Safety! Locked

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Craig Gillette Forum Pro • Posts: 11,854
Safety!

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.

Pocket Lint Senior Member • Posts: 1,851
Re: Safety!

I’m really at a loss as what to say about this incident. Every actor on set should be required to individually inspect their firearm(s) and ensure that it is safe. Treat any prop gun as a firearm. This was a completely avoidable accident and there needs to be a restructuring of safety protocols because, clearly it is not good enough.

Mr. Baldwin should have had to physically inspect his firearm, each individual round should have had a visual inspection. And verified by someone else, before any prop gun gets pointed at anyone.

Maybe these protocols are in place, I don’t know, but this is a tragic accident that is completely avoidable.

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OP Craig Gillette Forum Pro • Posts: 11,854
Re: Safety!

I  don't know what to think yet.  It seems to me there is usually a significant human element to these sorts of actions.  Procedures don't work if they aren't followed.

OpticsEngineer Veteran Member • Posts: 7,255
Re: Safety!

I don't know what to think either.  Just an awful tragedy for everyone involved.

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FrancoD Forum Pro • Posts: 16,289
Re: Safety!

Why did Baldwin point the gun and fired at the Director of Photography?

mamallama
mamallama Forum Pro • Posts: 60,051
Re: Safety!

FrancoD wrote:

Why did Baldwin point the gun and fired at the Director of Photography?

Could have been a closeup shot where the action and sparks from the gun were of interest and it did not matter where it was pointed. We know now it's not smart to be pointing at anything if it's not necessary for the scene.

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Strangefinder
Strangefinder Senior Member • Posts: 1,224
Prop firearms should be incapable of killing

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.

There’s no reason to use actual firearms when replicas can look identical, and safe practical or computer effects can mimic (or even out-perform) the flash.

At this point, law should mandate the use of prop firearms which are incapable of being loaded with ammunition or causing harm by any projectile means. It would not impede anyone’s expressive rights, nor intersect with gun debates, and there is no technical limitation.

Would there be any objections?

Jon-Erik Hexum was killed whilst filming a 1980s action series. The gun was loaded with blanks, however, the impact at point-blank range to the head was sufficient to kill him anyway. Brandon Lee, too, of course.

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Chris R-UK Forum Pro • Posts: 21,784
Live bullet?

FrancoD wrote:

Why did Baldwin point the gun and fired at the Director of Photography?

Based on the latest information from the BBC website, the union representing the workers on the set has circulated information to its members which suggests that Baldwin was handed a gun containing a single live bullet.  When using blanks, the person operating the camera has to wear goggles and is protected by a screen, and the actor fires the gun towards the camera.  If it was a live round rather than a blank and the Director of Photography was behind the camera, the bullet could have gone through the screen and hit her.  The other person injured could either have been hit by splinters from the screen or they could have been standing behind the Director of Photography and been hit by the same bullet.

As the gun expert on the BBC website says, it is very difficult to imagine how two people could be injured by a blank.

There was also an "armourer" on the set who is supposed to stop this kind of accident from happening.

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Chris R

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Pocket Lint Senior Member • Posts: 1,851
Re: Live bullet?

Chris R-UK wrote:

FrancoD wrote:

Why did Baldwin point the gun and fired at the Director of Photography?

Based on the latest information from the BBC website, the union representing the workers on the set has circulated information to its members which suggests that Baldwin was handed a gun containing a single live bullet. When using blanks, the person operating the camera has to wear goggles and is protected by a screen, and the actor fires the gun towards the camera. If it was a live round rather than a blank and the Director of Photography was behind the camera, the bullet could have gone through the screen and hit her. The other person injured could either have been hit by splinters from the screen or they could have been standing behind the Director of Photography and been hit by the same bullet.

As the gun expert on the BBC website says, it is very difficult to imagine how two people could be injured by a blank.

There was also an "armourer" on the set who is supposed to stop this kind of accident from happening.

I take issue with that last statement. It’s not the armourers responsibility to ensure safety ultimately safety is everyone’s responsibility including Alec Baldwins. Alec Baldwin should have had to inspect his firearm himself and have it verified by another person. This would have prevented a live round from being loaded and used.

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Chris R-UK Forum Pro • Posts: 21,784
Re: Live bullet?

Pocket Lint wrote:

Chris R-UK wrote:

FrancoD wrote:

Why did Baldwin point the gun and fired at the Director of Photography?

Based on the latest information from the BBC website, the union representing the workers on the set has circulated information to its members which suggests that Baldwin was handed a gun containing a single live bullet. When using blanks, the person operating the camera has to wear goggles and is protected by a screen, and the actor fires the gun towards the camera. If it was a live round rather than a blank and the Director of Photography was behind the camera, the bullet could have gone through the screen and hit her. The other person injured could either have been hit by splinters from the screen or they could have been standing behind the Director of Photography and been hit by the same bullet.

As the gun expert on the BBC website says, it is very difficult to imagine how two people could be injured by a blank.

There was also an "armourer" on the set who is supposed to stop this kind of accident from happening.

