Pro Video Tips
Illustration by John Hersey

Ten tips for set safety


From:

Pro Video Tips

with Anthony Q. Artis

Video: Ten tips for set safety

Hey, clearly, I am Mister down and dirty when it comes to production, I believe in doing whatever you gotta do to get the shot, and finish a project but I draw a clear, and distinct line when it comes to safety on set. Stealing a location or risking arrest is one thing, but risking your own or anyone else's personal safety for the sake of a short film or even a very well paying feature or commercial. Is just plain dumb, and when serious accidents happen, it's never worth the shot.
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  1. 15m 59s
    1. Seven tips for better managing your crew NEW
      3m 13s
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      2m 6s
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      2m 12s
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  2. 2m 8s
    1. Intro to Pro Video Tips
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  3. 17m 27s
    1. Controlling reflections in glass
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    2. Managing color with polarizers
      2m 32s
    3. Using a polarizer to adjust skin tones
      2m 0s
    4. Using polarizers when shooting landscapes
      4m 42s
    5. Ten polarizer tips
      4m 6s
  4. 14m 34s
    1. Supplies to get to hide lav mics
      2m 13s
    2. Hiding lavs in collars
      5m 16s
    3. Hiding mics in hair
      2m 17s
    4. Hiding mics in sheer tops
      2m 40s
    5. Hiding transmitter packs on talent
      2m 8s
  5. 34m 25s
    1. Canon C100 overview
      11m 33s
    2. Looking at the Atomos Ninja
      12m 20s
    3. Checking out the C100 menu options
      10m 32s
  6. 10m 28s
    1. Ten tips for set safety
      10m 28s
  7. 9m 18s
    1. Packing a truck
      9m 18s
  8. 19m 24s
    1. Putting together your lens kit
      1m 0s
    2. Normal lenses
      1m 54s
    3. Wide lenses
      3m 5s
    4. Ultra-wide and fish-eye lenses
      2m 53s
    5. Telephoto lenses
      4m 53s
    6. Super zooms
      2m 54s
    7. Macro lenses
      2m 45s
  9. 17m 22s
    1. The importance of exposure
      1m 31s
    2. Using waveforms
      5m 3s
    3. Using histograms
      6m 53s
    4. Using zebra stripes
      3m 55s
  10. 10m 20s
    1. Shutter speed overview
      3m 18s
    2. Different ways to use shutter speed
      7m 2s
  11. 10m 29s
    1. Tips for keeping your budget down
      10m 29s
  12. 10m 11s
    1. Working with batteries
      10m 11s
  13. 24m 39s
    1. External audio settings
      4m 2s
    2. Audio input menus
      9m 31s
    3. Audio output menus
      4m 6s
    4. Setting and monitoring your levels
      7m 0s
  14. 16m 33s
    1. Introduction to backlight
      1m 18s
    2. Types of backlight
      3m 51s
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      5m 31s
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      1m 39s
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      4m 14s
  15. 13m 28s
    1. Booming techniques
      13m 28s
  16. 5m 42s
    1. Feeding your crew
      5m 42s
  17. 8m 36s
    1. Choosing between prime, servo, and manual zoom lenses
      5m 19s
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      3m 17s
  18. 10m 55s
    1. Green screen lights and materials
      3m 47s
    2. Mounting the green screen
      1m 39s
    3. Lighting the green screen
      3m 8s
    4. Lighting your subject
      2m 21s
  19. 9m 28s
    1. What to look for when buying a tripod
      6m 13s
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      3m 15s
  20. 23m 19s
    1. Choosing a camera
      3m 2s
    2. Preparation and supplies for a surf shoot
      2m 13s
    3. Dealing with lens fog
      1m 44s
    4. Mounting your POV camera
      3m 20s
    5. Tracking and shooting your surfer from the shore
      6m 56s
    6. Interview with Tony Cruz
      6m 4s
  21. 8m 37s
    1. Introduction to lens mounts
      1m 24s
    2. Canon mounts
      2m 0s
    3. PL mounts
      1m 59s
    4. Nikon mounts
      1m 24s
    5. Micro 4/3 mounts
      1m 50s
  22. 7m 30s
    1. Introduction to lighting ratios
      1m 19s
    2. Comparing ratios
      2m 52s
    3. Measuring light ratios
      3m 19s
  23. 10m 25s
    1. Ten Looks in Ten Minutes
      10m 25s
  24. 5m 36s
    1. Using camera height and POV to better tell your story
      5m 36s
  25. 9m 49s
    1. Tips for lighting an interview subject
      9m 49s
  26. 15m 5s
    1. Taking 10 pounds off your subject
      4m 1s
    2. Dealing with nose shadows
      3m 3s
    3. Lighting different skin tones
      2m 55s
    4. Putting makeup on your subject
      5m 6s
  27. 10m 4s
    1. Types of cookies
      4m 6s
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      2m 47s
    3. Controlling the look of a cookie
      3m 11s
  28. 18m 11s
    1. Introduction to shooting sports footage
      1m 15s
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      5m 55s
