Today I want to talk about safety on set. It’s a boring topic, one that nobody cares about until the day your camera is on fire, your first AD is in a coma and a state of emergency has been declared around your set.
This is an exaggeration of course, but there is nothing worse and nothing more frustrating than dealing with an accident on set.
Now the number one thing you can do is make sure you express to your crew that safety is the number one priority. On small crews with a limited number of people where everyone is doing two or three jobs here are the quickest fixes that will prevent most problems.
Throw some dirt on it.
If it’s a stand holding anything whatsoever it should have a sandbag holding it down. Which means when you rent a light kit with six lights you need to remember to rent six sand bags. Stands are heavy and hard and once they tip over the only thing you can do is pray no one gets hit and nothing gets broke. Bags are cheap, make sure to have plenty of them.
Gaff tape is cheaper than a lawsuit.
Cable management is the other big one. You run a power cord and figure people will be able to avoid just one extension cord. Then you run a pigtail back for audio, audio figures that everyone can avoid just one cable. Then you run some BNC to get a monitor up, surely no one will trip on it, then some timecode goes down, let’s run a second monitor, hey; let’s audition a special on that painting in the corner, while we’re at it let run the camera on AC to save batteries for later. Just like that you have a spaghetti circus on your hands. Tape down all your cables, it not only makes your set look nice but also makes it much safer. (Bonus tip don’t run your audio lines next to your power, it can cause interference.)
If all else fails sweep it under the rug.
Rubber mats are a shortcut to the cable game. Run all your cables, nice and messy (the fun way) then just throw a mat over it to make it safe. . .Safe-ish