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Old January 22nd, 2017, 11:56 PM   #1
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A reminder about safety on set

Man shot dead on Brisbane movie set

This one hits close to home for me; it occurred in a venue I've frequented and during the filming for a band I've loved for a decade. As the news unfolds I'm anxiously waiting and praying that none of the local crew and actors I've worked with over the years are involved.

NEVER, EVER take any chances when it comes to guns on set, whether they be real or fake, and whether you are using live ammunition or blanks. No project and no scene is worth putting lives at risk for.
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Old January 23rd, 2017, 05:23 AM   #2
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Fatal gun safety fail at a music video shoot

This just happened today in Brisbane when actors with prop guns (of the non-rubbery type) were filming a sequence for a hip hop music video. One of them is now dead and police are investigating.

Here is the lead story on the news tonight:


From the police statement on the incident:

Quote:
Sudden death, Brisbane City
by QPS Media

Detectives are investigating the sudden death of a man during film production in Brisbane City this afternoon.

The incident occurred at a licensed premises on Eagle Lane just before 2pm.

Initial information indicates a music video scene was being filmed involving actors using firearms.

During the incident, a man in his 20s sustained a wound to his chest and was pronounced deceased at the scene.

Investigations are ongoing.
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Old January 23rd, 2017, 05:45 AM   #3
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Re: A reminder about safety on set

Only just noticed your post here. I have a news story and the related Qld Police media release content here:

DVINFO: http://www.dvinfo.net/forum/open-dv-...deo-shoot.html

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Old January 23rd, 2017, 07:29 AM   #4
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Re: Fatal gun safety fail at a music video shoot

More on this:

Quote:
The casting note called for tough men with a gangster look, a drug dealer with an exotic dancer for a girlfriend and a tired, overworked businessman.

Cameras were rolling on the latest music video for one of Australian hip-hop's most popular acts, Bliss n Eso, when it all went horribly wrong.

Johann Ofner, a 28-year-old Gold Coast stuntman whose tattoos and physically imposing body had him fitting the tough-looking bill perfectly, was shot dead in underground Brisbane bar Brooklyn Standard as several guns were fired.

Shocked friends and the wider Queensland acting community were left reeling from the shock something like this could happen.
Full article at: Bliss n Eso music video shooting: Stuntman Johann Ofner dead
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Old January 24th, 2017, 02:12 AM   #5
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Re: Fatal gun safety fail at a music video shoot

Update from Queensland Police on the shooting.

Quote:
Update: Sudden death, Brisbane City
by QPS Media

An Investigation Centre as part of Operation Papa Pandero has been established as enquiries into the death of a man in Brisbane City yesterday continue.

Preliminary information suggests that around 2pm, a music video for the Australian band Bliss n Eso was being filmed at a licensed premises on Eagle Lane.

The production was utilising professional stunt performers using firearms.

During the incident, a 28-year-old Burleigh Waters man sustained a wound to his chest and was pronounced deceased at the scene.

Detectives have today continued to examine the crime scene and will also continue to review closed-circuit television footage, footage taken during the production and take further witness statements.

A ballistics test is also being conducted as is as a post-mortem examination, however these results may take some time to be returned to police.

Police are working with Workplace Health and Safety as well as the Coroner’s office and a report will be prepared in due course.
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Old January 24th, 2017, 10:25 PM   #6
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Re: Fatal gun safety fail at a music video shoot

(probably the last follow-up post on this)

Entertainment industry in shock after death of stuntman


(Apologies for what looks like an exposure issue on the story intro. This bloke has been overdoing the fake tan lotion.)


TRANSCRIPT:

STAN GRANT, PRESENTER: The entertainment industry is in shock and a family is in mourning after the death of a stunt man yesterday.

Johann Ofner died after being shot in the chest on the set of a music video being made for chart-topping hip hop group, Bliss n Eso.

A police investigation under way but some film industry figures suspect that firearm safety standards were not correctly followed and are calling the tragedy a massive wake-up call.

Michael Atkin reports.

(Music)

MICHAEL ATKIN, REPORTER: By all accounts, Johann Ofner was a stunt man who loved his job.

