Free Driving

Safety Bulletin


The term “Free Driving” applies to situations where the driver or a passenger of a vehicle is being photographed by cameras attached to the outside and/or inside the vehicle, or being handheld by a camera operator inside the vehicle. The term free driving also applies in situations when the camera is used to film external shots from in or on the vehicle. For example, during Free Driving the camera can be attached to the exterior of a vehicle with a door mount (hostess tray), a hood mount, or on a mechanical track system. As a result of unique vehicle configurations, equipment placement, personnel location and operations, potential risk factors may exist and should be addressed, as discussed below.

These guidelines do not cover insert car and/or process trailer operations. For those situations, refer to Industry-Wide Labor-Management Safety Committee Safety Bulletin #8 “Guidelines for Traditional Camera Cars” and/or #8, Addendum A “Process Trailer/Towed Vehicle” for guidance. Also refer to Safety Bulletin #37 “Vehicle Restraint Systems – Seat Belts & Harnesses” and #42 “Guidelines for Alternative Driving Systems”.

Considerations Before Engaging in Free Driving

Production shall consider all available options (including camera car, process trailer, alternative driving systems, etc.) and assess and make the determination that Free Driving is an appropriate method.

Driving safely is the first priority; acting and/or getting the shot is second. When safe operation of the vehicle is not possible, alternate means should be used, such as a process trailer or a tow vehicle.

Unsecured equipment poses a particular challenge. Hand-held cameras, equipment, and crew and actor placement should be considered to ensure the equipment will not become a projectile that could cause injury.

Other considerations for safe Free Driving include:

  • Scene action (e.g. stunts, performance, and special effects)
  • The ability of the driver to simultaneously perform, drive, and remain aware of any clearance required for rigging or equipment that extends beyond the vehicle body
  • Controlled or uncontrolled environment (closed course versus open roads with Intermittent Traffic Control (ITC))
  • Location permitting requirements, such as for road closures, ITC or driving grids.
  • Type and condition of vehicle to be used
  • Intended speed and maneuvers
  • Operating the vehicle in close proximity to other vehicles
  • Route conditions (e.g. curved, incline, crown, obstacles, clearances, length, width, paved, gravel, dirt, flat, hilly, wet, or slippery)
  • Anticipated weather
  • Airbags and other automatic devices may need to be deactivated for safety, depending on the placement of personnel and equipment (e.g. cameras, lights). NOTE: Only a person who is trained, qualified, and authorized to disengage an airbag shall do so.
  • If airbags must be disabled, alternative safety measures will need to be implemented (e.g. restraint harnesses).
  • The production should consider road closures, reduced speeds, etc. prior to disengaging airbags.
  • Equipment weight, load capacity, center of gravity, counter balance, placement and use (e.g. camera, lighting, and props)
  • Limited lighting options, including placement and power
  • Limited visibility conditions for the driver (e.g. cameras, mounts, dust, spray, lights, restrictive covering over the windshield, smoke)
  • Communication system (e.g. walkie-talkies)

Prior to Operation

  • When vehicles are used for filming, all rigged equipment must be securely mounted. If cameras are mounted to any part of the vehicle (either inside or out), these must be securely installed with the appropriate mounts / restraints and by a member of the crew who is qualified to perform the procedure.
  • Mounted equipment inside or outside the vehicle should not obstruct the driver’s view or distract attention while the vehicle is in motion.
  • No lighting should be used within the vehicle that could impair the driver’s clarity of vision or provide distraction.
  • The consideration of foreseeable emergencies (e.g. deployment of vehicle airbags) must be taken into account when positioning the camera operator.
  • The driver must be qualified to operate the vehicle and should have an appropriate license. NOTE: A license may not be required by law. However, drivers may need special training to be qualified to drive an unfamiliar vehicle or course.
  • All rigging of the vehicle and equipment, including cameras and lights, is to be performed by qualified personnel in a secure area which is free of known hazards, including other vehicular traffic.
  • A walk-through with the driver should be conducted to familiarize them with the operational characteristics of the vehicle and controls. Always check that the driver can operate the vehicle safely while filming is taking place.
  • Establish communication between drivers and support vehicles (e.g. walkie-talkies).
  • Check the weather and road conditions; establish the route, ensure that it is clear, and allow enough time for rehearsals prior to filming.
  • Brief the driver regarding the proposed filming plans. Ensure that the driver is confident with the route and is aware of where the cameras will be positioned.
  • The driver should do a test drive of the vehicle to familiarize themself with the filming plans and where they need to drive during the scene.
  • After rigging cameras and other equipment, carry out a test drive in a secluded spot or private road to test that the clamps have not come loose through vibrations. This process should be carried out each time you stop as a secondary check.


Ensure the vehicle has been inspected, is roadworthy, and has been suitably maintained. Inspection items include, but are not limited to, brakes, steering, tires, engine, drive train, vehicle’s electrical system, connection points, equipment placement, and all safety equipment. Any items not functioning properly must be repaired by a qualified person before use.

