COVID Protocols Add About 5% to Film and TV Production Costs, Study Finds

by Gene Maddaus — 16 November 2021

Covid-19 precautions and standards are practiced


COVID protocols have added about 5% to the cost of film and TV production budgets, according to an analysis by the California Film Commission.

The study is the first to precisely quantify the costs of COVID compliance, including COVID testing and distancing and isolation measures. Producers have previously given anecdotal figures ranging from 10-15%.

The new data comes in a progress report issued Tuesday on the California film and TV tax credit. It uses production budgets submitted by applicants for the state credit. The report finds that big budget feature films (larger than $20 million) spend between 5% to 6.5% of their budgets on COVID compliance.

For low budget films and TV shows, the costs are lower, averaging 4.25%, according to the report. About 40% of those costs go to labor — COVID safety officers, testers, drivers, location assistants, and medical personnel. The remaining 60% goes to “materials,” which includes outside testing vendors and stipends for quarantining, as well as things like masks, face shields and sanitation materials.


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