You’ve decided you want to take the plunge and make your big idea a reality. The creative has been finalised and all you want to do is get your TV commercial in the can. There’s going to be plenty of work to do. Getting the location booked, finding the right actors for the job – what about those expensive props that really set it apart? – the fleet of vans to transport all the high tech gear and of course the helicopter that seemed like a great idea at your last creative meeting. All these elements can be brought together (although the helicopter might cost a bit) but one thing is for sure, you’ll need to protect your investment.
With any large scale project, there needs to be a proactive plan that will ensure it all goes off without a hitch. The pre-production stage is paramount to having a successful shoot day. Thinking of every eventuality long before the camera starts rolling will help mitigate any problems should they arise but there are times when even the best laid plans can unwind. This is why you need to get insured.
Once you’ve been on set a few times, you might take for granted how many factors are coming together at one time. Even a simple one day studio shoot will need careful planning and execution by an expert crew to make sure everything goes smoothly. When you’re working with professional people it’s easy to forget that they are dealing with potential hazards on a moment by moment basis.
If we consider that easy one day shoot, it might give you an idea of the variables involved. First of all, the studio is a location that your production is using and will need to be covered for possible damage. That state of the art camera set up to make your key shot look extra special will need equipment coverage just in case it takes a tumble. What about the talented crew (and clients) running the show? Of course their well being is of the utmost importance and getting the right people coverage is essential.
When you decide to break out of the studio and grab some shots out in the real world then you’ll be sure to come across the general public. This is where the risk factor is multiplied tenfold and where planning can only foresee so much. Where public safety is concerned there can be no shortcuts. There are industry tales of transport vans being crashed into by public vehicles, elaborate stunts not going as planned and sprinkler systems being set off to destroy thousands of pounds worth of tech. Without the right type of location, gear or people insurance, the bills could run into the thousands and you might find yourself on the wrong end of an ugly court case.
These sorts of accidents can happen at the highest level of filmmaking. Even the all-conquering animation giants Pixar Studios had a close call when an animator nearly wiped the entire hard drive for Toy Story 2. It would have set them back an entire year and millions of pounds to get the footage recreated. Luckily, a senior employee had backed the work up on a home computer and they were able to piece it all back together to rescue Woody and his pals from certain digital death.
It’s a perfect example of why insurance is so important at every stage of production.
The multifaceted coverage for a shoot will take into account the many layers of a production, from the day of the shoot to delivering the final digital files intact. No matter whether you’re filming a small ‘run and gun’ YouTube documentary or a full scale TV commercial, you’ll always need proof of public liability insurance. This covers your production in case your filming activities might cause any damage to property or injury to a third party.
“We always advise you to give a media insurance specialist a call and they’ll tell you about the required cover needed to protect you against most situations.“
Gareth Graham – Performance Insurance
The full list of insurance that you’ll need for a modern film production is a long one. The following range of cover is some of the options available for a commercial production; worldwide “All risks” cover for your property, equipment and hired in kit, electrical or mechanical breakdown insurance, cover for your business money, business interruption, book debts, producer’s indemnity and multimedia cover, post-production indemnity, errors and omissions cover, professional indemnity, directors and officers liability, employers liability, public and products liability, commercial legal protection, group personal accident, business travel, terrorism and cyber liability. It’s an exhaustive list that keeps on growing with the demands of modern commercial productions.
As a general rule, you’ll usually need your production to be insured for at least £2 million and this can rise up to £10million or more depending on what is involved with your shoot. Obviously, the bigger your production is, the more coverage you’ll need to match the scale of the project. If you want to film in certain locations the price might rise due to the use of protected buildings or for densely populated areas. It also depends on what you intend to do during filming, such as carrying out dangerous stunts or if you’re using a tricky piece of equipment like a camera crane or drone.
When you work with an experienced production team, they will advise the level of protection you need to fit your production, which can be bought with a fully qualified insurance broker. Finding the right broker to create a policy that will suit your shoot can be a tricky job. Our own production insurance can be tailored to cover all eventualities. An expansive coverage plan can also be extended for any niche requirements you want, meaning you’ll never need to worry if you’ve been covered or not.
With every project we take on, the pre-production planning is executed down to the last detail but our insurance cover always remains firmly in place. From ticking all the boxes on our risk-assessment checklist to scouting locations to check for possible hazards and problems, we’re proactive about the safety of our productions.