Safety Meetings

A shot‐specific safety meeting should be held by the First Assistant Director for all personnel riding in or on the vehicle, including those in close proximity (e.g. stunt personnel or background performers). This meeting should discuss the following topics:

  • Shot sequence and route (e.g. stunt action including crossovers/head‐on or near misses, vehicle speed, number and proximity of other vehicles, crew and camera placement, background performers, and property)
  • The potential use of a convoy of safety buffer vehicles for a cushion zone, plus slower travel speeds
  • Walk‐through or dry‐run
  • Environmental conditions (e.g. weather, surface conditions such as cement, gravel or dirt, topography such as flat or hilly)
  • Possible changes due to hazards
  • Authority to abort, including signals to be used
  • Route conditions (e.g. slope, curved, incline, crown, obstacles, clearances, length and width)
  • Equipment considerations (e.g. rigging, cameras, lights, microphones, airbags)
  • Communication systems (e.g. intercom and designated channel)
  • Signaling system to alert personnel to the vehicle’s impending movement
  • Visibility
  • Special effects
  • Personal protective equipment (e.g. harnesses, seat belts, helmets, eye protection)
  • Traffic and pedestrian control (e.g. street closures, ITC)
  • Emergency plan (e.g. escape routes and contingency plan)

If there is a substantive change in the choreography, equipment, or personnel involved in the shot, the individuals involved should discuss and decide if a subsequent safety meeting and rehearsal should be held.


Depending on the road conditions, speed, weather, controlled/uncontrolled environments, etc., the following should be considered during rehearsals and filming:

  • Only essential personnel required for the shot should be allowed on or in the vehicle.
  • Equipment and personnel should not disrupt, distract the driver, or compromise the safety of the vehicle operation.
  • Cast and crew riding in the vehicle must be provided a safe and secure place to ride.
  • While filming from inside the vehicle, personnel should be restrained with suitable straps/harnesses. The camera and gear should be properly secured.
  • A generator, when needed, should not be positioned where the cast and crew may be exposed to the exhaust.
  • If using batteries with or without an inverter, the batteries must sit flat and be secured in an upright position. Batteries can get hot and should not be placed against anything combustible.
  • When possible, a remote ON/OFF control switch should be used to run and stop the camera when it is door or hood mounted; a camera assistant rushing to the car to turn off the camera can create a hazard.
  • The performer should not be tasked with “slating” if the vehicle is already in motion.
  • Use comms/walkies to communicate between all parties.
  • Driver should keep within legal speed limits and drive within the law, safely and responsibly to ensure that driving actions do not cause any hazards to oncoming traffic/drivers (if applicable).
  • After each run, a general inspection should be conducted to ensure all equipment is secure. If at any time a camera or other equipment is deemed to be “unsteady,” filming should cease and adjustments made accordingly.

Related Bulletins

Alternative Driving Systems

Safety Bulletin


These guidelines are intended to give recommendations for safely working on and around Alternative Driving Systems (ADS) e.g., Pods. An ADS is typically a custom‐built device that is connected to the vehicle so that the vehicle can be driven safely without the person sitting in the normal driving position controlling the steering, accelerator, brakes, or other components. This Safety Bulletin does not address the use of wireless‐controlled vehicle systems.

ADS should only be operated to the levels for which they are designed based upon the requirements and conditions discussed between the Production and the ADS manufacturer or fabricator. The design, fabrication, and assembly of ADS are not covered in this Safety Bulletin.

Responsible Person

Production shall assign a Responsible Person or Persons. A Responsible Person is someone with both the experience and training to recognize and resolve problems relating to the configuration and operation of the ADS. The Responsible Person will have authority over all ADS operations.

Considerations for Using an ADS

  • Type of vehicle to which the ADS will be installed
  • Intended speed and maneuvers
  • ADS rigged vehicle operating in close proximity to other vehicles
  • Aircraft flown in close proximity
  • Scene action (e.g., stunts, performance, and special effects)
  • Route conditions (e.g., curved, incline, crown, obstacles, clearances, length, width, paved, gravel, dirt, flat, hilly, wet, or slippery)
  • Anticipated weather
  • Evaluation of the vehicle’s original systems and whether they should be disengaged (e.g., brakes, ignition, airbags, steering, and accelerator)
  • A secure area for cast and crew riding in or on the ADS vehicle
  • Load capacity, center of gravity, and counter‐balance
  • Equipment weight, placement and use (e.g., camera, lighting, and props)
  • Visibility conditions of ADS operator such as dust, spray, blinding lights, restrictive covering over the windshield, smoke
  • Emergency stop system
  • Communication system
  • Allowing time for proving/testing the system


The capabilities and limitations of the ADS should be communicated to all applicable departments. All rigging of the ADS and equipment, including cameras and lights, is to be performed by qualified personnel in an area secured for the purpose of rigging, which is free of known hazards, including other vehicular traffic. The rigging must be discussed with the Responsible Person and the ADS operator prior to the use of the vehicle. The Responsible Person and ADS operator must inspect the vehicle after any rigging change is made to ensure that the change will not adversely affect the safe operation of the vehicle. Only authorized persons should be in the secured area. When the ADS vehicle is not in operation, steps should be taken to ensure the vehicle cannot inadvertently move.


The connected vehicle must be inspected before and after each run. Inspection items include, but are not limited to, the ADS, brakes, steering, tires, engine, drive train, vehicle’s electrical system, connection points, towing equipment, and all safety equipment. Any items not fully functioning must be repaired by a qualified person before use.

Prior to Operation

A walk through with the performer(s) should be conducted regarding which of the vehicle’s original systems are operational and which have been disengaged.

A rehearsal should be considered to familiarize the performer with the operational characteristics of the vehicle and controls.

