These guidelines are intended to provide recommendations on the safe use of stunt-related systems into which performers or objects fall.
The following shall be taken into consideration when choosing a system:
The type of stunt to be performed.
The height of the jump/fall.
The weight that will impact the device or system.
The number and sequence of falling performers or objects.
The area where the device or system will be placed.
Special effects, wardrobe, props or any other item that may affect the stunt.
Any other unusual conditions.
If the stunt is planned to take place at night, suitable lighting must be provided. Care must be taken to ensure that the performer(s) can adequately see the intended target and to ensure the set or safety lighting does not obscure the performers’ vision.
The Stunt Coordinator should assess the fall area for cables, wiring, or building infrastructure, (i.e., fire escapes, landings, access ladders) that could impede the fall path. The Stunt Coordinator should inspect the condition and structural integrity of the device or system. All devices and systems should be of good quality and appropriate for the task.
The Stunt Coordinator should inspect the fall area prior to and during the stunt.
The Performer and Stunt Coordinator will inspect the device or system prior to each use.
Inspections should include:
Stitching, seams and vents
Power Source: Adequate power supply from an independent source, appropriate cable size and secured connections.
Condition – dry, structural integrity for the application, empty
Assembled and oriented per the Stunt Coordinator’s instructions.
Other Devices or Systems
Condition of integral components of any device or system used.
Qualified personnel should set up each device or system.
Use a sufficient number of spotters, designated by the Stunt Coordinator, around each device or system to ensure safety.
The duties for ground-based spotters should include, but are not limited to the following:
Protecting performers, through the use of individual crash pads, peripheral devices or other equipment, in case the performers become misaligned during the fall.
Observing any unusual changes in atmospheric conditions, particularly wind and effects-related debris, which may affect the performer’s fall.
Lifting and moving the device or system should the performer become misaligned during the fall.
Continuously inspecting all power operated equipment.
Ensuring no unnecessary personnel or equipment are within the fall area.
Being aware of location peculiarities that may affect the performer’s fall.
Implement additional pre-planning if two performers are to use the same device or system at the same time. For example, it may be problematic when the two performers’ weights are significantly different when using an air bag.
Prior to the stunt and after any change or modifications to the stunt sequence, the First Assistant Director shall conduct a safety meeting at the site with all personnel involved.
Conduct a walk-through or dry run of the stunt sequence with all appropriate personnel on the day of the stunt. Assure that all have a clear understanding of the intended action and their duties.
Communicate to all appropriate personnel the method and meaning of abort signals. Discuss primary and/or back-up signals (e.g., radios and hand signals).
Allow only safety personnel and personnel necessary for assisting, directing, filming or performing the stunt in the stunt area.
The performer(s) should have the necessary experience and knowledge to perform the particular stunt sequence.
Fall protection for all other personnel working at height is required.
The following information pertains only to Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) regulated activities. It does not pertain to non-FAA activities such as “Base Jumping” or “Parasailing.”
This bulletin identifies safety guidelines that should be considered when filming parachuting or skydiving sequences. In all parachuting and skydiving jumps, personnel must follow all federal, state, and local rules, laws, and regulations pertaining to parachuting and skydiving. Should any of the following guidelines conflict with federal, state, or local rules, laws, or regulations, personnel must follow the rules, laws, or regulations.
All productions that require a parachutist or skydiver must include the participation of a Parachuting Coordinator, who possesses a United States Parachute Association (USPA) Professional Exhibition Rating. Otherwise, the Parachuting Coordinator must provide evidence of the necessary experience, knowledge, and skill required to attain a USPA Professional Exhibition Rating before rendering services on a production.
The Parachuting Coordinator is responsible for all parachuting and skydiving activities. The Parachuting Coordinator should be consulted if there are any “unusual” activities or hazards related to the filming of the parachuting or skydiving sequence. Unusual jumps include those involving non-standard landing areas, wardrobe, prosthetics, wigs, lenses, props, helmet cameras, or other equipment which is not typically worn by a parachutist or skydiver. The circumstances surrounding any unusual jump should be presented to the Parachuting Coordinator in sufficient time before any jump so that he or she may evaluate the effects, if any, on the execution of the jump.
