We have all been faced with the stuff of nightmares – a lethal airborne virus coupled with a delayed incubation period. It is good to remind ourselves that this combination is the reason we have been locked down in our homes and subjected to social distancing rules. Encouragingly, these rules have helped to bring the R-number down considerably since March but we are about to move into uncertain times with venues reopening.
For business owners operating in increasingly populated urban areas, the huge responsibility we have now is to keep things along this trajectory and avoid another spike in infections. The key to safe reopening is clean air.
Government guidelines for indoor spaces is to open windows to introduce fresh air to dilute any virus droplets building up. Air-conditioned rooms recirculate the air increasing the risk of contamination significantly.
The elephant in the room for audio post-production is that we operate in air-tight closed environments. During a pandemic where the means of transmission is airborne. If you have a Covid-19 shedder, the worst place for talent, engineers and clients is in the voiceover booth or the control room.
The stark reality is that we cannot operate our business without air conditioning nor can we open windows and maintain sound quality.
The good news is that commercial-grade ionised air technology does bad things to bacteria and viruses and it is quiet too. Before opening our doors, we installed this magic technology inside each of the separate air-con systems of each studio at Grand Central and also in our reception.
This investment has been significant but not unrealistically so and we should look at this positively – we are future proofing the industry if we all do this. The new system has brought our studio turnover time between sessions from 30 mins down to 15 minutes which means more bookings. Covid or no Covid it is good to know we will also reduce the rate of infection for less-deadly viruses for our staff and visitors long term.
Air quality coupled with temperature checks at our entrance, office redesign, Perspex and PPE, I can now confidently say that we are offering a safe space to visitors and we will continue to revise this as time moves on.
The future is bright if we prepare.
Ivor Taylor is technical director and co-founder at Grand Central Sound Studios.