The Camera Never Stops: Managing Production During the Coronavirus Outbreak


PUBLISHED: 4/17/2020

In a very short amount of time, coronavirus has changed the way advertisers like us work. One big change is navigating how to accomplish both photography and video productions. Obviously, full-scale productions have to be postponed or reimagined due to social distancing guidelines and stay-at-home orders. However, this doesn’t mean that production has to be completely paused. In an industry that thrives on creativity, getting creative with production is just another way advertisers are solving new challenges for their clients.

So when it comes to re-imagining production, here are the top things to consider:


Look to past content shoots. Whether still photos or video, could some of these pieces be repurposed? Was there extra b-roll from a big shoot that didn’t get used? In the course of one video, lots of shots hit the cutting room floor. What can be revived? This Jeep ad is a perfect example of repurposing content.

Find or ask for user-generated content (UGC). After all, almost all of us have a basic camera in our pockets that can be used for still photos or videos. Is there a way to engage stakeholders or consumers to produce content to be used in brand advertisements? Some brands have already done this successfully. One such brand is Walmart, which utilized UGC for this ad.


Re-imagine your live-action concept. Without a full-production shoot, how can the concept work as CGI? Can it be entirely motion graphics? In this way, a whole world can be created without a shoot. Will the concept need to be tweaked? Perhaps. But the end result is something that can be created in the comfort of a home office. One such example is TurboTax, who put together this ad using motion graphics.

Meet artists where they are. Some artists are offering to record or shoot in their own home studios. This gives you access to professionals and professional-quality work. Agencies have the ability to work with them remotely in these types of productions.

Make stock work. In a perfect world, you’d be shooting all your content. But if you need a generic shot, now’s the time to utilize stock footage. Many vendors are also opening up their unreleased libraries to clients, letting you access high-quality footage. This video, made for BMW, shows how stock can be used effectively.

Content creation can happen anywhere, even in video meeting platforms. Anything on camera can be recorded from platforms like Zoom, Skype and Google Hangouts. Think about how you can use these platforms to create.

When the time comes and stay-at-home orders begin to lift, production won’t go back to normal immediately. We’ll have to ease back into normal. This could mean small crew or solo shooting for the health and safety of the talent and crew. But in the meantime, there are many ways to continue the work while the world hits pause. While traditional shoots aren’t happening, virtual ones are. And it’s the perfect time to find creative solutions to deliver the best work we can for our clients.