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Prop gun accident could have been 'easily avoided,' says Windsor cinematographer

·2 min read
Alec Baldwin speaks on the phone in the parking lot outside the Santa Fe County Sheriff's Office in Santa Fe, N.M., after he was questioned about a shooting on the set of the film Rust on the outskirts of Santa Fe, Thursday, Oct. 21, 2021. Baldwin fired a prop gun on the set, killing cinematographer Halyna Hutchins and wounding director Joel Souza, officials said.  (Jim Weber/Santa Fe New Mexican/The Associated Press - image credit)
Alec Baldwin speaks on the phone in the parking lot outside the Santa Fe County Sheriff's Office in Santa Fe, N.M., after he was questioned about a shooting on the set of the film Rust on the outskirts of Santa Fe, Thursday, Oct. 21, 2021. Baldwin fired a prop gun on the set, killing cinematographer Halyna Hutchins and wounding director Joel Souza, officials said. (Jim Weber/Santa Fe New Mexican/The Associated Press - image credit)

People in the film industry are still coming to grips with the shocking death of Halyna Hutchins, who officials say was shot by actor Alec Baldwin with a prop gun on the set of the movie Rust on the southern outskirts of Santa Fe, N.M.

Baldwin said he is fully co-operating with a police investigation.

Joel Souza, the movie's director, was also wounded, and authorities are investigating. Baldwin was performing at the time of the shooting, the sheriff's office said. It was unclear how many rounds were fired, and little was known about the weapon.

Windsor cinematographer Drew Hyttenrauch said it was a unnecessary tragedy.

I thought we had gotten through this and learned from our mistakes with The Crow, with Brandon Lee.
- Drew Hyttenrauch

"It's just devastating this year that this happened in the film industry, and it's kind of sent shock waves across the whole world," he said.

"This could have been easily avoided and it's really preventable, right?"

Prop guns aren't toys

A spokesperson for Baldwin said there was an accident involving the misfire of a prop gun with blanks. Santa Fe County Sheriff's spokesperson Juan Rios said detectives were investigating what type of projectile was discharged and how.

Hyttenrauch said prop guns may not have bullets in them but still usually have some sort of projectile that is holding the gunpowder inside, which makes the shot look more realistic, but can also be dangerous.

CBC
CBC

"There's a lot of safety issues with doing that on set. And unfortunately, in my opinion, I don't think camera operators should ever, ever be behind the line of fire or in front of it," he said.

"We have technology nowadays with remote camera heads, camera cranes where you can simulate the same look as the camera operator without putting someone in danger."

He also said CGI is a good tool to use, though movies with lower budgets may not be able to afford the technology.

Baldwin apologizes

Baldwin tweeted Friday that his "heart is broken," for Hutchins's husband and son,

Hyttenrauch hopes this will lead to changes.

"I really hope that it changes the way we deal with prop guns on set," he said. "I thought we had gotten through this and learned from our mistakes with The Crow, with Brandon Lee."

Hutchins, 42, was airlifted to the University of New Mexico Hospital, where she was pronounced dead by medical personnel, the sheriff's department said. Souza, 48, was taken by ambulance to Christus St. Vincent Regional Medical Center, where he is undergoing treatment.

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