Safety Meetings

A shot‐specific safety meeting should be held by the First Assistant Director, Responsible Person, and Stunt Coordinator, as needed, involving all personnel riding in, on, or in close proximity (e.g., stunt personnel or background performers) to the ADS vehicle. This meeting should discuss the following topics below:

  • Shot sequence and route (e.g., stunt action including crossovers/head‐on or near misses, vehicle speed, number and proximity of other vehicles, crew and camera placement, background performers, and property)
  • Walk‐through or dry‐run
  • Environmental conditions (e.g., weather, surface conditions, such as cement, gravel or dirt, topography, such as flat or hilly)
  • Possible changes due to hazards
  • Authority to abort including signals to be used
  • Route conditions (e.g., slope, curved, incline, crown, obstacles, clearances, length and width)
  • Equipment considerations (e.g., rigging, exposed controls, drive systems, air bags, automatic roll bar, and fuel‐cell position)
  • Communication systems (e.g., intercom and designated channel)
  • Signaling system to alert personnel to the ADS impending movement
  • Visibility
  • Special effects
  • Personal protective equipment (e.g., harnesses, seat belts, helmets, and eye protection)
  • Traffic and pedestrian control (e.g., street closures and Intermittent Traffic Control (ITC))
  • Emergency plan (e.g., escape routes and contingency plan)

If for any reason there is a change in the choreography or personnel involved in the shot, a safety meeting must be held with all personnel involved to ensure everyone understands the changes.


During rehearsals and takes:

  • The Responsible Person and/or the ADS Operator has the authority to suspend operation of the ADS vehicle, including the ability to abort
  • Changes should be approved by the Responsible Person and/or ADS Operator
  • The ADS vehicle and equipment should be inspected after each run
  • Do not approach, enter, or exit the ADS without permission from the Responsible Person, First Assistant Director, or ADS Operator
  • Only essential personnel required for the shot should be allowed on or in the ADS vehicle
  • Cast and crew riding on or in the ADS vehicle must be provided a safe and secure place to ride

Related Bulletins

Non-Camera Utility Vehicles

Safety Bulletin


These guidelines address non-camera utility vehicles used for production support, such as ATVs, golf carts, snowmobiles and utility vehicles with small engines and/or electric powered. Vehicle operators must observe all applicable rules and regulations. In order to provide a safe workplace, the following vehicle guidelines have been established regardless of the type of vehicle used:

  1. Horseplay or careless operation is not allowed and will not be tolerated.
  2. Inspect the vehicle before use.
  3. Understand the vehicle controls. If you do not know how to operate the vehicle, ask for instruction. Employers/production have the obligation to ensure that employees are instructed in the safe use and operation of the vehicle.
  4. Operators have the responsibility for the safe transportation of passengers and equipment.
  5. Operators should hold a valid driver’s license and if not held, notify production.
  6. Each passenger must have a seat. No sitting on laps, standing on bumpers or riding on tailgates. Multiple people sitting in a seat designated for one and riding on parts of the vehicle that are not designed for that purpose are strictly prohibited.
  7. Wear a seat belt, if provided.
  8. Keep arms and legs in the vehicle at all times.
  9. If the vehicle is not equipped with a windshield, eye protection is recommended.
  10. A helmet may be necessary in certain situations.
  11. If the vehicle is equipped to carry loads, secure or place them in a manner that will not allow them to shift or fall from the vehicle.
  12. Do not exceed the manufacturers’ load recommendations as overloading can affect braking and control of the vehicle. Loads should be appropriately balanced.
  13. Do not operate the vehicle in a manner that is dangerous to you or to others.
  14. Always use caution around people and animals. Pedestrians always have the right of way.
  15. Exercise caution going around corners. Look for hazards, such as other vehicles and people.
  16. Be familiar with the terrain.
  17. To reduce the risk of rollovers, avoid driving off curbs, from one level to another, and/or turning on inclines.
  18. Drive at speeds appropriate to the surface, road and weather conditions (e.g., driving in dirt or gravel, on a steep incline, on ice, in rain, etc.).
  19. In poor visibility, vehicles should not be operated unless equipped with headlights or sufficient lighting is provided.
  20. Towing should only be performed in a manner specified by the manufacturer.

Using and working safely around non-camera utility vehicles requires the full attention and care of the entire crew. Horseplay and excessive speed are the primary causes of accidents and injuries. Extreme caution should be used when operating these vehicles.

Operators are responsible to follow these safety guidelines, employer guidelines and manufacturer operating manuals for the safe operation of these types of vehicles.

Related Bulletins

Vehicle Restraint Systems

Safety Bulletin


These guidelines provide recommendations on the safe use of restraint systems (e.g., seat belts, harnesses, head and neck restraint systems, etc.) to persons who are either in or on picture vehicles or stunt vehicles.

  • When any vehicle is to be used in a filmed sequence, either off-camera or on camera, such vehicle will be equipped with the appropriate restraint system. These restraint systems must be used at all times by all vehicle operators and passengers.
  • Every effort should be made to install the appropriate safety restraint system for all Vehicles. It is recognized that in exceptional circumstances, such as the case of vintage or antique vehicles, installation of restraint systems may pose additional concerns. These concerns should be addressed as far in advance to filming as is practical.
  • A thorough evaluation of the stunt or driving sequence will be performed and safety concerns should be discussed with all personnel involved. The level of protection should be appropriate to the intended result or other reasonably anticipated consequence of the action.
  • All vehicles, including their additional safety equipment (e.g., harnesses, belts, roll cages, etc.), must undergo thorough safety inspection and testing on a daily basis by qualified experienced personnel. Restraint systems that show signs of damage or fraying shall be immediately removed from service and replaced.
  • Prior to filming, consideration should be given to issues that concern air bags (such as unintentional deployment) and/or other dynamic safety devices.
  • It may be unlawful for any driver or passenger to operate or ride on a vehicle without wearing the proper seat belt while it is being operated on a public highway or road as specified in the applicable vehicle code.

