Getting the broadcast industry back to work after the pandemic will take more than just social distancing, hand washing and mask wearing.
There is all the equipment productions use to take into account, especially as Covid-19 can live on plastic and metal surfaces for up to 72 hours, and some chemicals used to disinfect these items can damage their materials.
Cartoni has one answer – its new UV-C Boxer, a UV disinfection device that can be filled with video and motion picture equipment and safely sanitise everything, including cameras, batteries, lenses, Steadicam and accessories.
UV-C light is already being used to disinfect things like escalator handrails or other surfaces in airports and elsewhere, but the UV-C Boxer is claimed to be “the only medical-grade UV-C device designed for film and video equipment”. Its UV-C lamps have been designed and tested to provide ten times the irradiation needed to sanitise the surface of objects placed in the device. It is currently being evaluated by the Italian Health Ministry for certification.
Unlike a UV wand, which may lack the power and duration needed to properly sanitise gear, the Boxer has ten Osram/Philips medical-grade UV (100-280nm) lamps installed in its chamber. The chamber is covered by high reflection polished aluminium on all six sides, to reflect the UV-C lamp beams in all directions, covering the entire surface of an item to sanitise, including the bottom. The power of a reflected beam is 40% of the original beam, exceeding the needed germicidal effect by five times. Each lamp has a life of 6,000 hours and has no ozone release.
The typical length of time needed to disinfect and sanitise a set of equipment, including a camera, two lenses, two batteries and one microphone is just five minutes. In order for effective sanitisation, the objects must be well arranged and spaced in the Boxer chamber to ensure no overlapping.
“At Cartoni and in Italy, we were among the first to be hit by this devastating pandemic,” said Elisabetta Cartoni, president and CEO of Cartoni Camera Supports. “During our state-mandated lockdown, we studied a solution to help our industry. The answer was a device that could help production crews and rental houses to stay safe from the virus. Social distancing, masks and gels meet safety requirements, but on production sets where the equipment is constantly handled multiple times during shooting hours by operators, assistants, grips, etc, we think for production to truly ramp up again, there is a compulsory need to disinfect and decontaminate gear daily or even several times a day.”
UV-C, typically in the wavelengths between 200 and 280 nanometers, can deactivate pathogens like bacteria and viruses, and in the right strength and dose modifies the DNA structure of an infectious cell so it cannot reproduce and therefore cannot colonise and spread. It is widely used to disinfect drinking water and is proven to be effective, including against Covid-19.
However, exposure to UV-C can damage eyes and skin, so strict safety guidelines are necessary for using UV-C devices – and the Boxer has safety locks to ensure users are not accidently exposed. It shouldn’t affect optical lens coatings, electronic circuits, lubricants, rubber, or plastic in production equipment, although prolonged exposure can fade the colour of some materials. Just like exposure to the sun, UV irradiation can produce some chemical deterioration on plastics, rubbers or polymers – but this would require extreme exposure (over 1,000 hours).