I take issue with that last statement. It’s not the armourers responsibility to ensure safety ultimately safety is everyone’s responsibility including Alec Baldwins. Alec Baldwin should have had to inspect his firearm himself and have it verified by another person. This would have prevented a live round from being loaded and used.

The information circulated by the union also said that the assistant director said "cold gun", supposedly indicating that it wasn't' loaded, when handing the gun to Baldwin.

I agree with you that you everybody should be responsible for safety in these circumstances, especially after Brandon Lee's death in a similar manner in 1993. No doubt we will learn in time exactly what went wrong.

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C Sean Veteran Member • Posts: 3,229
Re: Safety!

Craig Gillette wrote:

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.

I think this is the case with everything that's coming out.

However, the investigators need to decide if this shooting was a combination of production failures and health and safety or on top of that you have a disgruntle employee smuggled a live gun and placed it with the props. Either way, if the checks were in place then this wouldn't of happened.

I don't know this apply to all props that fire blanks. An armorer demonstrated you can't fit bullets inside a revolver that designed to fire blanks. If that the case, what was a real revolver doing on the set or why was there ammunition small enough to fit inside the chamber of a prop?

Either way the police or the investigators need to determine what happened.

I personally, from my own experience is to trust my judgement when I feel working conditions isn't safe. This appeared to happen on Rust with many union workers leaving due to health and safety a day prior to the accident.

OP Craig Gillette Forum Pro • Posts: 11,854
Re: Prop firearms should be incapable of killing

This is an extremely rare event.  Hundreds if not thousands of westerns, war, crime thrillers, etc., are made without requiring costly legislative intervention.  "How the West Was  Won," the train wreck scene resulted in a death.  Not the war scenes, gun fights, stampede, running rapids, etc.  "The  Horse Soldier" with many battle scenes with real firearms, the death was a riding accident.  I think we will find this to be set of events that came together with a fatal result, these events already proscribed by procedures, standard practices, etc.

Mark B.
Mark B. Forum Pro • Posts: 28,615
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.

From what I've read, there was a firearms expert on hand that was supposed to ensure safety.  Also, the assistant director apparently handed it to the actor and specifically stated it was safe.  Obviously that was not the case, so definitely a breakdown in protocol or procedure broke somewhere.

gloaming Veteran Member • Posts: 4,460
Re: Safety!

I would guess that the insurance industry, if it's involved to any great extent on film production (you'd think so, but..), will have a strong say-so going forward.  In the Canadian Armed Forces, my only range of experience, we don't hand anyone a weapon unless the weapon is 'safe'.  By that, no magazine on the weapon if it bears one, and the action is held back to the rear with a safety detent.  This shows the recipient that the weapon has been thought about in terms of safety by the bearer, and that an accidental discharge is so unlikely as to be virtually impossible.  From there, the recipient either stores the weapon if that is his aim, or he loads it himself, safely, and points it down range thereafter to prevent harm if it should be accidentally discharged in the now-loaded state.

Pocket Lint Senior Member • Posts: 1,851
Re: Safety!

Mark B. wrote:

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.

From what I've read, there was a firearms expert on hand that was supposed to ensure safety. Also, the assistant director apparently handed it to the actor and specifically stated it was safe. Obviously that was not the case, so definitely a breakdown in protocol or procedure broke somewhere.

Yeah, Alec Baldwin did not inspect the firearm himself to ensure it was safe. Enough said. This makes me angry, it’s not the person handing the gun’s responsibility. Once it is in the hands of the person using it, it’s their responsibility to ensure it’s safe. Chain of Custody all the way down to the end user. Something could have potentially went wrong at any stage before it entered Alec Baldwins hands. The unsafe act could have been stopped right at the end if Alec were proficient and safe minded to inspect it himself.

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Mark B.
Mark B. Forum Pro • Posts: 28,615
Re: Safety!

Pocket Lint wrote:

Mark B. wrote:

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.

From what I've read, there was a firearms expert on hand that was supposed to ensure safety. Also, the assistant director apparently handed it to the actor and specifically stated it was safe. Obviously that was not the case, so definitely a breakdown in protocol or procedure broke somewhere.

Yeah, Alec Baldwin did not inspect the firearm himself to ensure it was safe. Enough said.

And if he was not trained how to do so, that's still a failure in the overall process & procedures.  From the reports coming out, it sounds like maybe it was the norm for it to be checked & declared safe prior to handing to the person being filmed and the recipient is meant to take them at their word.

JasonTheBirder
JasonTheBirder Senior Member • Posts: 2,499
Re: Safety!

Maybe this is an unpopular opinion but no matter how safe we are, there are always going to be accidents, especially in a world with 7 billion. That will make it so that we see even exceptionally unlikely events. I think we already worry too much about safety.

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lost alaskan
lost alaskan Senior Member • Posts: 2,451
Re: Safety!

Sounds like a B grade movie put together by amatures.

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gloaming Veteran Member • Posts: 4,460
Re: Safety!

....except, of course, if your daughter's name is Halyna Hutchins.

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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