Related Bulletins

Hot Air Balloons – External Loads

Safety Bulletin


Traditional ballooning motion picture activities include air to ground transfers, air to surface vehicles or persons, rappelling, parachuting, long line and many other scenarios where essential personnel may be required outside of the balloon basket or gondola.

Stunt persons and camera operators are often called upon to stand outside of or hang from the basket or gondola, cargo hooks, trapeze devices, bungee cords, cables, ladders, long lines, etc.

Safe completion of these operations require the complete understanding and coordination of all parties involved, i.e. the Aerial Coordinator and/or Pilot in Command, Designated Production Representative, Stunt Persons, Stunt Riggers, Balloon Riggers, Special Effects and Grip Riggers, and essential ground crew.

  1. The Pilot in Command is at all times the final authority over his/her balloon and shall be in command over his/hers flight operations and/or related activities. The Pilot in Command and/or Aerial Coordinator shall have the authority to abort any flight operation in the interest of safety.
  2. Risk Management: Participants will conduct a thorough evaluation of the operations to be conducted and the potential risks to essential personnel, if any.
  3. Personnel Involved: Aerial Coordinators and/or Pilot in Command (Waiver Holder), essential personnel to be flown, stunt persons, balloon rigging, safety and production personnel.
  4. Briefing: Briefings will be conducted by the Aerial Coordinator and/or Pilot in Command (Waiver Holder) specific to the scheduled balloon external load operations and in compliance with the approved Motion Picture Operations Manual, briefing provisions.
  5. Communication: Communication must exist at all times between the Pilot in Command, stunt person(s), camera operator and the essential personnel being flown. This can be accomplished through the use of radios, intercoms or pre-briefed hand signals. Additionally, in the event of lost communications the pilot must be able to maintain visual contact with the stunt person or camera operator. If visual contact cannot be maintained, then a third party who can maintain visual contact will be used. This person may be onboard the balloon, on the ground, or in a chase aircraft.
  6. Attaching Methods and Devices: Belts, harnesses, cables and safety lines will be attached to existing balloon basket or gondola hard points, cargo tie down points, basket or gondola bridles, or other suitable basket or gondola locations. Attaching devices, cables, carabineers, braided nylon, climbing rope, nylon straps, steel clevises, body harnesses, etc. are normally provided by the motion picture special effects and stunt personnel. All of the above devices have load ratings established by the manufacturer in compliance with various industry and government specifications and established Motion Picture Safety Guidelines. Note: A person will never be attached to a load release device.
  7. Weight and Balance: Due to the nature of balloon external loads involving essential persons or equipment, diligent review and compliance with the manufacturer’s maximum weight data is required. This can also be accomplished through consultation with pilots having previous experience with similar balloon configuration or through a flight evaluation.
  8. Pilot Check List:
    1. Balloon
      1. Load bearing capacity and method of securing of all attaching devices related to the external load.
      2. Verification of load bearing capacity and anticipated loads on the basket or gondola attach points to be utilized.
      3. Accomplish Weight and Balance of the external load, including, if necessary, the possible release or departure of the external load.
    2. Personnel
      1. Verify that only essential personnel are onboard the balloon.
      2. Confirm with essential personnel specific duties and responsibilities.
      3. Verify all communications and check audio and/or hand signals.
      4. Review emergency procedures specific to the external load operation with all essential personnel.
      5. Review any potential risk factor, if any, with the essential personnel.
      6. No essential personnel may participate in airplane external load operations unless they have read, understood, and agreed to comply with the conditions of the Waiver Holders, Certificate of Waiver and its special provisions, if any.
  9. Parachutes: If parachutes are to be used, they must be of an FAA approved type and must have been packed and certified within the preceding 120 days. While wearing a parachute the stunt person must not be attached to the balloon. An accidental parachute opening while attached to the balloon could have serious negative effect on the aircraft and parachutist.
  10. Rappelling:
    1. Pilot Qualifications:
      1. Qualifications on the basis of previous experience and safety record, or an actual light, demonstrating the pilot’s knowledge and skill regarding rappelling, and operations.
    2. Rappeller Qualifications:
      1. Rappellers and Spotters (Stunt Persons) will be required to demonstrate their ability during required familiarization flights.
      2. The Waiver Holder and/or Pilot will have the authority to withhold approval of any rappeller or spotter (stunt person).
    3. Rappelling Special Provisions:
      1. The Pilot in Command (Waiver Holder) has the authority to cancel or delete any activity or event, if in their opinion, the safety of persons, or property on the ground or in the air is at risk, or if there is a contravention to the provisions of the Motion Picture Waiver.
    4. Rappelling Equipment:
      1. Rope size appropriate to the rappel (friction) device being used, will be required for all rappel operations.
      2. Rope strength for each specific load, a safety factor of 10:1 between the strength of the weakest piece of attaching equipment and the load to be carried will be utilized.
      3. The absolute minimum tensile strength of any rappel rope will be 5000 lbs., tested to NFPA and/or other regulatory standards.
      4. Ropes will have a rubber jacket or other appropriate edge protection to give protection on basket or gondola edges when using basket or gondola attach points.
      5. Carabineers, steel or aluminum must have a minimum tensile strength of 5000 lbs., be of a locking type and be tested to NFPA and/or other regulatory standards.
      6. Cutting devices, knifes, cable cutters, etc. shall be sufficient to cut any attaching device will be provided to the spotter or safety person(s) for use in an emergency.
      7. Rappel ropes will have a minimum of two (2) attach points per rope with test strengths greater than or equal to 5000 lbs. per rappeller.

