One of the most essential tools at a film maker’s disposal is the power of lighting. First-time filmmakers often take this tool for granted and fail to maintain their lighting equipment. So how do you maintain such an extensive cinematic tool? The following 6 step guide aims to give you the low down on lighting safety and help you learn how to look after your lighting equipment for video productions to come:
1. Keep Lighting Away From Water
It probably sounds obvious, but you’d be surprised how many first-time filmmakers attempt to set up lighting when it’s wet. If it looks drizzly, if it’s raining or if you’re near any kind of water, turn your lights off! At any sign of water get them into dry areas and do not attempt to turn them on unless you are confident they are completely dry.
2. Keep Lighting Away From Flammables
Lights may not be a naked flame, but they can certainly cause them to occur. Do not place lights near any kind of flammable fabrics or objects. The intense heat lighting gives off can generate huge fire hazards in any location. Scope out your location and place your lighting in safe positions or use them sparingly.
3. Handle Lighting With Care
When you’re moving or setting up your lighting always use electrical safety gloves. Lighting can get tremendously hot and even once you’ve turned them off can be prone to blow if they are not handled properly. Be gentle with your lighting, whether you’re just setting them up or putting them away. They are very expensive to replace.
4. Use Trustworthy Lighting Cords
Never use flimsy or cheap looking cords for your lighting. Double check your cables gauge can handle the power running through it before even thinking about turning your lighting on. A good quality heavy-duty cord should be able to accommodate the wattage of your lighting.
5. Use Omni/Arri Lighting
Omni/Arri lighting provides covers around its lights to stop any debris hitting anyone or anything if a bulb blows. If you are not able to get open-faced lights like these then try to keep lighting in a safe place on set. Doing so will minimize the risk of injuring anyone on set and prevent it damaging the set itself.
6. Always Keep Your Lighting Secure
Once you’ve set up your lighting make sure they are tightened correctly. It is always worth checking your lighting is still secure throughout filming as the heat may cause tensions to change. An unsecured light could cause real damage to your crew, subjects and set. It is also worth investing in some sandbags to keep your lighting steady and secure to prevent anyone knocking them over during filming.
These 6 safety tips will not only help your lighting to last longer, but will also keep it from damaging your set, interviewees, actors and crew. By following these tips at every filming location you can ensure you don’t have to constantly fork out extra cash to replace and repair lighting. This could really help to keep your budget and film schedule on track.