The Parachuting Coordinator and the parachutist performing the jump should agree that in planning the jump they are satisfied that they have addressed all possible safety issues. They should articulate to the productions designated representative how they have reached that conclusion.
The jumper should have sufficient experience with the type of canopy that he or she will use.
The Parachuting Coordinator and/or each individual parachutist must have authority over his or her jump, including the authority to abort a jump. Abort signals should be specified before starting the jump.
The Parachuting Coordinator should designate a qualified person as a Ground Safety Contact, who should not have other responsibilities during the filming of the sequence that could interfere with his or her duties as the Ground Safety Contact.
The Parachuting Coordinator, together with the Ground Safety Contact and any other designated production representative, should implement a plan for communications between the participants in the air and on the ground. This plan should incorporate the following equipment and actions to the fullest extent possible:
Air to ground radios (VHF or FM) and any other effective means of communication.
Assignment of discreet radio frequencies (channels).
Visual signals (e.g., flags, specified hand signals, panels, lights or flares) to be used to, among other things, halt filming in the event of lost communications or inability to utilize radios.
Abort signals (audible or visual) to be used to halt filming in the event of unforeseen circumstances or safety hazards.
A pre-planned stunt sequence involving parachuting or skydiving should not be changed without the authorization of the Parachuting Coordinator. If the parachuting sequence involves special effects, the Special Effects Coordinator should also be consulted and both should agree on the proposed change(s). No changes should be made to a pre-planned stunt sequence once the stunt performers have departed the briefing area.
Landings in public places must be restricted from the public. The Parachuting Coordinator should determine whether security personnel are necessary to exclude non-essential crew and non-participating spectators from the landing area.
All flights and jumps must be conducted in accordance with Federal Aviation Regulations, Part 105, except variances that are outlined in a current FAA approved Motion Picture & Television Operations Manual and accompanying Waiver.
The Parachuting Coordinator should determine whether the visibility, cloud ceiling height, and velocity of wind (as they apply to the particular situation) are safe for a jump and should take into consideration the landing area size, canopy type, number of jumpers and the planned stunt. In all circumstances, FAA rules regarding visibility and cloud clearance must be followed.
Before each jump is performed, the Parachuting Coordinator should brief all persons involved with the on-site production and filming of the jump. He or she may include a “walk-thru,” simulation or “dry run” on the ground.
The Parachuting Coordinator and jumpers should have the opportunity to inspect all landing sites before the jump during daylight hours, and again at night if a night landing is required. Jumps near or into potentially hazardous landing areas, (water, power lines, etc.) as determined by the Parachuting Coordinator, should be considered carefully.
Before jump sequences, the Parachuting Coordinator or the designated production representative will conduct a SAFETY MEETING for the production staff and those persons necessary for filming, including emergency, safety and security personnel. Additional SAFETY MEETINGS may be required as necessary for intended action sequences or scenes. SAFETY MEETINGS may include discussion of the following:
Pertinent jumping sequence, timing, landing zone, special considerations of the Parachuting Coordinator, or aerial coordinator, such as review of the Motion Picture and Television Operations Manual and accompanying Waiver, or any mandates by the local FAA Flight Standards District Office.
Possible risk to personnel who are involved.
Safeguards to personnel and equipment.
Communication plan, including agreed upon visual and abort signals.
Location of boundaries.
Local governmental limitations or restrictions, if any.
All equipment, props, wardrobe, etc., must be made available to the Parachuting Coordinator and the parachutist involved in the jump for evaluation before the jump. The Parachuting Coordinator should be consulted prior to establishing placement of any equipment, props, wardrobe, etc., that will be used in the jump. When necessary, this equipment, props, wardrobe, must be made available for test jumping or other practice.
The Parachuting Coordinator may postpone or cancel the jump if at any time the safety of persons or property on the ground or in the air is in jeopardy, or if there is a contravention of the terms or conditions of any FAA Letter of Authorization, or any other applicable law, rule or regulation.
A jumper may jump only with a main parachute packed by a “certificated parachute rigger,” or the jumper.
All operations involving aircraft must conform to FAA regulations. All operations involving aircraft should also consider the Safety Bulletins on Helicopters, Fixed-Wing Aircraft, and Hot Air Balloons.