    3. Camerawork for shooting sports videos
      5m 4s
    4. Gear to bring on your sports shoot
      4m 52s
    5. Wrapping up
      1m 5s
  29. 8m 34s
    1. Tips for using bounce light
      8m 34s
  30. 21m 43s
    1. Video portrait intro
      1m 51s
    2. Video portrait camera work
      13m 32s
    3. Considerations for a video portrait interview
      4m 11s
    4. Bonus: Finished video portrait
      2m 9s
  31. 9m 48s
    1. Shooting at 24p
      3m 2s
    2. Using depth of field
      1m 37s
    3. Lighting for a film look
      1m 18s
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      2m 31s
    5. Getting a film look with software
      1m 20s
  32. 38m 57s
    1. Introduction to professional car rigs
      7m 41s
    2. Attaching a side mount rig
      12m 58s
    3. Mounting a speed rail rig
      10m 54s
    4. Hood suction mount
      4m 27s
    5. Car rig safety tips
      2m 57s
  33. 14m 3s
    1. Manipulating the size of people
      6m 12s
    2. Manipulating the size of buildings
      2m 59s
    3. Making crowds look more crowded
      4m 52s
  34. 12m 32s
    1. Introduction to lighting cars
      5m 13s
    2. Lighting the car from outside
      3m 10s
    3. Lighting the car from inside
      4m 9s
  35. 13m 46s
    1. Packing your gear for air travel
      6m 8s
    2. What to do at the airport
      4m 39s
    3. Getting on the plane
      2m 59s
  36. 15m 53s
    1. Why you should hire an editor
      1m 29s
    2. Working with editors during pre-production
      3m 33s
    3. Working with editors during shooting
      4m 3s
    4. Working with editors after your shoot
      4m 18s
    5. Final tips on working with editors
      2m 30s
  37. 7m 46s
    1. Tips on avoiding scam film festivals
      7m 46s
  38. 5m 22s
    1. 36. Four common budgeting mistakes
      5m 22s
  39. 12m 13s
    1. 10 Filmmaking Lessons...I Learned the Hard Way
      12m 13s
  40. 9m 38s
    1. Why you get moire and aliasing
      2m 52s
    2. Avoiding moire
      6m 46s
  41. 18m 56s
    1. Tips on boosting your production value
      1m 46s
    2. Shooting with a shallow depth of field
      1m 36s
    3. Great audio and sound design
      2m 44s
    4. Keep your shots steady
      2m 32s
    5. Keep your camera moving
      2m 29s
    6. Location, location, location
      2m 15s
    7. Adding appropriate titles and FX
      1m 56s
    8. Hiring a colorist
      3m 38s
  42. 11m 19s
    1. Positioning yourself for the interview
      2m 29s
    2. Settings for camera and audio
      5m 57s
    3. Using a second camera
      2m 53s
  43. 8m 5s
    1. Tips on shooting an interview with one camera
      4m 25s
    2. Faking reverse shots and cutaways
      3m 40s
  44. 8m 58s
    1. The trouble with shooting windows
      1m 6s
    2. Dealing with exposure issues
      2m 55s
    3. Managing mixed color temperatures
      2m 16s
    4. Tips and tricks for shooting window scenes
      2m 41s
  45. 4m 35s
    1. Adjusting SMPTE color bars
      4m 35s
  46. 11m 32s
    1. Introduction to shooting discreetly
      1m 1s
    2. Scouting locations for a stealth shoot
      1m 47s
    3. Traveling and shooting low profile
      1m 25s
    4. Recording audio discreetly
      1m 25s
    5. Using discreet cameras and camerawork
      2m 22s
    6. Running interference
      1m 24s
    7. Adding production value with local resources
      1m 13s
    8. Always have a plan B
      55s
  47. 5m 44s
    1. Five things you can do when your production stalls out
      5m 44s
  48. 10m 44s
    1. Why to use an Interrotron
      3m 50s
    2. Setting up an Interrotron the traditional way
      4m 4s
    3. Nontraditional Interrotron setups
      2m 50s
  49. 6m 3s
    1. Five ways to achieve shallow depth of field
      6m 3s
  50. 9m 41s
    1. Tips for managing your media
      9m 41s
  51. 16m 23s
    1. Tips for renting equipment
      1m 25s
    2. Do your homework
      2m 39s
    3. Test the gear out
      4m 13s
    4. Get the best rate on your rental
      1m 49s
    5. Getting all the manuals
      59s
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      2m 48s
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      2m 30s
  52. 4m 36s
    1. Using your hotel TV as an ad-hoc monitor
      4m 36s
  53. 3m 49s
    1. Shooting an overhead tabletop demo with a mirror
      3m 49s
  54. 3m 0s
    1. Creating a visual heat-wave effect
      3m 0s
  55. 14m 0s
    1. 10 Tips for Shooting Live Events
      14m 0s
  56. 15m 22s
    1. Understanding the challenges of shooting live events
      3m 21s
    2. Shooting for the cut
      5m 20s
    3. Getting neutral shots and cutaways
      3m 51s
    4. Bonus: Final edited video
      2m 50s
  57. 14m 2s
    1. Tips for recording audio at live events
      1m 51s
    2. Plugging into a mixing board
      5m 52s
    3. Mic'ing the instruments
      1m 46s
    4. Mic'ing the speakers
      1m 55s
    5. Using a shotgun mic
      2m 38s

