What to Expect when Filming Surgical Procedures in the OR
Filming surgical procedures in the OR is nothing like filming in your studio or a typical location. The operating room is small, busy, full of people, and lit in an unforgiving manner that you might think could work well for film production — but it doesn’t! Filming surgical procedures is exciting and eventful, but equally challenging and complex.
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When filming surgical procedures in the OR all of your crew should be relatively educated on surgical sterility and the sterile environment. Film making in the operating room is a learning experience for most film crews, even for those who have landed in the OR once or twice before for a film shoot. Here’s what to expect when filming surgical procedures in the OR.
#1. A Busy Playing Field
There’s going to be people, everywhere. You need to know who all of the people in the surgical setting are so that you know who to film and when. Basically, the surgical procedure will include a surgeon, a surgeon’s assistant, a scrub nurse and a circulating nurse.
There will most likely be other people in the room as well, including the patient, and your crew, but these are the key players. Consider also the anesthesiologist and his assistant as well as possibly a cardiac crew.
Why is it important for you to know who’s in the OR? Because when filming a surgical procedure the filmmaker is responsible for understanding how things work, who to film, where the action will take place, and what to expect.
You’ll also probably want to get to know the scrub nurse real well because that’s who is in charge of preparing the crew for surgery.
#2. Be Prepared to Stop Filming
As you are filming a surgical procedure, you should also be prepared to stop filming the procedure — at any given moment. The filmmaker should be listening intently to what is happening as they are equally focused on capturing the scene and important footage.
However, if anyone in the room commands, “Video off” or “Video stop” you must stop shooting immediately. This action is commanded to protect the privacy of the patient and their health information.
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#3. Understand the Sterile Field
What is a sterile field? If you don’t know, you are definitely not ready to be filming a surgical procedure! A sterile field is the area in which all equipment, including film equipment, must be either kept out of, or sterilized prior to entering.
Generally, the film crew as well as their equipment is considered to be not sterile and should not touch the patient in any capacity.
The crew and their gear should also not touch the healthcare team, the instruments used in the surgical procedure or the gurney that is used to transport patients or equipment back and forth into the sterile environment.
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Even a simple violation of the sterile field will most certainly upset the staff and could interrupt the process when filming a surgical procedure.
Medical filmmakers should carry extensive liability insurance and be prepared to sign several legal forms prior to film production to ensure their protection and safety as well as the safety of others.
If all of this sounds like a lot, filming a surgical procedure is probably something that is best left to the professionals. Beverly Boy Productions has long-term experience in filing surgical procedures.
We can help you start to capture a surgical procedure with professionalism and great care. Just give us a call.