All pilots involved in parachuting or skydiving sequences must be familiar and have experience with the dropping of jumpers. They should also be familiar with flights with the flight door removed, Federal Aviation Regulations, Part 105, and other applicable federal, state, and local laws, rules, and regulations. Before any jump, the pilot should know all ground signals and the agreed upon abort signal. He or she should be involved with rehearsals of aircraft exits, and should be familiar with any Letters of Authorization or waivers applicable to the jump. He or she should analyze the weight and balance of the aircraft with jumpers in exit position.
Adequate watercraft and flotation gear must be available when the possibility of a water landing exists. Jumpers should consider wearing an approved self-inflating personal flotation device when a jump involves the possibility of a water landing.
If the jump includes an intentional water landing, there should be one (1) boat per jumper with each containing an operator and safety personnel familiar with parachutes and water retrievals. The boat should be in the water with the engine running in sufficient time before jumpers exit the aircraft. Personal watercrafts are not recommended for retrieving jumpers with wet parachutes. All jumpers must wear an approved self-inflating personal flotation device when a jump involves a water landing.
If the parachuting sequence involves a free-fall cinematographer, he or she should consult with the Parachuting Coordinator and both should agree on the “Plan of Activities”. Any free-fall cinematographer should be experienced with the type of camera equipment which will be used in the filming of the jump.
The following recommendations and guidelines are intended to give general guidance on the preparation, safe set-up, and performance of stunt sequences.
A stunt coordinator and/or qualified individual is in charge of all aspects of the physical stunt, including script review, planning, site selection, preparation, testing, rehearsal, modification and recommendation of the qualified personnel and equipment to be utilized to perform the stunt.
When a Producer requires a performer to perform a scripted or non-scripted stunt or stunt related activity, an individual qualified by training and/or experience in planning, setting up and/or performance of the type of stunt involved shall be engaged and present on the set. No performer without the requisite training and/or experience shall be required to perform a stunt or stunt related activity without an opportunity for prior consultation by the performer with such qualified individual.
The performer must consent to participation in the stunt prior to its performance.
No individual should be required to work with an animal that a reasonable person would regard as dangerous in the circumstances unless an animal handler or trainer qualified by training and/or experience is present.
The qualified licensed special effects person who will be rigging and firing an explosive charge (including squibs) on a performer shall be allowed prior consultation with the stunt coordinator and performer.
The Producer or Producer’s representatives on the set or location should comply with requests and requirements for safety equipment that is generally accepted in the industry for the safe and proper performance with stunts.
Equipment provided by the Producer (for example, automobiles, motorcycles, or wagons) shall be in suitable repair for the safe and proper performance of the stunt and presented in time to review such equipment prior to the execution of the stunt (Cal-OSHA, Title 8 requirement).
Advance notice is to be given to stunt personnel in order to plan a safe stunt. If changes are made to these plans, the Producer is to provide sufficient time to safely accommodate the changes.
An on-site safety meeting, including all participants and others involved, must precede the performance of all stunts. This meeting should include a “walk- through” or “dry-run” with the stunt coordinator and/or effects people. An understanding of the intended action, possible deviations, and authority to abort should be made clear. Before rolling cameras, should any substantive change become necessary, the First Assistant Director will again call all persons involved in the stunt to another meeting to confirm everyone’s understanding and agreement to said change(s).
Wardrobe, prosthetics, wigs, lenses and/or other related equipment required to be worn by the stunt individuals should be presented in sufficient time for evaluation and to determine if such items will impact the execution of the stunt or stunt sequence. Final safety approval rests with the stunt coordinator and/or qualified individual.
The stunt coordinator and/or qualified individual shall determine whether safety requires the exclusion of non-essential crew from the stunt area. Perimeter control should be established and maintained. Traffic control procedures shall be reviewed, and special attention should be paid to driving sequences where unauthorized personnel could enter the area. The stunt coordinator and/or qualified individual should be involved in safe placement of cameras, camera operators and all essential crew.
Communications: The stunt coordinator and/or qualified individual will coordinate with the designated production representative and implement a plan for communications between the participants. The chosen methods of communication should reflect the conditions and circumstances at the scene.
Note: It is recognized that there can be unforeseen or unique situations which might require on-site judgment differing from these guidelines. Such judgment should be made in the interests of the safety of cast and crew.