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7 Filmmaking Safety Tips

Jourdan Aldredge

Follow these tips to keep your shoot safe and successful.

Cover image via Studio Binder.

In 2014, the film industry was shocked when a 27-year-old camera assistant died while filming a feature film on set in Georgia. Sarah Jones’s death rippled throughout the industry, and safety standards, which had been slipping for years, returned to the forefront of Hollywood’s attention.

Whether you’re working on a big-budget Hollywood production with union rules and large crews or a small-time indie project with a few friends, safety should always come first.

No matter your budget, here are some basic filmmaking safety tips that can protect you and your crew on your next shoot.

Proper Cord Management

If you’re on a film set, cords will undoubtedly appear. It’s important to know how to work with them and how to safely store or use them on set. Loose cords are a huge safety hazard. If you’re not sure how to properly tie or tape down cord lines, your set is simply not safe.

Along with the video above, here are some more resources for cord management best practices.

Closed-Toe Shoes

7 Filmmaking Safety Tips — Safety Shoes
Image via Shutterstock.

Film sets can already be dangerous places, but they’re even more so if you show up with a non-professional attitude (or attire). Closed-toe shoes are a necessity because everyone on set will need to navigate gear, wires, and potential hazards like broken lights — not to mention lifting heavy rigs and equipment. Be professional, and don’t risk harming yourself or others.

Proper Use of C-Stands

How to properly set-up (and break-down) C-stands should be everyone’s first lesson in film school. (I know from experience that it’s not.) An improperly set-up C-stand can be devastating to a production, especially if it drops potentially thousands of pounds of gear, backdrops, or equipment onto the people around you. Anyone who comes into contact with C-stands needs to know how to handle them properly and safely.

Dress Practically and Professionally

7 Filmmaking Safety Tips — Practical Filmmaking Attire
Image via Rebel Sun.

Along with closed-toe shoes, proper attire is a key element of overall set safety. This means avoiding clothing that has baggy sleeves or long, loose ends to avoid accidentally snagging equipment. You’ll also need to be able to move freely and quickly, so functional-yet-professional attire protects everyone.

Never Assume The Camera Is Safe

7 Filmmaking Safety Tips — Secure Camera on Set
Image via The Black and Blue.

On many sets, your camera’s (or cameras’) safety is your highest priority. It’s often the most expensive piece of equipment, and obviously it’s the most important. Never, ever assume that it’s safe, no matter where it is — especially if it’s on a tripod or a rig. All it takes is one person to unscrew a mount, get distracted, and forget about it. The results can be disastrous.

Stick to a Schedule, Take Breaks

7 Filmmaking Safety Tips — Filmmaking Schedule
Image via Shutterstock.

Film set safety and good pre-production go hand and hand. If you have a good producer and a solid production schedule, safety is much easier to maintain. If you’re on a poorly managed shoot where everything is behind schedule and your crew is overworked, it’s much more likely that an accident will occur — to the detriment of your production and livelihood.

Prioritize Safety

It’s important to make safety a priority from the beginning. Bigger film sets obviously have safety managers who keep an eye out for any potential problems. If you’re on a small crew, you’ll need to keep safety at the forefront of everyone’s minds in every meeting and discussion.

What are some safety tips you practice on set? Let us know in the comments.

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