angles for the social distancing. They also need for the episodes to be good and exciting to win the audience back, but they have to do that with no group scenes, no touching, no love scenes, no action. If they do a big promo push that they're coming back, and the comeback is just scenes of people sitting around talking, those fans might tune out for good. You'd think people would understand, but I see so many comments asking why there aren't new shows airing now, so a lot of people just don't get it.

 

This is going to be a huge job for the writers and producers. Personally, I'm all for keeping the hour long shows shut down longer, for one thing because I'd rather see the classics and for two, I'd rather have them come back when there's more flexibility for them to film without as many restrictions. B&B will be a guinea pig of sorts, and they can see what works.  Y&R filmed Chloe's baby shower while Greg Rikaart was positive for COVID-19 and managed not to infect anyone else while acting alongside a large group including a child, a 72 year old woman, and a pregnant woman just by cutting out kissing and hugging scenes and using a lot of hand sanitizer.  There's going to be trial and error and they might see they don't need to take as many precautions as they initially assumed. The first few weeks are going to be really funky.

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23 hours ago, BoldRestless said:

Thank you for the hi-res pictures. It's going to take some getting used to.

 

Does anyone know when the Neighbours episodes that were filmed after the lockdown will start airing?

 

Apparently at the end of last week per Twitter. They held some kind of event for a character and people pointed out how light the crowd was and certain characters that they were expecting to be there that weren't. Most likely due to the new guidelines. 

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8 minutes ago, dawn9476 said:

 

Apparently at the end of last week per Twitter. They held some kind of event for a character and people pointed out how light the crowd was and certain characters that they were expecting to be there that weren't. Most likely due to the new guidelines. 

 

Interesting. I just scrolled through twitter and Friday's episode was a mix of pre- and post-lockdown filming, since they film out of sequence. I guess they didn't go off the air at all then.

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