Many safety issues on set come down to weight. Big lights are heavy – so are cranes, jibs, C Stands with floppies, 6’ blades, menace arms, even gel frames and nets. Weight is dangerous. We have procedures to reduce safety issues and they are widely understood. My purpose here is NOT to criticize or minimize the importance of any of those protocols.  I would never suggest or advocate any dangerous gear or procedure.

But what if we’re in a situation that that gear isn’t designed for – on a confined set with tight space, with smaller or fewer lights? We’ve all found ourselves there. What if we take into account that lighting smaller sets is often far more complicated and requires more tweaking than larger sets? What is the result of applying the same procedures we use on large sets (with bigger, heavier gear) to small, claustrophobic sets?

It’s obvious: the footprint is too big. We create jungles of stands, themselves dangerous and difficult to navigate, in spaces that can barely hold talent and camera. If we’re using faster cameras with smaller lights and lower wattage or newer, cooler technologies, why are we using the same heavy, dangerous gear we use with big, heavy, hot lights? It doesn’t make sense.

Smaller, cooler (and I include small incandescents under ‘cooler’), lights call for lighter, safer gear and more parsimonious distribution. For example, if you can put a topper on a 1K with a weightless piece of foam core mounted on the same stand that supports the light, why would we use a heavier, more dangerous blade supported by a separate stand? The answer is usually ‘because that’s what’s on the truck.’

One of the missions of this blog is to find/create, test and suggest cleaner, more economical ways to approach grip work in a world of faster sensors, small spaces and more efficient lighting instruments. There has to be a better way to do this.