How Coronavirus is Affecting Filmmakers – What is Your Story?


The Corona Virus, or Covid-19 as its friends call it, has done a number on our industry. While we at Cinema5D can’t bring your gigs back, we can help strengthen the community in this time of crisis. This is the first of our Coronavirus Check-In articles, keeping a finger on how the community is weathering the crisis.

Coronavirus check in woman featured image

Photo by Ani Kolleshi on Unsplash

Coronavirus Check-In: The Story Thus Far

There’s no two ways around it: this hurts, and the timing couldn’t be much worse. For filmmakers, cast and crew working in the traditional film industry, this has disrupted pilot season, a lively time of year when studios demo new TV shows. For videographers, wedding season is right around the corner – and suddenly in question. I personally was married on March 8th, and had a coronavirus scare when a guest developed a strong fever the day after. It turned out to be a false alarm, but had the date been even a week later, I question whether I would have asked my family and friends to subject themselves to that sort of risk. I imagine couples across the world are asking themselves the same questions, and wedding videographers are feeling the repercussions of their answers.

I spoke to a few filmmakers about their situations. This informal survey reveals a lot of interesting nuances in experiences. As we all struggle to find our footing amid this pandemic, it can be helpful to hear how others are surviving. Even if the situations aren’t directly applicable or useful to you, I personally find value simply in solidarity. If you want to share your story with us, you can email it to us, please contact us via the contact page.

man with ronin 2 filming dancer in warehouse, coronavirus present implicitly

Cal Hallows, Camera Operator

“Hey mate. Edinburgh based camera op. Lost £4500 in cancellations on Friday. I have a month of earnings still to roll in but once that’s gone idk wtf I’m going to do.

Losing all my bookings in March has had a significant impact on how I run my business and it’s going to be shaky ground when we see the other side of things and we have to try make up for lost revenue.

I’m one of the lucky ones in that I have an insurance policy that might pay out due to loss of revenue (it doesn’t explicitly say it won’t pay out in the event of a pandemic) so there’s my hope… mine was a temporary total disablement ideally for if I break a limb or something. Not sure if it pays out in the event of the government declaring a quarantine but from what I’ve read of my policy it’s pretty vague.

I’ve since heard that the UK government may be offering low interest loans to small businesses and freelancers to help out, but they won’t announce anything concrete until/if we go on lockdown quarantine.”

Large camera on tripod, pointed at purple stage and audience; coronavirus

Robert, Church Videographer

“I work at a large church in the south of the USA. I’m the videographer/photographer on staff, hourly. My concerns go a little outside of my line of work and have to do with the church congregation as a whole. This weekend, we decided to move entirely to online worship for the next few weeks.

I have three main gigs in this line of work – story videos for sermons, event coverage, and weekly video announcements. The latter two have been scratched due to it involving large gatherings, or the promotions of said gatherings. Basically, I’m left with nothing to do until we figure out how longterm this is.

My role is shifting a bit to help streamline some newer aspects to our live stream, but other than that, I have no work. I’m considered hourly, so it’s unclear if they’ll send me home or just find different work for me. Contract work is also postponed or dead. Had a few educational talking head stuff and real estate works that are cancelled for now. No one will buy houses if there’s a pandemic, I guess.”

Videographer with DSLR and shotgun mic on monopod

Ed Starkey, Freelance Videographer

“Three events in the Pittsburgh area I was slated to cover were cancelled directly because of the coronavirus. When it comes to weddings, things get much more difficult. No one is going to cancel a wedding that’s been planned for well over a year; but do I really want to shoot my first wedding in April and risk the chance of getting sick myself?”


Shaan Chadha, Director, Salvi Media

“I’m a full-time director and head of video production at Salvi Media. We’re a small business, so the virus has affected us in a few ways – cancelled shoots, working from home, all that kind of stuff. Covid 19 is certainly affecting everyone in ways we haven’t even started to realize yet.

The first shoot that came to us in the midst of the Coronavirus outbreak was to live stream a funeral. The client was trying their best to follow the expert advice to avoid crowds… Now, a cursory google search shows that if there are any funeral livestream-specialty companies in Chicago, they’re hard to find, so instead, the client came to our company, which they knew does video production, and asked if we could help them out. I think that’s the main takeaway from all of this – companies are going to be asked to work outside of their specialty comfort zone during all of this.

Covid-19 is making a new reality for all of us to live in, whether it’s the next 2, 4, 8+ weeks, and I think a lot of people working in video are going to see uses for video pop up that frankly haven’t existed in the past.”

Cre : cinema 5d

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