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Safety Matters: Protecting Film and Production Equipment from Theft and Damage


Protection from Theft and Loss

After spending days or weeks filming your production, the last thing you want to deal with is the loss or damage of your work or equipment. The following are a few tips for preventing the loss of your equipment:

  • If you cannot see the equipment or you are more than 10 feet away from it, someone could steal it very easily. Be especially cautious in foreign locations or airports.
  • When filming with a digital camera, always create backup files of your production in case you lose the original.
  • If your production is stored electronically, be sure that access to it is password-protected or encrypted, which will protect it in the event of a data breach. High-profile productions are especially targeted for theft and should be protected.
  • Handle film very carefully. Hitting it on or against another object can cause damage.
  • Think of film as cash, and do not let it out of your sight. Once it is gone, it cannot be replaced.

Protecting Cameras from the Elements

Shooting in freezing temperatures or stifling humidity can take a toll on expensive digital equipment. Be sure your camera will be protected in any type of weather by following these recommendations.

  • Cameras should be kept in a bag that keeps water out. Use a rain cover or dry bag as a camera bag.
  • In cold temperatures, be sure to bring extra batteries since they tend to lose power more quickly in below-freezing temperatures.
  • In cold temperatures, plastic can become brittle. Be aware of this if you open the battery compartment on your camera while filming in below-freezing temperatures.
  • In warm temperatures, put the camera and other gear in the shade when it’s not in use. Never leave it in a vehicle or in direct sunlight. If no shade is available, place a light-colored towel over it. Keep your camera in an airtight bag if you will be changing from environmental extremes, such as a hot, humid environment to a colder one. This will keep fog from collecting on the camera and fungus from eventually forming on the camera and lens.
  • If filming near a body of water, be aware of waves or splashing. Water can easily damage the camera or make the camera slippery and cause you to drop it.

Safety While Traveling

Filming your production can take you to some amazing places around the world. However, traveling to and from your destination adds a new set of risks for the film and equipment you need to take with you. Don’t let your wanderlust be crushed by damaged or stolen equipment.

  • When traveling by airplane, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) advises passengers to pack film in carry-on bags. Inform a TSA officer of your equipment so it is inspected manually rather than put through the X-ray, which could damage the film.
  • When traveling, the TSA recommends putting oversized electronics such as large cameras and laptops in your checked baggage, if possible. These items will not be damaged by X-rays, and you can be sure to keep them in your possession while traveling.
  • Put the rest of your filming gear (e.g., tripods, camera stands and lights) into hard cases when you check them at the airport. Be prepared to pay an overweight fee if the weight added by your equipment causes your bag to exceed the weight limit.

This safety matters flyer is for general informational purposes only, and is not intended as medical or legal advice. © 2015, 2019 Zywave, Inc. All rights reserved.


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