Filming Heartland Season 16 During COVID-19: Challenges and Solutions
The year 2020 was undoubtedly a challenging one for everyone, including those in the entertainment industry. Production companies all over the world were forced to either halt their productions or come up with innovative ways of filming during a pandemic that has claimed millions of lives worldwide. Heartland, a popular Canadian family drama series, was no exception. After 14 successful seasons, the producers announced that filming for season 15 would begin in May 2020. Unfortunately, this was the same time the COVID-19 pandemic hit the world, and as a result, the production team had to come up with solutions to ensure that they did not halt the production of Heartland season 16.
The pandemic presented several challenges, including safety concerns and logistical nightmares. Still, the producers of Heartland were determined not to let COVID-19 thwart their efforts. In this article, we will explore the various challenges faced in filming Heartland season 16 during the pandemic and the solutions that were implemented.
Challenge: Ensuring the Safety of Cast and Crew On Set
One of the most significant challenges was ensuring the safety of the cast and crew when filming during a pandemic. With the virus being highly contagious and deadly, producers had to come up with a way to keep everyone safe while on set. This meant implementing various measures such as wearing masks, social distancing, and regular sanitization. Additionally, anyone who exhibited symptoms of COVID-19 was required to get tested immediately, and if necessary, isolate. The production also ensured that actors and crew members were routinely tested to ensure that they did not have COVID-19.
However, despite these measures, some crew members still tested positive for the virus. As a result, the filming of some episodes had to be rescheduled or delayed until they tested negative. This was crucial in ensuring that filming continued while minimizing risks and staying within the government’s set guidelines.
Solution: Follow Health Guidelines and Implement Safety Protocols
The solution to this challenge was to strictly adhere to government health guidelines and implement safety protocols. This involved regular monitoring of cast and crew, thorough sanitization of workspaces, and social distancing on set. Additionally, actors and crew members were isolated when necessary, to prevent any possible spread of the virus. The production team also provided masks, sanitizers, and other PPE to everyone on set to prevent the spread of the virus.
Furthermore, the Canadian government’s support played a crucial role in the success of Heartland season 16 during the pandemic. The government provided artists and arts organizations with financial support, allowing the cast and crew to continue filming while adhering to the safety protocols without worrying about the financial impact.
Challenge: Access to Locations and International Travel Restrictions
Heartland is a unique production in that it requires access to a vast array of locations. This became challenging, especially with international travel restrictions that prevented the team from accessing some of their regular locations. The team also had to adhere to several provincial protocols that dictated how many people could be present on set, depending on the area’s COVID-19 case count.
Solution: Work Around Limitations and Use Local Locations
To solve the access to locations, Heartland had to be creative in their filming locations. The team opted to use local locations, which did not require international travel, and they worked within the guidelines of the different provinces.
Additionally, the creative team used VFX (Visual Effects) technology to replicate some of the outdoor locations, minimizing travel to remote locations for safety reasons. This approach proved to be both cost-effective and time-efficient in making sure the show was shot as planned.
Challenge: Maintaining User Experience on Set
The pandemic’s restrictions meant that there could not be large crowds, and most audience members were forced to watch from the comfort of their homes. As Heartland features large-scale production, this presented several challenges since the actors needed to bring their best to their roles despite the quiet and often empty sets.
Solution: Virtual Audiences and Background Actors
To maintain the excellence and user experience on set, virtual audience platforms were put in place during shooting. This allowed some fans to view what was happening on set in real-time from the comfort of their homes. Additionally, digital media became an essential part of the production, with people contributing to the production through digital means. Background actors who could not attend physically were remote controlled by the production team to some extent, making the episodes feel as authentic as ever.
The pandemic has presented significant challenges, but Heartland season 16 provides an excellent example of how a production can come up with practical solutions to ensure the safety of their cast and crew. By following government health guidelines and implementing strict protocols, Heartland was able to film new episodes while minimizing risks to its cast and crew. The use of virtual audiences, VFX technology, and digital media was also invaluable in maintaining the same user experience levels that fans of the show have come to expect. Heartland’s resilience in these challenging times can be an inspiration to other productions struggling to maintain the same level of excellence in extraordinary circumstances.