Comic Talk and General Discussion *

Alec Baldwin accidentally shoots and kills cinematographer and wounds director
Ozoneocean at 7:53PM, Oct. 24, 2021
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This has been in the news for a few days. It's pretty horrible.
I think I've been able to understand what probably happened in some respects there.

The news is pretty confused and there are a lot of elements to this.
-Apparently a whole bunch of camera operators had walked off the set earlier due to safety concerns. Gun safety was part of it.
-There had been an issue a few days earlier with a gun firing a live around apparently.
-The “master of arms” responsible for all the weapons and gun safety is an inexperienced 24 year old only on her second job. Her chief recommendation seems to be that her dad is a master of arms. According to her own words she was scared of loading blanks among other things… This seems to point to where the issue might be :(

“Prop guns” used in movies are not fake guns, they're just guns used for props. Some are fake, but those are usually worn in holsters, given to extras and thrown around. They mostly use real guns for closeups or firing scenes.

There's not really any such things as real guns that are only made to fire blanks (blank only guns are different, like starter pistols). You put a blank cartridge IN a real gun. A blank is a cartridge with less powder charge and not bullet in the end of it.
Automatic guns have to be specially adapted to fire them or the mechanical parts will not cycle because they're meant to be powered by the energy of a full powered bullet.
Revolvers, like the ones used in the cowboy film Baldwin was working on do not have that problem because the action is manually cycled by the pull of the trigger so they don't need any adaptation. So a revolver loaded with blanks can look the same as one loaded with live rounds… There could be other issues too like a revolver only needing low power blanks to get the same effect as an automatic firing blanks, but it mistakenly being loaded with higher power loads?

How could the shot have killed the cinematographer, gone through them and also injured the director?
This happened when they were all inside a wooden chapel. What probably happened was that those two people were standing in front of Baldwin behind a camera, either filming or doing a test shot as he fired directly towards them for the scene. It's a common shot in film.
Whatever came out of the gun went through the cinematographer, killed her, and then into the director. One shot.

Was this a live round or was it material from a blank? -Blanks can still kill if you're close enough, it's the same explosions that powers a bullet, jut less charge. If there's any material lodged in the barrel or part of the blank comes out you can be killed.
We don't know at this stage.

Why don't they just pretend to fire a gun and use digital animation to add fake muzzle flash and smoke? Because it doesn't look as real and people have been using real guns in cinema for over 100 years with very few incidents. CGI animators are getting better now though.

Brandon Lee was famously killed in an accident on set when a semi-automatic gun firing blanks was shot at his chest. Material from a previously fired blank shot out of the barrel and killed him.
 
bravo1102 at 1:17AM, Oct. 25, 2021
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The first narrative movie ever made, The Great Train Robbery(1903) has a scene where a gun is fired directly at the camera. No one died there.

Many weapons require plugs in the barrel to be operated with blanks so debris from the blanks that can and does come out of the barrel doesn't injure anyone. Can't use them in movies for obvious reasons ( no muzzle flash and they're very obvious) There are oxy propane flash simulators that can be put into weapons but no spent rounds or recoil so they can look fake and that is flame coming out of the barrel so you can't stand in front of it and there are set ups and safety protocols more extensive than just a firearm with blanks.

Anyone who has ever been to a black powder reenactment can tell you about all the stuff that comes out the end of a barrel from blank paper cartridges. Wadding can burn or even start fires.

So you just don't point guns at people. Firearm safety is a thing. Just ask the thousands who are injured and killed from gun accidents every year.
Ozoneocean at 4:30AM, Oct. 25, 2021
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bravo1102 wrote:
So you just don't point guns at people.
Generaly yes.
For a movie though it's assumed that the weapon is made safe enough to do this without incident, and that's uaually always the case.
I wouldn't blame the actor at all. I'd be looking at the assitant director that handed him the gun and told him it was safe, and the master of arms who has the main responsibility for gun-saftey on set.
 
bravo1102 at 11:52AM, Oct. 25, 2021
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Ozoneocean wrote:
bravo1102 wrote:
So you just don't point guns at people.
Generaly yes.
For a movie though it's assumed that the weapon is made safe enough to do this without incident, and that's uaually always the case.
I wouldn't blame the actor at all. I'd be looking at the assitant director that handed him the gun and told him it was safe, and the master of arms who has the main responsibility for gun-saftey on set.


Actually in motion picture production the gun safety folks tell them not to aim directly at someone else. Also, cross cutting is used so no one is actually shooting at someone else. I've seen many movies where it's obvious no one is ever actually pointing a gun directly at anyone else or else observing safe distance to allow for discharge. (That's the technical term for it when observing live fire) You can tell these things when it's your job to point weapons at people and shoot off lots of ammunition and do duty as a range safety NCO.
last edited on Oct. 25, 2021 11:53AM
Ozoneocean at 2:10AM, Oct. 26, 2021
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bravo1102 wrote:
Actually in motion picture production the gun safety folks tell them not to aim directly at someone else. Also, cross cutting is used so no one is actually shooting at someone else. I've seen many movies where it's obvious no one is ever actually pointing a gun directly at anyone else or else observing safe distance to allow for discharge. (That's the technical term for it when observing live fire) You can tell these things when it's your job to point weapons at people and shoot off lots of ammunition and do duty as a range safety NCO.
Film is very different from the military though. The actor has to do what the director tells them and they assume it to be safe because they have saftey experts who's sole job is to MAKE it safe.
We can presume that person didn't do their job or that the director overode them -he seems to have a bad reputation in that regard.

This is an excellent discission on what has to be done to adapt different guns for blank fire in film:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GnOUrRTf6jg

It's not as simple as plugging barrels. There are all different kinds of blank loads and different reasons for using them.
 
Ozoneocean at 4:20AM, Oct. 26, 2021
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It's super weird how the pro gun community online wants to directly blame Alec Baldwin for the accident, because in doing so that means they have to admit they don't know how guns in movies work… Basically they totally admit their ignorance of firearms and weapons in film all because they want to direct blame on a person who's politics they dislike.

It's sickening in one respect and sadly funny in another that all these pro-gun people don't understand guns or reality.
 
bravo1102 at 8:54AM, Oct. 27, 2021
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The simplest expedient for making sure safety is simply swabbing every barrel between every take. Makes absolutely certain nothing in the barrel that can hit anyone. Remember seeing it in a behind the scenes video of Band of Brothers. Weapons safety guy had a barrel rod and be swabbing barrels to check for residue.

And every time you're handed a weapon, check to see if it's clear. Such simple things. A film crew would probably hate me as their weapon safety person.

Have to work this into a future installment of Belle's Best. But then there the Assistant Director is an ex-Navy SEAL. Doubt he'd let any safety lapses happen with so many weapon ignorant civilians around.
last edited on Oct. 27, 2021 8:59AM

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