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Computers can do this: A film set tragedy prompts calls to ban guns

This week's shocking reminder to the industry reminded them that many productions still use guns when filming. Even with all the rules and regulations in place, it is possible to get hurt. Last week, Alec Baldwin shot Halyna Hutchins, a cinematographer, after being given a weapon and told that it was safe.

This tragedy led Hollywood and incredulous observers to wonder: Why are guns used on set when computers can make gunshots in post production? Isn’t the slightest risk unacceptable?

It is for Alexi Hawley. "Any risk is too high," said Alexi Hawley, executive producer of ABC's drama police "The Rookie", in a memo to staff Friday. She stated that the New Mexico events had "shaken" her.

He wrote that there would be no more "live" weapons on the show in a note. This was first reported by The Hollywood Reporter, and confirmed by The Associated Press.

He suggested that replica guns would be used, which use pellets instead of bullets with muzzle flashes.

Craig Zobel, the director of "Mare of Easttown", a Kate Winslet-produced drama, said that gunshots were used on the show after filming. However, he had previously used live rounds on other productions.

Zobel posted on Twitter, "There is no reason to have guns loaded in blanks or any other set anymore." "Should be outlawed completely. Computers are everywhere. All the gunshots at 'Mare of Easttown’ are digital. It's obvious, but it doesn't matter. It's an unnecessary danger.

Bill Dill, a cinematographer who was a teacher to Hutchins at the American Film Institute, expressed disgust over the "archaic practice" of using guns with blanks when there are readily available and cheap computer graphics.

Dill, whose credits include the "The Five Heartbeats", and "Dancing in September" films, said that real guns pose an added risk because people are "working long hours" on films and are "tired."

He said, "There is no excuse to use live weapons."

Over the weekend, a petition was created on change.org calling for real guns to be removed from production sets.

It said that there was no reason for such a tragedy to occur in the 21st Century. This is not the early 90's when Brandon Lee was also killed in this manner. It is time for change. Lee, the actor and son of Bruce Lee, was shot to death in 1993 with a fake bullet from a prop gun.

Baldwin was asked to directly promote Halyna's Law, which would ban real firearms from being used on set. The U.S. federal workplace security agency is silent about the issue, and the majority of preferred states for productions adopt a largely hands-off approach.

Hutchins, 42 years old, was killed and Joel Souza, the director, was injured on Thursday while shooting the Western "Rust". According to court documents, Baldwin accidentally fired a prop gun which a crew member misunderstoodly said was "cold" or was not loaded with live ammunition.

Souza was released from the hospital later.

After some workers protested against unsafe conditions on the film's production, the tragedy occurred. Baldwin is both the star and producer of the film.

Steven Hall, British cinematographer, said that he had worked this year on a Madrid production that included "lots and lots of firearms."

He said that he was encouraged to not use blanks but to rely upon visual effects in post-production to create any effect from a firearm. The actor would mimic the recoil of the gun.

However, he noted that special effects can add to the production's cost. Hall, who is a veteran cinematographer and has worked on movies like "Fury", "Thor: The Dark World" and "Thor: The Final Chapter," explained that it is easier and more economical to use a blank. But, Hall said, "The problem with blanks, is that... something is emitted."

Real guns are preferred over real guns because of financial considerations. Sam Dormer, an "armorer" or firearms specialist from Britain, said that there are some advantages to using blanks while on set. For instance, the actor will react better to you using blanks."

Dormer stated that the movie industry is moving away from real guns slowly, but it's likely.

Prop guns can be anything, from a rubber toy to an actual firearm that can fire projectiles. It's considered a "prop gun" if it can fire blanks or is used for firing. A blank cartridge contains gunpowder, but no bullet. According to the Actors Equity Association, it can still cause injury or death to someone close by.

Many are calling for the banning of blanks and the use of replica or disabled guns.

Director Liz Garbus tweeted, "Really, there is no good reason today to have blanks on stage." CGI can make the gun look'real', but if you don’t have the budget, don’t shoot the scene.

Megan Griffiths, a Seattle-based filmmaker wrote that she is often subject to pushback when she demands non-firing, disabled weapons on set.

She said that "But this is why" on Twitter. "Mistakes can happen and gun violence can kill. ... Muzzle flashes offer the best and cheapest visual effect.

"Why aren't we doing this?"

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