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Guideline No. 17: Camera Cars| Safety Guidelines for the Film and Television Industry in Ontario

  • ISBN: 978-1-4249-9952-1
  • Issued: November 1990
  • Revised: June 2009
  • Content last reviewed: August 2010

Camera Cars

  1. An Insert Camera Car shall be a vehicle that is specifically engineered for the mounting of cameras and other equipment for the purpose of photography of, or in, a stationary or moving vehicle. Only such vehicles should used for this purpose. The use of any other vehicle for this purpose is not advised, nor should it be considered grounds for not following these guidelines.
    1. The person in charge of such a vehicle shall be known as "The Camera Car Operator".
    2. The camera car should have a circle check completed before and after use on a daily basis by qualified experienced personnel. Items such as brakes, tires, electrical system and towing equipment should be included in this check. A record of such checks should be kept and signed by the operator.
  2. Any rigging should be done in a safe manner by qualified experienced personnel. According to O. Reg. 213/91, s. 26.1(4), written rescue procedures must be in place before fall arrest equipment is used.
  3. A camera car used for night filming should be provided with two portable tail lights which are affixed to the towed vehicle to provide rear lighting.
  4. The maximum number of people, including crew and performers, on or in such vehicles should not exceed seven (7), unless the design of the vehicle clearly allows it.
    1. A placard should be clearly visible on the rear of the vehicle stating the maximum speed, weight capacity and occupancy allowed.
    2. In order to ensure clear lines of sight to the operator, only he or she should be in the cab while the vehicle is in motion.
    3. Only person(s) directly associated with the shot at hand should be allowed on the vehicle while in motion.
  5. Only equipment essential to the sequence at hand should be transported on or in the camera car.
  6. Rear Towing – no person should be on the tow-bar or the exterior of the towed vehicle, except a qualified Stunt person who is qualified to deal with the danger and risk involved. This does not include any towed camera platform designed for such a purpose.
  7. Extra caution should be used when working on vehicles during adverse conditions (e.g., bad weather, stunts and use of explosives).
  8. Any electrical circuits shall be certified by Canadian Standards Association (CSA) or Electrical Safety Authority (ESA), required by section 40 of Reg. 851. In addition, they shall be designed for outside use and have a ground fault interrupter device attached (as per section 44.1 of Reg. 851).
  9. Communications

  10. Any special communications used regarding the operation of a camera car, such as sound signals, should be mentioned at a meeting of any personnel involved prior to any use of the vehicle.
  11. Only one person should be in contact with the operator through a separate open channel. In the event of radio silence being imposed another set of signals should be used including abort or emergency stop.
  12. A "dry run" or "walk-through" of any action should be conducted prior to rehearsal or filming with all personnel involved present. An understanding of any intended action, possible deviations and authority to abort should be made clear to all concerned.
  13. In the interests of uniformity throughout the industry, the following sound signals should be used by the operator of the car:
    • Prior to moving forward – sound two short blasts on the horn on the Car.
    • Prior to backing up – sound three short blasts.
    • Emergency stop – one long blast.

    NOTE: At night when shooting in residential areas, alternative signals could be used.

  14. A copy of these guidelines should be provided to the operator at a safety meeting and should also be kept in the glove compartment of any camera car.

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