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Watch the Online Video Course Pro Video Tips
11h 47m Appropriate for all Apr 15, 2014 Updated May 12, 2015

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Pro Video Tips is designed for busy videographers like you. This series brings you a new tip every week, on everything from controlling reflections to hiding mics. Host Anthony Q. Artis covers shooting techniques for particular video challenges like portraits, tools to help you control light and judge exposure, and advice for the traveling videographer, such as putting together a great lens kit or packing a truck. Come back every Tuesday for a new round of tips.

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Anthony Q. Artis

Ten tips for set safety

Hey, clearly, I am Mister down and dirty when it comes to production, I believe in doing whatever you gotta do to get the shot, and finish a project but I draw a clear, and distinct line when it comes to safety on set. Stealing a location or risking arrest is one thing, but risking your own or anyone else's personal safety for the sake of a short film or even a very well paying feature or commercial. Is just plain dumb, and when serious accidents happen, it's never worth the shot.

So I want to give you my tips to stay clear of this scenario, and always practice safe sense. Tip number one, think it through. A fan once sent me a picture of some gorilla filmmakers she saw on the side of the road. That are the very essence of what I don't believe in. These film making fools were 100 feet off the ground on the wrong side of the highway overpass, and completely unsecured by a tether, safety chain, and apparently also unsecured by common sense. Let me be clear here.

This type of stuff is not down and dirty, it's just plain dumb. I really can't put it any other way. Your camera, and your brain should always be fully engaged at the same time when it comes to film making. So tip number one is think it through. Tip number two, is slow it down. The pressure on a film set can be tremendous when the dollars are ticking away or an expensive piece of equipment is due back at the rental house, you're about to lose that last bit of golden sunlight, or the lead actor has to leave in two hours to catch a plane.

These are the panic times. Bad things are more likely to happen when everyone is tense and rushing to get things done. The best film makers panic only on the inside. So take a deep breath, and mentally, if not physically slow down the pace long enough to make sure that everyone, and everything is still safe. Because if they aren't, you still won't get the shot. Plus you'll have a whole new set of problems to deal with. So slow it down. Tip number three, always keep a first aid kit on set.

Even in the safest of environments, little accidents can, and will happen, cuts, bruises, burns and such. When these things do happen, be prepared with the basic supplies to take care of the people who take care of you, your talent and crew. When a gaffer slices his palm trying to set up a light for your scene, it's so much classier and caring to have a large band-aid and some neosporin on hand than to have the poor girl walking around the rest of the shoot with a blood-soaked paper towel held on by a piece of gaffer's tape. Apart from bandages and standard medical supplies like rubbing alcohol to clean, and treat basic wounds, you'll also want to stock things like instant hot and cold packs.

Bengay, tweezers, gauze, aspirin or ibuprofen lots of it, cold and allergy medicine and relief for upset stomaches. Basically, anything you keep in your medicine cabinet, you'll probably also want to get in your First Aid Kit. You can get a fully stocked first aid kit from any drug store or pharmacy, and they don't cost that much. So have a first aid kit is tip number three. Tip number four, put up signs, rope it off, and mark the danger spots.

Another simple thing you can do is to put up signs in big, bold print on bright colored paper. On and around everything on set that's a potential danger. Warning, do not plug lights into this outlet. Watch your step. Please stay off balcony. Do not cover generator with anything. Any sign like this is perfect. A safety sign can not be big, and obnoxious enough in my opinion. Although they went out of fashion in the' 80s,. Neon colors are always in fashion when it comes to safety.

Use bright, obnoxious neon pink, yellow, and green tape, and paper signs to clearly note areas of caution, and to catch people's eye. Similarly, from any big box hardware store, you can purchase some iconic yellow caution tape, that has the word caution printed on every inch to rope off areas of the set that you want to keep people away from. If a potentially dangerous area does need to be accessed, limit access only to those crew members who need to deal with it directly, such as grips or gaffers.

