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Safety on Set

Lighting diagram of girl playing video games, discusses on set safety. By Tyler Kaschke, Colorado Gaffer

It’s easy to get caught up in the fast pace of production and forget to be conscious of safety on set. This is especially true when you perform a task so frequently it feels like second nature.

We’ve heard about the heartbreaking stories of mishandled firearms, condors in high winds, and pressure to work in unsafe conditions that lead to injury or death in some cases - but there are a lot of “little” and completely avoidable disasters that occur far too often.

Every department bears the responsibility for safety, but G&E can be especially sketchy sometimes!

Flying big diffusion frames without tie downs: straight to jail. Standing on the top step of a 12 foot ladder: jail. Menace arms and overhead camera rigs without the proper safety in place: straight to jail. You may win internet points with your shitty rig but if it puts someone in danger then it doesn’t belong on set.

Most days things work as they’re supposed to so people get complacent about safety.

For the record, if anyone ever tells you to do something even remotely sketchy, it’s ok to say no! Listen to your gut. It could save your life.

For this setup we had the talent sit on the dolly with camera so the world would spin behind them. Our dolly grip, @radicalghast fashioned a safety harness out of daisy chain, runners, and locking carabiners so that talent wouldn’t tip backward as the dolly spun. You also can see him spotting her as she climbs on the seat. Rock climbers make for excellent grips!

This scene was primarily lit with Astera Titans. A couple rigged to the ceiling for a wash a color on the walls and another for a back edge, one on either side of talent’s face for tonal contrast, and another just above camera as an eye light with a TV effect playing. Art department helped provide the ribbon and neon lamps for the background.


Director @swiney

AD Tom Farnsworth

AC Chris Nightengale

DIT Tim Hardy

Dolly Grip @radicalghast

BBE Billy Gunn

Art Pam Chavez

Tyler Kaschke is a freelance gaffer with grip truck based in Lafayette, Colorado and serving Boulder, Denver, Golden, Fort Collins and Colorado Springs.

For more information about safety on set and other lighting tips, follow me on Instagram @colorado_gaffer


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