(Music)

He was looking forward to his latest assignment, a gangster-themed video clip for Aussie hip hop group, Bliss n Eso

JOHANN OFNER, STUNTMAN: So today, these guys....

MICHAEL ATKIN: But the violence that happened when the cameras started rolling inside Brisbane's Brooklyn Standard bar was horrifying.

DET. INS. TOM ARMITT, QUEENSLAND POLICE: During the filming of that scene several firearms were used.

MICHAEL ATKIN: Johann was shot twice in the chest and desperate attempts to save his life failed.

LAURENCE PETTINARI, ENTERTAINMENT SAFETY CONSULTANT: What I do know is the guys that were there at first hand, some friends of mine, they straight away, first aid was applied once they knew that he was in trouble.

So everything was done medically to help the young man out.

TOM ARMITT: Film crew were actively performing CPR on the person. Police then assisted, QAS attended and we have conducted and commenced our investigations from there.

MICHAEL ATKIN: On social media, Ofner's girlfriend, Kati Garnett said she was devastated.

KATI GARNETT, JOHANN'S GIRLFRIEND (Facebook post): The love of my life was taken from me and I still can't believe it. You were a true angel.

(Music)

MICHAEL ATKIN: The members of Bliss n Eso weren't on set for the shooting and are yet to speak publicly. They posted this message to fans.

BLISS N ESO, HIP HOP GROUP (Facebook post): The three of us are extremely upset and shaken up by this and our hearts and prayers go out to the victimís family and friends.

MICHAEL ATKIN: Today officers continued to pore over the crime scene and late this afternoon the band revealed Johann Ofner was shot with a prop gun loaded with blanks.

A licensed armourer was on site to monitor the firearms.

LAURENCE PETTINARI: You generally don't point guns at anyone. You know, you know that's the rule. Of course, you can shoot things with cameras and make sure people aren't in directs fire lines, even with blanks.

MICHAEL ATKIN: Safety consultant, Laurence Pettinari wants to know if strict industry standards were followed.

LAURENCE PETTINARI: We follow some tight, tight stringent protocols to do with prohibited weapons.

All of the safety professionals in the industry all follow the same protocols. So having a safety person on site to check the weapons before they go out to any actors or any talent is part of those protocols.

ZOE ANGUS, MEDIA ENTERTAINMENT AND ARTS ALLIANCE: I can say that we have been in discussions with Screen Queensland and with the Premier's Office and our view is that now it is time to conduct a review of the safety standard.

MICHAEL ATKIN: The union Johann Ofner was a member of is calling for an urgent safety review.

ZOE ANGUS: We see more and more the safety issues on set are in the digital space. They are smaller crews, smaller cast, non-professionals. People having a dab hand at themselves with their own credit card.

What that means for stunt community, is that they are on the frontline of insisting on safety standards.

MICHAEL ATKIN: It's a disaster for Bliss n Eso. The popular group was about embark on a national tour before releasing a new album.

MATT COYTE, ROLLING STONE MAGAZINE: With a fan base online on their Facebook seemed a bit split. Some of them seemed like they were being respectful of the tragedy.

Other people were using that opportunity to voice their disapproval of the use of guns in the video.

A lot of their fans were coming on and saying why do you even have guns in the video?

MICHAEL ATKIN: Rolling Stone magazineís Matt Coyte believes, Bliss n Eso should consider taking a public hiatus.

MATT COYTE: It's going to be devastating to them and their plans for an album release. I mean, they can't use this clip now obviously and they're going to have to come up with something that addresses the situation as well.

It puts them in a very bad position and I feel for them.

MICHAEL ATKIN: It's also devastating for Australia's tight knit film industry who want to make sure Johann Ofner is the last person to die on the job.

ZOE ANGUS: Our stunt professionals are at the front line of this.

They go into work every day and perform extremely dangerous work and we want them to come home at night.

END
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Old January 25th, 2017, 12:04 PM   #7
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Re: Fatal gun safety fail at a music video shoot

Thanks for the updates.
The take-away was that it was a prop-gun, filled with blanks, and yet a death still occurred.
While the facts are still hazy, this is similar to the death of Brandon Lee
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Old January 26th, 2017, 09:37 AM   #8
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Re: Fatal gun safety fail at a music video shoot

A little more information has come to light through various subsequent media reporting.

