As many of you will have seen recently, it looks like some drive-in/ outdoor screenings may be the first form of cinema allowed to return in the UK, with some rights-holders such as Filmbankmedia making films available from as early as July in England, Wales and Scotland, and possibly earlier in Northern Ireland. In addition to government guidelines, which we hope will be updated before July with more firm advice, Cinema For All has put together some important considerations if you are thinking of putting on a drive-in show:
• Social distancing – just because your audience is in their separate cars doesn’t mean it’s as easy for you and your fellow volunteers to keep your distance. Consider face coverings/ masks and make sure you have hand washing stations, or plenty of hand sanitiser as a back up. 2 metres is the minimum distance we should be from people outside of our households, but even further is better.
• Isolating – you may have some audience members tempted to come along even though they have some symptoms, because they feel they are isolating in their car. Make sure your messaging ahead of the screening strongly rejects this assumption, and tell people to stay home if they are experiencing any symptoms at all.
• Teas and coffees – because of hygiene considerations, we do not recommend serving drinks or food at this time. We understand this will be an income barrier, but for safety reasons, it’s best to press pause on your kiosk and tuck shop for now.
• Insurance – before embarking on any resumed screenings, we strongly recommend talking to your insurance provider to double check your public liability cover. Outdoor screenings in particular, may require an extra level of indemnity. Our friends at WRS Insurance, who cover many of our members, are particularly helpful and are preparing more advice for us as we get closer to opening doors again. We hope to share this with you later this week.
• Technical considerations – you will need a much larger screen than usual, at a much higher height so that it can be seen by all cars. It’s also important that your screen is suitable for outdoor use – inflatable screens are usually the best option here. A high-powered projector (5000-10000 Lumens) will be needed to cope with the increased screen size and lack of a darkened room. You will also need a radio transmitter to broadcast the sound to your audience’s car radios, and take into account the very light evenings that we have at this time of year.
• Broadcast licence – the most common option for receiving sound in a car will be through your audience’s FM radios, however you will need a broadcast licence from Ofcom for this. You can find more here.
Again, please remember to follow all government advice to keep yourselves and your audiences safe, and then apply even more precaution if you decide to hold a drive-in or outdoor event. Remember that the government advice might still change come July, and it may be that your screening is unable to go ahead. If you do hold a drive-in, we wish your lots of love and support, but please be very careful.