Blow `Em Up

`You`re only supposed to blow the bloody car up`...... A salutary tale of personal safety and the benefits of on-set betting.

I`m currently operating on an action movie in Malta with a director, known for his full-on action and pyrotechnic work. I had an experience that highlights the need for camera operators and indeed any crew member to asses a potentially hazardous situation and take responsibility for themselves regardless of what any one else says. It also shows the need for any self-respecting operator to be a good follower of betting form.
We were creating a shot of an exploding car that was rigged to eject a foam engine block during the event. All cameras were placed close to the action in the impact zone, as is the directors customary style. My camera position was given the all clear by the SFX supervisor. A running bet was set up, as we regularly do to add spice to the event, as to where the engine block would land. Most people put their chalk mark close to the SFX supervisors except for the director and a very experienced American grip who both placed  their crosses the furthest away from the supervisors. Seeing this I promptly asked my grips to `discreetly` pull the track back a couple of feet as I compensated on the lens.
Although a visit to wardrobe wasn`t necessary, the burn from the blast was enough to have to step away from camera after the shot was over. A few foot closer could have been quite different.

Peter Robertson ACO, GBCT

P.s. H&S before you ask,yes I was wearing face protection and a fire blanket.


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