This week: KitSplit’s office is closed in observation of Juneteenth, so this week’s update is narrower in focus.[Header Photo by KAL VISUALS on Unsplash]
4 Easy Steps to Safely Rent Gear in a Pandemic
We’ve spent a lot of time trying to understand what being on a socially distanced set will look like. Today we want to turn our attention to how to safely rent gear as we see the number of shoots being scheduled slowly start to rise. We wrote a guide for gear owners already, but we wanted to dig deeper and share this information with both renters and owners.
We got a copy of the “PERG Safe Return to Work Guidelines” and have done a deep dive into the doc. PERG is the Production Equipment Rental Group and is essentially made up of all the large rental houses in the US. Becoming a member requires adhering to strict operating standards set by the organization.
This document represents the collected knowledge and understanding of the all the largest equipment rental houses in the US. The suggested protocols translate very well to all types of gear rentals, including those on KitSplit. We’ve translated and organized the guidelines of the document into 4 steps you should follow to safely rent*. I recommend reading the whole doc for anyone handling volume rentals.
*Following the guidelines does not guarantee prevention of Covid-19 transmission and are provided for informational and educational purposes only. Be safe out there.
1) Preparation: Provide A Safe Workplace
Whether you are storing gear in your production office or your bedroom, it’s important to prepare your workspace if employees are working or if anyone is coming to pickup gear.
If you have employees, provide PPE (masks, gloves, protective eyewear if necessary). Setup sanitation stations in high frequency areas as well as the bathrooms with hand sanitizer and wipes. Practice social distancing by setting up work areas to be 6+ feet apart.
2) Coordinate the Gear Pickup
The goal is simple: minimize the amount of time you are interacting in person.
Schedule a specific time for pickup. This allows you to stagger the number of customers in your store or pickup location at any given time.
Allow more time for prep. As a gear owner, if you are preparring multiple jobs at the same time, you and your employees may need more time in order to do this while maintaining social distancing. As a renter, understand that putting together your package and making changes to it could take more time than normal.
Create a system for hand-off. If you can meet outside and coordinate handing gear off while maintaining 6 feet of distance, do that! For example, if you are renting a small camera kit or other gear that can be carried, consider meeting outside. The owner can place the gear down on the ground, step away, then let the renter step in to pick it up. Optionally, you can air high five after the handoff is complete.
If you can’t do this or if there is too much gear to do this easily, then setup a system for cart handoffs. While prepping gear, as you finish inspecting each piece, sanitize it and place it down on a cart. Once you place all the gear down you should not touch the cart again and let the renter take it. You could also bring it outside to a loading dock if that is an option. Alternatively, consider doing a remote prep and having the package ready for pickup once the renter arrives.
After the customer leaves, sanitize your work area and the customer area.
3) Create a System for Safe Returns
The goal here is the same as with pickups: minimize the amount of time you are interacting in person.
Encourage a remote wrap–that is, the renter should make sure to remove all personal belongings and inspect the inventory before returning the gear in person.
Setup a system for check in. To allow for social distancing, have a single employee or person handle scanning in the equipment and sanitation. This person should understand what types of cleaning products can be used on what types of surfaces as well as the basics of COVID lifespan on different surfaces. We’ll cover that next.
4) Proper Disinfection and Sanitization
Understanding how to disinfect is crucial for both effectively killing Covid-19 on surfaces as well as properly caring for (and not ruining) expensive gear.
You can simplify your approach by using 70% ethanol or a combination of 70% isopropyl alcohol and 70% ethanol. If you have other cleaning products, we’ve included a list of what not to use in the reference section below. From the PERG guidelines:
70% isopropyl alcohol is a good, readily available solvent for disinfecting in most applications but it can damage some surfaces such as circuit boards and painted surfaces.
70% ethanol is safe to use on most surfaces.
How to safely apply the cleaning product:
When cleaning equipment, saturate the microfiber towel with a cleaning agent, rather than directly applying it to the equipment. Direct application can seep into sensitive areas of the equipment and create damage.
Also, disinfect the eyepiece of a camera or any mechanism for viewing before putting your eye to the eyepiece.
Here is a list of important cleaning areas. We’ve bolded the most critical parts:
Cases: All exterior surfaces, particularly the handles.
Cameras: The entire camera body, the eyepiece, all handles, buttons and touchscreens, the lens mount, battery levers, and all functional touchpoints. Any camera hand grips and other accessories attached to the camera manually as well.
Lenses: The entirety of all lenses including exterior operational surfaces (e.g. focus ring) and handgrip servo systems. Use 70% isopropyl or 70% ethyl alcohol.
Monitors & touchscreens: PERG recommends that “LCD and OLED monitors screens should be wiped down with a clean microfiber cloth and a PH neutral alcohol free, ammonia free, and solvent free cleaning solution free from fluorine.” What does this actually mean? We did a search and honestly the safest way to clean LCD and OLED monitors without ruining them is to lightly dampen a microfiber cloth with water and wipe it down. For those of you who clean LCDs often, what do you use? Let us know!
Batteries: All exterior surfaces.
Matte box: All exterior surfaces can be disinfected with standard products. Inside should be disinfected using a mild product such as 70% ethyl alcohol. DO NOT use 70% isopropyl alcohol.
Tripods: All exterior surfaces and touchpoints on the tripod head.
Accessories: All exterior surfaces, touchscreens, handles, buttons, and connections points.
Additional list of EPA Recommended disinfectants safe for electronics:
● Clorox Disinfecting Wipes
● Clorox Healthcare Bleach Germicidal Wipes
● Clorox Commercial Solutions Hydrogen Peroxide Cleaner Disinfectant Wipes
● Lonza Disinfectant Wipes
● Lysol Brand Clean & Fresh Multi Surface Cleaner (20% cleaner solution to water ratio)
● Purell Professional Surface Disinfectant Wipes
● Sani-Cloth Prime Germicidal Disposable Wipes
Do NOT use:
● Isopropyl Alcohol at concentration > 70%
● Methyl Alcohol or Ethyl Alcohol at concentration > 35%
● Thinner or benzine
● Strong alkalines
● Strong solvents
● Detergents with fluoride
● Detergents with ammonia at concentration > 1.6%
● Abrasive cleaners
● Detergents with abrasives
● Formula 409
● Steel wool
● Sponges with abrasives
● Steel blades
● Cloth with steel threads
Your safety is the most important consideration, and we encourage everyone to practice these procedures when renting equipment. If you have any thoughts or suggestions please reach out to us and let us know.
FilmLA announced that they are accepting applications for location permits in Los Angeles.
AMC will begin opening theaters in the US on July 15…at first they didn’t require masks, but they’ve retracted that statement and will now require masks.
NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio confirmed that Phase 2 of reopening New York City will begin Monday.
Meanwhile, LA County had a record number of new cases this week. California is currently in their Phase 3 of reopening, but Governor Newsom announced that wearing masks is mandatory in public spaces.
Things don’t look much better elsewhere. Apple will be closing 11 stores in 4 states as the outbreak of new Covid-19 cases has been higher in the South and the Sun Belt states.
Ending on a positive note: In a landmark ruling, the Supreme Court ruled that you cannot be fired for being gay or transgender.
See you next week.