Safety! Locked

Started 3 months ago | Discussions thread
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YWG Senior Member • Posts: 1,230
Re: Safety!

Craig Gillette wrote:

The shooting on the movie set in New Mexico should be a reminder that sometimes the activities we are photographing can be extremely dangerous and we all have a responsibility to ourselves and everyone else involved to always have safety in mind. As it happens, I also drove by the Arroyo Hondo bridges near Gaviota/Santa Barbara, CA, today, where a group of "photographers" were struck by an Amtrak train in 2014.

Being involved with re-enacting and living history and the use of firearms in those activities, I'm not going to conclude much yet from the information that's been presented in the news. I think the terms "prop gun" and "misfire" as I've seen them used lack clarity. I do think it's not just a "single point" failure - that there was more than one "problem" that worked together to have this result.

Let's see...when we were in Iceland, every single waterfall people were over the railing trying to get their close selfie or straight on shot. There was a woman that when over a local waterfall and her two friends tried to save her and all three perished. What bothered me is on top of a loss of life, people still seem to have that attitude that they died being adventurous instead of rotting away waiting for death when they are 90. Seems to be an "influencer" thing. I've seen people cross active race tracks. People feed animals and approach them for video and photo. Unfortunately those animals have to be destroyed when they start attacking people. Walking on tracks for that engagement shot on a busy line. Tons of examples of stupid people.

I have very limited experience with firearms. However, there are some basic things you should practice when handling a firearm.

You walk into a room and see a gun on the table, you must assume it is loaded. Doesn't matter if it is a class or movie set or your buddy hands it to you. You remove the source of ammunition and clear the weapon to verify it is indeed safe. If you hand the weapon to someone, you show it safe and they in turn verify it is safe. If you put it down and go to the bathroom and come back, you assume it is loaded again and go through checks. Unless you are holding that weapon constantly with custody, don't assume it is empty. If you compared it to cameras, the process sounds quite over the top. Ok, camera on table, point it away from anyone, take out battery, memory card, leave doors open, show it to buddy. Buddy verifies all batteries, cards out, and puts them in and readies for shooting. The difference being if you shoot someone with a camera, they don't die (except for those cheesy Japanese horror movies).

You don't put your finger on the trigger until ready and you don't point it at things you don't intend to shoot. Verify what you are shooting. Never look into the barrel of a gun. Don't fire guns with blanks at people as they have enough energy to injure or kill at short range (again don't point weapon at people unless you intend to kill them).

So..what I am reading is that there were many things going on with this production. The week prior, Alec Baldwin's stunt double had unintended discharge of the gun. This was a major safety concern and not following procedures that people working on the set brought up. Along with poor working conditions, owned pay, many walked off prior to the fatal accident. The armourer is relatively young/new to the role. The gun was taken by an assistant director, declared "cold" which apparently means it is not loaded and given to Alec Baldwin.

I don't know if this is accurate but there are people saying that this assistant director was previously released for handing a loaded weapon to an actor in another film. Unsure if this director was also involved in the stunt double unintended discharge. Sounds like movie sets follow similar protocol to a range safety officer. The gun should have been transferred through senior positions responsible for safety and not the AD. Safety briefings are to be conducted at each distinct scene using firearms. So, even if same guns used on next scene, a whole new brief is given. Normal practice is when practical not to aim directly at personnel and, to use protective barriers. I would assume that part of that safety protocol would also to be to prove it safe. It takes seconds to clear a gun IF that is what is drilled into all personnel handling them including the actors. Sounds like some or all elements of a safety process and culture were absent.

Lastly, with computer graphics, potentially remote camera operation for dangerous viewpoints, this is something very hard to understand.

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