So that's tip number four. Tip number five, Know where the nearest hospital is. The producer or AD on set is normally responsible for this standard precaution. Knowing how to get to the nearest hospital or emergency room, is as simple as doing a Google Map search. Equally important is knowing the fastest route to get there. For a serious emergency, you may have to decide which is faster, driving versus calling an ambulance. Having the hospital's address already punched into your production vehicle's GPS unit.

Or having a driver that already knows their way will save you those extra excruciating minutes of trying to punch in the address, and make navigation decisions while someone in your passenger seat needs urgent medical care. So that's tip number five. Know where the hospital is. Tip number six, is make sure you have phone service. While we're speaking of hospitals and ambulances, you should be very wary and extra cautious of shooting at any remote location with no phone service at all. The ability to be able to call 911 and get emergency medical help on set within minutes is not one that you want to ever be without.

In the very worse case accident scenarios, the inability to make a quick phone call can become a life or death situation. You need to have a full medical emergency plan, and know all the nearest emergency healthcare providers, and the hours of operation when you're shooting in remote and isolated places. It would also be wise to let those emergency care providers, i.e, paramedics, fire department, et cetera. Know exactly where you'll be shooting before hand, so they can quickly get to your remote location if there is an unexpected emergency.

And all film set emergencies are always unexpected, but they should never be unprepared for. Tip number seven, secure everything. Wherever possible all heavy equipment should be safely secured in place, so that it does not fall over or onto someone. Securing things is not only a safety issue. But also an equipment issue. Equipment that's not held in place is more prone to getting dropped, broken, or knocked over accidentally. By secure everything, I mean put sandbags on lights and c-stands.

Always double check the security of your tripod and tripod plate. Make sure any overhead lights are securely fastened down, or have safety chains or wires as well. If your tripod has spreader legs at the bottom, sandbag those too. If someone needs to climb a ladder, the ladder should be secured in place by another crew member. In other words I mean secure everything. Tip number eight, have a safety briefing. Whenever you shoot, whatever you shoot, you should take a few minutes to make sure that the entire crew, from the bottom to the top, has been briefed on basic safety concerns for the day.

This doesn't have to be a special safety meeting, per se, you can just set aside a few minutes during your normal pre-shoot briefing with the talent and crew. You do normally do a pre-shoot briefing with the talent and crew, right? Well the AD producer, or director during this meeting should brief everyone on safety concerns with any specific props scenes or vehicles. How to navigate or avoid any dangerous areas on location. And we should talk about any dangerous equipment lights or rigging on set. And similarly, tip number nine, is make sure that everybody knows what's up.

If you're doing a stunt or dealing with any unusual scenario, prop or vehicle, such as using a helicopter, staging a Samurai sword fight or a gun battle, shooting on a boat or rigging a camera car. Or anything else out of the norm with potential safety implications. Make sure that everyone on set, from the production assistant, to the talent, to the trash service people know exactly what the screen is going to entail. Who will be involved. When it will happen. And, how everyone else can stay out of harms way.

Tip number 10, avoid the untrained, inexperienced, and incompetent. When it comes to dangerous equipment and activities on set, there should always be an experienced professional, who routinely deals with any of those types of props. Equipment, vehicles or stunts on set, whenever these riskier scenes are scheduled. People who are untrained, inexperienced and incompetent with specialty props equipment, vehicles or physical stunts are a big potential liability for injury. And even lawsuits when all the dust clears.

If you feel like you have no choice but to have someone with little or no experience handle something on set that is potentially dangerous. I strongly recommend that you both do as much homework as possible on the subject matter, and try to get some sort of training session with a professional before hand. If you can't arrange for some one on one guidance by a professional. At least make sure you've taken the time to consult someone with previous experience in the issues at hand. Even a 20 minute phone consultation with someone who's already been there and done that successfully could save you immeasurable amounts of unforseen.

An unfamiliar trouble on set, and help to protect your crew from potential danger. Also, be honest and straight forward with everyone on set about any possible risks that you think they could incur. Everyone needs to be 100% comfortable and OK with anything they're asked to do on set. And if they aren't, it's a clear indication that what you're asking for probably shouldn't be done or should be completely rethought, replanned, or reconceived instead. Trust your instincts. If it doesn't feel right, then it probably isn't right.

So go back to the drawing board until you can figure out how to do it safely or if it should even be attempted at all. Many times there are simple solutions involving editing, sound effects and camera angles that can be used to great effect to sell a shot visually without incurring any real risk physically. So those are my top 10 safety tips. Remember, no shot is worth your physical safety. Above all, we want to get the shot, but we also want to keep it safe.

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