Filming Ubisoft Forward during COVID

Happy I can finally can post this because the video is now out! Back in April, I went into the Ubisoft office to do a full day shoot for the Assassin’s Creed segment for Ubisoft Forward.

Ubisoft Forward is the “new” E3-like conference that Ubisoft holds. This new format of consolidated game announcements and updates were started after COVID changed up a lot of the traditional events/conferences. This most recent one is the 3rd Ubisoft Forward!

Back in March, I got promoted to Senior Community Developer and also moved over to Assassin’s Creed to lead its community team. I was pleasantly surprised when the team asked if I’d be able to be their speaker for the conference!

Logistics and planning aside (shoutout to our prod marketing team!), it was exhausting to film at the office for a full day during the pandemic. An agency was hired to help produce the Ubisoft Forward segments. They did an amazing job! Huge props to them for also making sure everything was COVID-safe during these rough times.

I had to film on April 13th. The Sunday before that, they sent someone to my apartment to do a COVID swab test. The lab they hired was pretty quick. They don’t come into your apartment, but will swab you outside your building’s front door. Everyone else who was going to be in the office with me also had to get tested! So it was roughly 7 crew members for the shoot.

Despite the COVID test (and everyone testing negative), everyone had to keep 2 means of protective equipment on the whole day during the shoot. They set out KN95 masks, safety goggles, and face shields. You had to wear a mask and one other protective equipment of your choice. There were also lots of hand sanitizers around our filming area. A member in the filming crew was dedicated to making sure everyone adhered to the safety guidelines throughout the day.

When I have to take off my mask for filming, the director has to call out a warning so that everyone ensures they’re at least two meters away. Having to keep my mask on in between segments also meant that my mouth and nose area would get a little…damp…in between takes. It would also leave a faint mark around my face in the shape of the mask. The director was not pleased with that when I had to stand in front of the camera :’ ). A good compromise in the end was that I’d distance myself in some corner of the office where no one was and have my mask off ahead of time so I would be slightly more camera-ready.

The filming schedule outlined that I’d be on set starting from 9:30 am. We would end at around 4:30 or 5 pm. Knowing the length of my script was maybe 4 minutes long, I thought we’d all get to leave early. But it turns out re-taking the script in different ways would eat up a lot of time. Since Ubisoft Forward is filmed 2+ months in advance of the actual segment airing, it also meant that I had to be filmed with alternate lines in case certain release schedules change.

Filming b-roll was fun! They tried to take some footage of the various speakers around the office, doing what they’d do on a regular basis. What was “regular” has changed so much over the last year of quarantine though that it was strange. Still—it was nice to follow the crew around and do fun things around the office!

At the end of the day, I was properly exhausted. I had been standing and walking around all day. For someone who spent much of her quarantine not even going out for groceries anymore (when Montreal hit the “red zone” marker for COVID levels, the boyfriend and I stopped going out completely), it was rough. The film crew was wonderful though and the Assassin’s Creed team has been super nice about the whole production. It made for a very interesting COVID work day overall!

I ended up rewarding myself with a gigantic pizza from Slice + Soda after the day ended 🥰

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