Filmmaking is all about preparation and collaboration. Getting everything ready to shoot is essential for a successful production, and one of the most laborious yet necessary tasks during pre-production is making sure everything is perfectly safe during the actual shooting. As you can imagine, identifying and taking the necessary precautions and safety measures to ensure a controlled environment can be pretty taxing, overwhelming even. Nevertheless, it needs to be done, and you can find a few tips on how to go about it if you continue to read below.
Preparation and rehearsal
Rehearsals are not only about figuring things out with the actors, but also taking a detailed look at the potential location. Checking your locations closely gives people the advantage of knowing where they can rig their lights, what obstacles to avoid, where the emergency exits are, and so on come shooting time. Being prepared helps you and your crew anticipate any safety hazards that need to be solved and you may have otherwise overlooked.
Briefing and safety protocols
Giving your cast and crew a briefing of the safety rules and parameters first thing in the morning before the shooting starts is key to make everyone aware of the necessary measures that need to be taken. Some locations or difficult scenes that involve stunts, weapons, or dangerous procedures in general, will probably have their own safety protocol and emergency countermeasures. People involved in the scene need to be looped in on the plan.
Part of the most common safety protocols for stunts, controlled fires, fights with weapons, collisions with vehicles, and scenes of the sort, include setting a perimeter around the place where the action will develop. This is, of course, to avoid any injuries or unfortunate incidents on set. Lights, props, and other decorations need not interfere with the action either. If you do not need to be at the scene, please refrain from breaking the perimeter.
When you are shooting scenes that involve stunts, blood, or destruction of equipment in any way, you are going to need some backups. Sure, most directors will try to rehearse this sort of scenes extensively and try to get it right in just a couple of takes, but in any case, you need to be prepared for anything. Depending on your budget and on how particular are the elements of the scene, these backups will be more or less costly and may include anything from pieces of clothing to furniture and vehicles.
Emergency equipment and professionals
On top of all the necessary safety measures that need to be in place when it comes to shooting a dangerous scene, you still need to have a team of professionals readily available in the event that something goes wrong. For things that may end up harming the actors or stunt performers, medical professionals need to be on site. Firefighters come into play for scenes where people might get trapped or caught in an explosion or fire. All relevant department heads should have emergency contact numbers handy, and teams of professionals need to be briefed about the situation so they can stay alert and come at once if they are called.