My moderately educated guess is that the stunt man was struck in the chest by some wadding from the blank round that was used. He was in the line of sight of the weapon when it was fired. This would account for the relatively small size of the wound in his chest that was reported.

Also reported was that, when the shooting sequence was being filmed, the stuntman didn't get back up when the others did. It was only then that they realised that something was wrong with him.

I would expect that the wadding made it in to his chest at high velocity and managed to pierce his heart (I'm not sure how viable this is) or a high pressure blood vessel connected to the heart (much more likely). The stuntman would have 'acted' his way to the floor, but on the way down he would have started experiencing the effects of losing blood pressure to the brain and would have blacked out either immediately or shortly after landing on the floor.

The blacking out would be due to the loss of blood pressure from a high pressure sudden internal bleeding from within the chest cavity. This internally held (and non-compressible) pool of blood would also prevent the lungs from expanding within the chest, effectively preventing any further breathing.

The other actors immediately started CPR on him, but were not successful. You can probably guess why - any internal bleeding would have only been exacerbated by forcing the heart to pump more blood through.

... or I could be completely wrong and instead the hole in the chest cavity allowed air from the outside to come in and would have broken what is essentially a vacuum seal between the chest and the outside of the lungs. (Which normally means that when the chest wall expands to take a breath, the lungs also expand and hence the air from the outside comes rushing in to fill the lungs.) ... also effectively preventing further breathing until the hole is plugged.

My money is on the first scenario. That said, *** BIG DISCLAIMER *** I am not a doctor, I wasn't there, and you'd have to wait for the results of a post-mortem to come through to know for sure.

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Old January 27th, 2017, 02:11 AM   #9
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Re: Fatal gun safety fail at a music video shoot

Why use old style mechanical effects? I do not get it.
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Old January 28th, 2017, 09:53 PM   #10
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Re: A reminder about safety on set

Please keep us all informed.

As the person who is responsible for firearms safety on set, this is devastating. There is obviously far more to this story than we are hearing. The cause is NOT a "wad" expelled from the blank. (Modern blanks do not contain a "wad." They use crimped casings.)

This is, BY FAR, the most significant quote in that whole news story:
Quote:
We see more and more the safety issues on set are in the digital space. They are smaller crews, smaller cast, non-professionals. People having a dab hand at themselves with their own credit card.
I am not going to judge until the fact are all known, but I have known many stunt people who THINK they are also "weapons experts" and they are not. I have known many ex-military or ex-police who fashion themselves as "weapons experts" and they are not.

As budgets plunge, productions try to save money by doubling up crew positions or hiring amateurs. When it comes to guns, this is a recipe for disaster.

Folks, our safety standards are SLIPPING.

In 2016, an actor was shot in the head with a blank in Ontario Canada. Now in 2017 an actor is shot and killed in Australia. This is unacceptable. Productions should not be using persons who got their firearms licence yesterday or who "took a course." They don't pay us for what we do; they pay us for WHAT WE KNOW.

By the way, the reason why I think there is far more to this story than we are being told is simple - a blank would have to be an inch away to be fatal. No one would do this deliberately if they had the slightest amount of experience, or even common sense. Either someone was doing a stunt with a gun loaded with a blank - that a firearms professional would NEVER do - and fell on it, they went onto set with a loaded gun and forgot to unload it (such as happened in New Jersey four years ago, or Tombstone Arizona last year) or there was someone else on set with a loaded gun.
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Old January 28th, 2017, 10:10 PM   #11
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Re: Fatal gun safety fail at a music video shoot

Real firearms are no more dangerous than any other prop on set WHEN USED BY PROFESSIONALS. (Note the emphasis.)

The reason we don't CGI all muzzle flashes is the same reason why we don't just replace all actors with CGI - it looks awful. I never want to be the guy who has to hand Samuel L. Jackson a plastic toy gun and say, "Here. Act."

