Wednesday, April 01, 2015

Dolly Grips and Camera Department Safety

  Here's a hot button issue. A friend of mine asked me to weigh in on this one so here it is. As a dolly grip, I have always considered myself the last line of defense for the operator. This means that I put myself in danger for my operator. I never leave him alone unless a stunt brother takes over  This means that for every effects shot I go to the effects coordinator and ask about safe distances, eye and ear protection, or any cover that camera may need. This means that I talk to the stunt coordinator and ask if a camera position is safe. This means that I don't take "No" for an answer and I stake my reputation on the safety of every shot. The way I look at it is that part of the reason I am there is to say "No" when it is called for.  I take responsibility for their safety. That's how I was taught and that's how I operate. If I say "no" to a particular setup and I am ignored, I have the prerogative of going to the 1st AD and saying," They won't listen. I think it's unsafe. I divorce myself from the shot. I'll be on the truck but I want it on the record." Granted, this has never happened to me personally, but it is the only power I have. I take the safety of my camera department very seriously and will go to bat with the 1st AD or the director if I feel it is unsafe.
The Captain has spoken.

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