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Making a Hollywood movie, from home: Using cloud computing to film a thriller in a pandemic
For most office workers, the “stay at home” orders delivered by governments at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic has meant lingering kitchen-chair backaches and awkward after-work Zoom drinks. For Max Votolato, the co-producer of Hollywood thriller Songbird , directed by Adam Mason, WFH has been an entirely different challenge: to manage the delivery of a full-length feature film from his own house, watching what was happening on set through the screen of an iPad Pro.
When on March 19th, California’s 40 million residents were asked to stay at home, no exceptions were made for Hollywood. Film productions only re-started at the beginning of June, with very restrictive health and safety protocols that required crews to be as small as possible when shooting on set.
Votolato remembers that his first job was to look at different technologies that might make filming possible. “In the beginning, we thought we’d have to make this movie with no crew. We thought we’d get actors to film themselves with an iPhone, from their own homes” he says with a laugh.
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