Related Bulletins

Hot Air Balloons

Safety Bulletin


The flying accuracy of a Hot Air Balloon may be adversely affected by changing natural conditions such as wind, air density, humidity and time of day. Special precautions should be taken to ensure safety when working in any extreme temperatures or terrain, e.g., mountains and deserts. Manmade conditions such as weight, weight distribution and/or the discharge of pyrotechnics in close proximity can also affect the balloon’s ability to fly.

  1. Any Balloon that is inflated and standing must have a FAA certified pilot, with a commercial rating for lighter than air aircraft. A qualified Pilot shall be utilized to pilot the balloon or dirigible.
  2. There are three (3) certified pilot ratings:
    1. Free Balloon with airborne heaters (usually propane fueled)
    2. Gas filled Balloon (usually helium filled)
    3. Dirigible (usually helium filled)
  3. All Aerial Coordinators and/or Pilots in Command shall possess a current FAA approved Motion Picture and Television Operations Manual and accompanying Waiver. The Waiver is specific to those Federal Aviation Regulations specified in the approved manual.
  4. The Pilot in Command is at all times the final authority over his/her balloon and shall be in command over all flight operations and/or related activities. The Pilot in Command shall have the authority to abort any operation. Abort signals should be specified ahead of time.
  5. Communications: The Aerial Coordinator and/or Pilot in Command will coordinate with the designated production representative and implement a plan for communications between the participants in the air and on the ground. The plan will incorporate the following:
    1. Designated ground contact personnel
    2. Air to ground radios (VHF or FM)
    3. Assignment of discreet frequencies (channels)
    4. Visual signals (flags, specified hand signals, or light) shall be used to halt filming in the event of lost communications or inability to utilize radios (note: flares are not to be used in or around a balloon)
    5. Abort signals, audible and visual to halt filming in the event of unforeseen circumstances or safety hazards
  6. Prepare plot plans and graphics to locate the intended landing area, intended flight paths, and designated emergency landing sites. Indicate the location and types of special effects.
  7. MEETING for the production staff for those persons necessary for filming, including emergency, safety and security personnel. Note: A subsequent briefing/SAFETY MEETING may also be required as necessary for an intended action. Both meetings shall include the following:
    1. Pertinent items and the special provisions of the Aerial Coordinator and/or Pilot in Command along with any additional provisions issued by the local FAA Flight Standards District Office
    2. Possible risk to personnel that are involved
    3. Safeguards to personnel and equipment
    4. Communications
    5. Emergency procedures
    6. Location of boundaries
    7. Local governmental limitations or restrictions (if any)
  8. The Aerial Coordinator and/or Pilot in Command shall designate one person as the Ground safety contact with no other responsibilities. The Balloon Crew Chief may be designated as the ground safety contact around the balloon, if qualified.
  9. A preplanned stunt and/or special effect sequence, if any, will not be changed in any way once the Balloon has been launched. If there is a question as to safety of any aerial filming sequence involving low, over-the-camera shots, a briefing/safety meeting shall be held between the Aerial Coordinator and/or Pilot in Command and concerned persons as to whether the use of a locked-off camera is necessary.
  10. Allow only personnel essential to the filming of the balloon to be in the area. All other personnel shall remain at least 50 feet away from the balloon.
  11. No smoking is allowed within 100 feet of the balloon or any of its components, which includes the propane storage area.
  12. There shall be a designated and approved area for the storage of propane fuel tanks (usually with or at the support vehicle location).
  13. Check on predicted weather conditions in the areas of the launch site, flight paths, and landing site. Provide as much advance notice as possible to the Aerial Coordinator and/or Pilot in Command regarding any weather problems such as high winds, rain or lightning. Sudden changes in any of the above may require that the flight be delayed or canceled.
  14. Balloon support equipment is very important as parts are easily damaged while on the ground. Do not step on any part of the balloon or tether ropes.
  15. Keep all sharp objects, heat sources or open flames and non-essential equipment at least 100 feet from the balloon.
  16. If a foreign object(s) falls into, on or against any part of the Balloon or rigging, report it immediately to the Pilot in Command and/or Aerial Coordinator.
  17. A chase vehicle shall be assigned with no other duty than to support the balloon crew.
  18. Before any stunt or special effects sequence is to be performed, all persons involved shall be thoroughly briefed as to any potential hazards and safety questions prior to the filming.
  19. If an emergency occurs, do not touch any part of the balloon. A designated balloon ground crew member will take charge and coordinate rescue operations. Immediately call 911 or the designated emergency number for the area.
  20. If you are unsure about any part of the balloon operation, ask the Pilot in Command and/or Aerial Coordinator.
  21. The production company must notify all cast and crew members and the front of the studio call sheet shall contain a statement to the effect that: ”An aircraft is being used and will be flown in close proximity to crew and equipment. Anyone objecting will notify the production manager or 1st AD prior to any filming.”

Related Bulletins


Safety Bulletin


These guidelines are recommendations for safely engaging in rail work, i.e., working onboard trains, in railroad yards, subways and elevated systems, or in the vicinity of railroad equipment.

Railroads are private property requiring the railroad’s authorization to enter. Once authorization is given, everyone on scene must follow the railroad’s safety procedures to reduce hazards.