There is a disturbing trend today that says one can save money by doubling up crew positions or hiring amateurs. Add to that the increasing number of people who are stunts, special effects or ex-military who fashion themselves as "weapons experts" and they are not.

Amateurs practice until they get it right. Professional practice until they can't get it WRONG.

Last edited by Dave Brown; January 29th, 2017 at 12:30 AM.
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Old January 29th, 2017, 03:02 PM   #12
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Re: Fatal gun safety fail at a music video shoot

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dave Brown View Post
Real firearms are no more dangerous than any other prop on set WHEN USED BY PROFESSIONALS. (Note the emphasis.)
History has told us otherwise. There have been a number of high profile deaths from guns on set, even with professional handlers present.

You can't say the same about pot plants, or lowball glasses, or manila folders, or "any other prop on set" apart from perhaps vehicles.

As for CGI looking terrible, maybe you are right, if not overly critical. But is it really worth endangering the lives of your cast and crew just for the sake of those few dozen frames of your film which include muzzle flashes?
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Old January 29th, 2017, 03:18 PM   #13
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Re: Fatal gun safety fail at a music video shoot

Wellllll...

If it's worth sometimes physically and mentally abusing actors to get a better performance (see numerous examples), then apparently it is worth it.
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Old January 29th, 2017, 04:29 PM   #14
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Re: Fatal gun safety fail at a music video shoot

Quote:
Originally Posted by John Wiley View Post
History has told us otherwise. There have been a number of high profile deaths from guns on set, even with professional handlers present.

You can't say the same about pot plants, or lowball glasses, or manila folders, or "any other prop on set" apart from perhaps vehicles.
Well, I am not here to defend the use of firearms and blanks. I am here to make sure they are SAFE.

But I would speculate that more actors have been injured with potted plants than with firearms. Accidents with guns are high profile but very rare.

I will not rest until they are non-existent though.

I would also like to correct you on one point. In every single fatality on a film set (Jon-Erik Hexum in LA in 1984, Brandon Lee in North Carolina in 1993), near-fatality on a film set (Brendan Fletcher in Ontario in 2016) or near-fatality on a wild west reenactment set (Scott Harris in New Jersey in 2006, Ken Curtis in Tombstone Arizona in 2015) there were NO professional handlers present.

They either doubled up crew jobs and gave the firearms to untrained props crew (Lee, Hexum), used amateurs or beginners to save money (Fletcher) or had the stunt people also act as their own safety specialists and they simply forgot to unload their real guns (Harris, Curtis.) I think we will also find that the same thing happened in Australia.

One would have to be an inch away with a blank to be fatal. I am sure the story will come out, but my guess is that he used his own gun and didn't unload it, or someone else on set that day used a loaded gun and either shot him deliberately or by accident. A blank is not fatal unless it's near-contact distance, and no armorer or firearms safety specialist is going to let that happen. If it happened during a stunt and the stuntman fell on the loaded gun or it went off during the action while pressed up against him, no professional safety specialist would allow that scene to be shot.

Guns are safe when handled by professionals. This is not the place for amateurs or self-described "firearms experts." It has been my experience that ex-police or ex-military have some of the worst safety skills of anyone. (Anyone remember that DEA officer who shot himself in the foot during a gun safety lecture in a high school in Florida?)

And, sometimes having stunt people responsible for their own firearms is a recipe for disaster. I have had the pleasure of working with some of the top stunt people in the film business, and even with their knowledge and experience, they would never do a scene with a firearm unless there was a firearms safety specialist right there to check the firearms and oversee the action.

Smart producers also know that firearms specialists do far more than just handle the firearms. They are there to help the characters act and to help the story look real. Even the use of replica firearms involves safety issues, and if you ignore the importance of this, then you run the risk of making a serious film look laughable when your actors throw the obviously-plastic guns in the air in some fake recoil and run around all day with their stupid fingers inside the trigger guards.

Last edited by Dave Brown; January 29th, 2017 at 07:16 PM.
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Old January 29th, 2017, 09:51 PM   #15
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Re: Fatal gun safety fail at a music video shoot

What sort of certification or qualifications should a producer be looking for?
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