There are strict rules governing rail work. These rules must be communicated to and followed by all cast and crew. Check with the Authority Having Jurisdiction (AHJ) and with the owner/operator for local regulations, specific guidelines, and required training. Additionally, each railroad property or transportation agency may have its own rules and training requirements. In many cases, everyone must receive training.


Prior to starting rail work, the Production, in conjunction with the railroad representative, will conduct a safety meeting with all involved personnel to acquaint cast and crew members with possible workplace risks.

Consult with the appropriate Department Heads to determine if equipment, such as lighting, grip equipment, props, set dressing, electric generators or other equipment will be used. When using these items, ensure that they are properly secured and their use has been authorized by the railroad representative.

Plan proper ventilation and exhaust when using electric generators. Electrical bonding may be necessary.

Ensure conditions and weight loads of the work area and adjacent roads used for camera cars, camera cranes, horses, etc. are adequate for the intended work.


  1. Always follow the instructions of the designated railroad representative, and any written work or safety rules distributed by production.
  2. Remain alert and aware of your surroundings at all times. Locomotives, railroad cars and other equipment may move without warning on any track in either direction. Never assume a train will be traveling in a particular or “normal” direction on any track.
  3. If working around electrified train equipment, be aware of any “third rails” or overhead lines present in the area. A third rail is an electrified line that presents an immediate life threatening hazard. Never approach, step on or touch an energized third rail. For more detailed information see “Working on or Around Electrified Trains or Systems” below.
  4. ANSI compliant high visibility vests are to be worn at all times. For specific information on vests please refer to AMPTP Safety Bulletin #21, Guidelines for Appropriate Clothing and Personal Protective Equipment.
  5. Ankle-supported, reinforced-toe, work boots/shoes are recommended. Sandals, sneakers, and running shoes should not be worn.
  6. Ask the designated railroad representative where to store production equipment. Extra care should be taken when storing hazardous or flammable materials.
  7. DO NOT RELY ON OTHERS TO WARN YOU of approaching locomotives, rail cars or other equipment. Even if personnel have been assigned to provide warning, stay alert. You may not hear or see the warning.
  8. When whistle or flag signals are to be used to communicate, everyone must be familiar with their meaning. The railroad representative or 1st AD shall educate cast and crew as to the meaning of these signals prior to commencement of work.
  9. Listen for the sound of approaching locomotives or rail cars, as well as audible signals, such as bells or whistles. Trains typically use such signaling devices before moving, but do not assume that such warnings will be sounded.
  10. Be aware that the train is significantly wider than the track’s width. 15 feet from either side of the tracks is considered a safe distance. Closer distances need to be approved by the designated railroad representative.
  11. Always face moving trains as they pass.
  12. Never sit, walk or stand on the rails, ties, switch gear, guardrails or other parts of the track or structure. Be aware that tracks can move.
  13. Before crossing tracks look backwards and at parallel tracks. Once determined to be clear, cross immediately.
  14. Do not place any objects on the rails, switches, guardrails or other parts of the track structure. If the performance of any of these activities is required for production purposes, specific permission must be obtained from the designated railroad representative and additional safety precautions may be required.
  15. Whenever you are walking, always face in the direction in which you are proceeding. Be aware of possible trip hazards and debris. If it is necessary to turn your head or look backward, stop and look before proceeding.
  16. When using radios/cell phones or referring to paperwork, step away from the tracks, stop walking, and stand still until you are finished.
  17. Do not operate switches or other railroad equipment.
  18. Take extra precautions if rain, snow or ice is present. Snow may conceal trip hazards. Avoid walking or working under icicles. Walkways, platforms, steps, etc., should be clear of ice and snow.


  1. Riding on equipment should be restricted to essential personnel.
  2. Never attempt to get on or off moving equipment, unless authorized by the designated railroad representative.
  3. Only authorized personnel may ride on the side of a locomotive or rail car.
  4. Remain alert for conditions that can cause abrupt changes in speed, e.g., train braking, changes in grade, wet or icy tracks, and entering or leaving a rail yard or train station.
  5. Be alert for conditions that can cause slack action (e.g. train brake, change in grade or change in speed). Protect yourself by remaining seated and with both feet on the ground. If duties require you to stand, keep your feet shoulder width apart, one foot slightly ahead of the other, with hands braced on the wall or grab bar.


  1. Remain alert for the unexpected movement of equipment.
  2. Observe the condition of equipment before using it. Look for sharp edges or other potential hazards including loose, bent or missing stirrups, ladder rungs and brake platforms.
  3. Face equipment as you ascend or descend equipment. Look for obstructions before ascending or descending.
  4. Dismount or mount equipment only when it is stopped, unless authorized by the designated railroad representative.
  5. When moving from one side to the other of a stopped train, you may safely cross in front of the first locomotive or behind the final car. Crossing mid-train may only be done on locomotives or rail cars that are equipped with handrails and end platforms. Never cross the tracks between or under cars, unless authorized.
  6. Do not move from one rail car to another rail car while the train is in motion, unless authorized by the designated railroad representative.
  7. Cross between passenger cars by holding on to railings and grab bars. Remain aware of walking surface conditions.
  8. Blue Flag Rules are special rules to inhibit train movement. These rules protect personnel working on a car, train or track. Anyone can request a “Blue Flag” to be set by the designated railroad representative. Once the blue flag is set, the train cannot move for any reason until the blue flag is removed.


  1. Transit systems and trains are commonly powered by electricity. The most common methods of electric power come in the form of electrified “third rails” or overhead catenary lines.
  2. Voltages can range from 600-V or 750-V for electric third rail systems to over 14,000-V for overhead catenary systems.
  3. Never touch an electric third rail or any supporting electrical equipment. Always be aware of electric third rails and always assume they are energized until verified otherwise.
  4. A safe clearance distance as determined by the rail system operator and approved by the designated railroad representative must be maintained when working in the vicinity of an electric third rail. If it is absolutely necessary to work within the established safe distance to the third rail and the possibility exists that personnel or equipment may contact the rail, appropriate measures as determined by the designated railroad representative must be implemented to eliminate the electrical hazard. Appropriate measures may include methods such as, de-energizing, locking-out, and grounding the third rail; covering the third rail with rubber mats approved by the rail system operator; etc. All third rail protective measures should be performed by approved railroad personnel.
  5. Always assume that an overhead catenary line is energized until verified otherwise. ONLY RAILROAD OR ELECTRIC COMPANY PERSONNEL MAY DE-ENERGIZE AND VERIFY CATENARY LINES.
  6. When overhead catenary lines cannot be de-energized, a clearance distance minimum of 10-feet must be maintained at all times, unless approved by the designated railroad representative. Be mindful of any booms, ladders, sticks, or production equipment that could inadvertently make contact with the overhead lines.
  7. Never touch any train equipment that is attached to the overhead catenary line. The “pantograph” extends from the train to the overhead line. This piece of equipment should always be considered live as it carries current. Never touch the pantograph, even if it is in the retracted position.


  1. Subways and elevated trains present unique hazards and caution must be taken at all times when working within tunnels and on elevated tracks.
  2. Never enter a subway tunnel, elevated track, or other prohibited area, without authorization and clearance from the designated railroad representatives. Do not touch any equipment within the tunnels or elevated tracks as they may present numerous hazards, such as electricity.
  3. Be aware of exit and escape routes as well as your surroundings. Listen for the sounds of approaching trains. Always face and watch approaching trains on adjacent tracks.
  4. Know the location of the electric third rail and/or overhead catenary lines. Be aware that catenary lines in tunnels may be much lower than on above- ground systems. In this case, use caution when carrying equipment.
  5. Be mindful of insects and animals, including rodents, which are commonly present in subway tunnels.
  6. When working on elevated structures, determine if guardrails or other appropriate fall protection systems are needed.


Some transit systems, (e.g., airport and amusement park people movers) are automated, meaning that they do not rely on onboard operators or engineers. Automated systems present unique hazards as there is usually no person on board to warn or stop the train if someone or something is on the track.

NEVER enter into an automated system when it is operational. If the production requires the filming of an automated system, a safety plan must be developed with the system owner/operator to ensure safety of all parties.

Related Bulletins


Safety Bulletin


  1. The motorcycle operator should hold a current, valid motorcycle operator’s license. The operator should be familiar with the techniques for safely performing the requirements of the sequence to be photographed, taking into consideration the terrain, driving surface and other conditions.
  2. Extreme caution in the use of motorcycles should be exercised at all times both by the operator and by persons in the vicinity. No persons should be in the vicinity unless their assignment requires them to be there.
  3. Protective clothing and equipment such as a helmet, gloves, etc., should be worn at all times, the only exception being scene requirements while actually being photographed. In such situations, protective clothing should be worn under the costume if possible.
  4. Motorcycles, ramps and other equipment shall be examined prior to use to determine if they are in proper operating condition.
  5. The sequence to be photographed, including ramps, jumps, lay-downs, endos, and other potential hazards, should be clearly set forth and discussed by all persons who are immediately involved.
  6. All picture motorcycles shall be equipped with a grounded cut-off switch (deadman switch). When a stunt is to be performed, this switch shall be attached to the handlebars and the wrist of the operator in such manner that the engine shuts off when the rider separates from the motorcycle.
  7. A person qualified under the circumstances to administer medical assistance on an emergency basis shall be present or readily available at all rehearsals and all performances during which planned potentially hazardous motorcycle riding and motorcycle stunts are performed.
  8. Picture motorcycles are not to be used for transportation. No one other than the designated operator should be permitted to operate or ride on a motorcycle unless the rider is required in the sequence to be photographed.

Related Bulletins

Boating and Watercraft

Safety Bulletin


These guidelines are intended to provide recommendations for safety on and around boats and other watercraft. Watercrafts may include, but are not limited to: ships, boats, personal watercraft and other floating vessels.


  1. The production should designate a responsible person to be in charge of all production watercraft. The production also should determine whether the scope, action, or complexity of any boating sequence requires a Marine Coordinator.
  2. The Marine Coordinator or responsible person shall pre-inspect the proposed water routes or paths of travel for underwater obstructions, i.e. cables, reefs rocks, trees and pilings.
  3. Each boat operator should have an effective means of communication.
  4. To the extent practicable, cast and crew should be informed in advance that they will be working on or around watercraft. Cast and crew who cannot work in this environment should advise production management and/or their Department Head.
  5. Cast or crew members susceptible to sea sickness should consult their physician in advance and should advise the set medic.
  6. The responsible person or Marine Coordinator will establish a means by which to monitor and communicate weather and water conditions.
  7. The production should be aware that bodies of water can have multiple authorities having jurisdiction with specific regulations related to watercraft activities. The production should identify these laws and regulations.
  8. The production will establish work procedures to be followed while working on or around watercraft, including procedures for abandoning the watercraft; responding to fire, collision, and general alarms; and rescuing personnel. In establishing these procedures, the production should consider the manufacturer’s operating and safety guidelines, and the scope, action, and complexity of the planned boating sequences.
  9. The responsible person or Marine Coordinator will determine who will be assigned the responsibility for conducting a head count. A head count should be conducted when the amount of cast and crew, the size and design of the vessel, the intended operations aboard the vessel, or the environmental conditions make an immediate visual assessment of cast and crew impractical.
  10. Each watercraft shall be equipped with all United States Coast Guard required safety equipment for the vessel type and size, including approved Personal Floatation Devices (PFD) for each person aboard the watercraft.
  11. The responsible person or Marine Coordinator shall check the number, rating, and condition of all PFDs and, if required, rescue devices and safety equipment needed on board and dockside.
  12. The responsible person or Marine Coordinator should determine the occupancy and weight limits for each watercraft. Only essential personnel and equipment should be on board.
  13. The responsible person or Marine Coordinator will approve how equipment will be rigged and secured to the watercraft.
  14. All shore power and portably supplied AC power shall be protected by Ground Fault Circuit Interrupters (“GFCI”).
  15. The watercraft owner/operator should pre-approve generator use. Generators need to be secured, and exhaust properly vented. Generators also must be equipped with a charged and readily accessible fire extinguisher.
  16. The responsible person or Marine Coordinator needs to approve all areas where fuel is stored and used.

Prior to Boarding

  1. Safety Meetings – The First Assistant Director (1st A.D.), along with the responsible person or Marine Coordinator, shall conduct a safety meeting with all cast and crew. Safety meeting topics may include, but are not limited to: work procedures; emergency procedures; and known or potential hazards.
  2. All persons should wear closed-toe, non-skid, rubber-soled shoes when working on watercraft.
  3. Avoid clothing, jewelry or loose items that can get caught in machinery or rigging, or impede watercraft transfers.
  4. Wear clothing appropriate to the anticipated environmental conditions, such as a brimmed hat, sunglasses, and long-sleeved shirt. Apply and reapply sunblock as needed.
  5. A head count shall be taken when applicable, the Marine Coordinator or his/her designee shall conduct a head count as cast and crew board the vessel. A similar head count shall be conducted upon disembarking.


  1. Stand clear of the watercraft and away from the dock edge during docking procedures. Do not attempt to board until the watercraft is secured to the dock and a member of the watercraft crew gives instructions and permission to board.
  2. Never place arms, legs or any other part of the body between the watercraft and dock, between two watercrafts, or between the lines used to secure watercrafts.
  3. When boarding, only the designated boarding area or device shall be used. Do not step over rails, gunwales (side of boat), or lifelines without permission.
  4. Do not block access to the watercraft’s rigging, ladders, or emergency-access hatches. Stow gear and equipment in pre-approved areas only.

Once on Board

  1. When underway or anchored or docked in choppy water, keep one hand free at all times to hold onto the watercraft or railing.
  2. PFDs and other floatation devices must be available for all cast/crew members. If you are instructed to put on a PFD, do so and be sure it is properly secured.
  3. Only personnel designated by the responsible person or Marine Coordinator should operate the watercraft’s machinery, valves, switches, and other equipment.
  4. No one should straddle the gunwale or sit with their legs dangling over the side of the watercraft, unless it is required for production or vehicle operation and the necessary safety precautions are in place.
  5. Always ensure an emergency escape route is available, including while positioning and securing gear and equipment.
  6. Do not throw any waste overboard.
  7. The private quarters, engine room, and the wheelhouse/bridge are off limits to the cast and crew, unless approved.
  8. Smoking and open flames are not allowed, unless specifically required for a scene and necessary safety precautions are in place.
  9. Marine toilets may not be as efficient as those on land. Do not flush objects other than approved toilet tissue.
  10. Cast and crew should be aware of sudden and drastic movement from moving parts, i.e. overhead booms, winches, additional rigging lines, etc., which may hit and injure an unsuspecting person.
  11. Performers requested to operate watercraft on-camera should be provided appropriate training. When a performer is operating the watercraft, emergency procedures to reestablish operational control of the on-camera watercraft should be in place.

Sea Sickness

  1. If you feel nauseous, do not go below the deck. Instead, stay on deck in the fresh air, look at the horizon line, and contact the set medic immediately.
  2. Eat soda crackers or plain bread and drink soda water when sea-sickness symptoms are present.
  3. Cast and crew who have taken sea sickness medicine should promptly advise the set medic.

Boat-to-Boat Transfers

  1. Do not attempt to transfer until watercraft personnel have designated the transfer points and have given the command to transfer.
  2. Stand clear of the transfer-craft, tie-up area until the transfer craft is secured to the watercraft.
  3. Prior to transferring to another watercraft, allow watercraft personnel to assist in the transfer of gear and equipment. Use two hands to steady yourself when transferring to the other watercraft.

Boat-to-Beach Transfers

  1. Because proper timing is essential for the watercraft operator to safely enter and exit from a beach, the watercraft operator will advise the cast and crew on boat- to-beach transfer procedures.

When at Anchor or at Sea

  1. If you see someone fall into the water, yell, “MAN OVERBOARD,” as loudly as possible and point in the direction of that person. DO NOT take your eyes off that person. Continue pointing until watercraft personnel take over.
  2. Stay out of the water, unless you are part of a planned scene.

Related Bulletins

Gasoline Operated Equipment

Safety Bulletin


Internal combustion engine driven equipment shall be operated inside of buildings or enclosed structures only when such operation does not result in harmful exposure to concentrations of dangerous gas or fumes in excess of threshold limit values except as permitted by Cal/OSHA General Industry Safety Orders Sec. 5146.

Related Bulletins