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Protecting Delicate Locations

Published : 3rd April 2010

What kinds of precautions do you guys take when shooting in locations with delicate floors, etc.? The loc in question has a newly finished hardwood floor, some kind of lacquer. The rugs in the hall are immaculate as well.

Every single piece of equipment I use, from spreaders to light stands, will damage these floors. Is there a protective floor covering that's cheap enough to cover a lot of footage?

I don't think a tarp is enough.

Bob Morein
indie filmmaker


>>Every single piece of equipment I use, from spreaders to light stands, will damage these floors. Is >>there a protective floor covering that's cheap enough to cover a lot of footage?

Packing blankets. The kind movers use. You can buy them outright at $15-20 a piece or rent them from a grip house at $2-3 a day. Generally a 3-ton truck will come with 10 of them. It's what I've always used . Put them down everywhere the crew and equipment will be in a house.

Mark Stucker
Cincinnati
DP


 

>>Every single piece of equipment I use, from spreaders to light stands, will damage these floors. Is >>there a protective floor covering that's cheap enough to cover a lot of footage?

Bob,

If your country [not stated!] is like mine then there are numerous shops offering "Middle Eastern" sourced mats/rugs, always at 50 to 80% "off". (Off what, I'm not sure, as they are NEVER full price ;-)

They come in a thousand sizes from door mat to whole-of-lounge, are quite thick and of course can appear in shot! My only hesitation is that they would slip well on a polished floor.

The other option is off cuts of old conveyor belt rubber - virtually thrown out by companies that repair them. Non-slip ...

Cheers,

Clive Woodward,
Perth, Western Australia.


Robert Morein wrote:


>> What kinds of precautions do you guys take when shooting in locations with delicate floors, etc.?

What about cheap carpet?

If the furniture pads (as was mentioned by Mark Stucker) don't serve, you might consider getting some carpet, and having it cut to fit to go under stands and tripods and such.

You could probably get a deal on remnants.

Steven Gladstone
Gladstone Films
www.gladstonefilms.com
917-886-5858


> > Every single piece of equipment I use, from spreaders to light stands, will damage these floors. >>Is there a protective floor covering that's cheap enough to cover a lot of footage?

>>Packing blankets. The kind movers use. You can buy them outright at $15-20a piece or rent them >>from a grip house at $2-3 a day

Thanks. Where might I find a retail source of these?

Bob Morein
indie filmmaker


>> Is there a protective floor covering that's cheap enough to cover a lot of footage?

Yes, it's called rosin (because it doesn't slip) paper. It's much heavier than Kraft paper; it comes in rolls and it's available at building supply companies, some Home Depots and some Lowe's. It's usually taped down with removable masking tape. Contractors routinely use it to protect finished
floors while construction work continues on new houses.

Brian Heller
IA 600 DP


For lighting stands and such, old tennis balls with an "X" cut into them and slid on the feet of your c-stands and baby stands works wonders. The felt is very easy going on the floor and they go with the stand so you won't inadvertently run off the edge of our furnie-pad or carpet. I also use these on the end of c-stand arms that are in walking paths so that people either see them, or won't be hurt if they bump into them. A loop of twine makes it easy to hang them from the taco cart.

And plan to add a little extra set-up and strike-time to your schedule. There is no easier way to screw up a delicate location like this than by rushing.

David C. Smith
LA/OC D.P. (but a grip at heart)


One other note about hurrying with protection on the floor. I try to avoid art card or paper if possible, even furnies aren't the best since it dramatically increases your chances of slipping. I have a good friend that is only now returning to grip work after 3 years worth of physical therapy and 4 knee surgeries because of craft paper being used to protect a wood floor on a set. The rosin paper is a better alternative because it tends to slip less, but still be very careful.

-David C. Smith
LA/OC D.P.


Brian Heller wrote:

>>Yes, it's called rosin (because it doesn't slip) paper.

It is still just paper, and will rip and tear.

Excellent for foot traffic. Not bad to put under sound blankets/furniture pads, or temporary carpeting.

You can buy packing blankets at Home Depot, and probably Lowe's

Steven Gladstone
Gladstone Films


>> Thanks. Where might I find a retail source of these?

http://www.localmovingsupplies.com

Quilted Moving Pad
Code:90196

I ordered 10 of these this past summer for a reality show I was working on. They were about $16 each including shipping (2-to a package). I have no affiliation with this company other than buying from them previously. You might find a better deal somewhere else but these worked just fine.

Mark Stucker
Cincinnati
DP


We use coroplast (aka corex) to protect floors. Thin plastic corrugated sheet. Very easy to cut to shape, bend up or around walls, inexpensive and reusable.

Loads of people supply it (e.g. http://www.sdplastics.com/coroplast.html )

Rob Barlow (UK Grip)


In Germany we often use tennis-balls, cut a hole in them and put them on the legs of our stands.

Philipp Chudalla

2nd AC / Clapperloader
Graf-Lehndorff-Str.20
81829 München

Tel.: +49 179 534 73 81
Fax: +49 89 945 008 29


>>Every single piece of equipment I use, from spreaders to light stands, will damage these floors. Is >>there a protective floor covering that's cheap enough to cover a lot of footage?

That corrugated paper stuff that comes in rolls works fairly well if your crew is careful with the gear. Anything that comes in that may be heavy or rough on the bottom gets a showcard under it.

Jim Sofranko
NY/DP


Here in Hollywood we use a heavy duty cardboard known as layout board. It comes in 4'x8' sheets. It's super tough, won't slip once the entire floor is covered with it, can be cut into smaller pieces that can be used under individual stand legs, etc. The rolls of cardboard aren't heavy duty enough to take much foot traffic, but they're often used to cover walls (they're just rolled out along a hallway), useful for protecting painted surfaces from equipment being hand carried. There are even companies that provide the materials and the professional labour :

http://www.boardstiff.com , http://www.cardboardjunkies.com

There's also another company that makes layout board in 100' rolls called :

Ram Board. http://www.ramboard.com

We also carry crutch tips (usually white rubber covers used on the end of crutches) to put on the legs of lighting stands and c-stands so that if they contact the floor they won't scratch them. They come in different sizes to fit the different sized stands. These can be a bit of a pain in the neck as they can make the stands difficult to open and close when they're installed.

I prefer layout board.

Ted Hayash
CLT
Hollywood, CA
888-346-9757


For light stands, C-stands and such, use crutch tips. Should be available at most rental houses or at most grip supply stores.

They're white/neutral coloured rubber. Won't slide, won't scratch, but very often, also won't stay on the legs. A bit of tape will help that.

For tripods and spreaders, try a custom-cut carpet remnant, especially one of those industrial carpets
that comes with a rubber backing. Fast, useful, inexpensive.

Shoe booties can sometimes work, but can be dangerously slippery. Not much help if your third grip's running to the truck through oil, dirt and sidewalk muck and walking back onto the set with said booties.

Christopher Lockett
DP/operator
(once a grip...)
Los Angeles


>>Here in Hollywood we use a heavy duty cardboard known as layout board. It comes in 4'x8' >>sheets. It's super tough,

Ding, ding, ding! We have a winner!

I forgot about this stuff. You're absolutely right on with this suggestion, Ted!

This is the best stuff to do this job. Use the rollout cardboard for the walls and this stuff for the floors as Ted suggests. It's a heavily compressed cardboard that can be easily cut and laid out over the entire floor. I believe it's the most effective way to cover a delicate floor.

Jim Sofranko
NY/DP


Go buy used heavy duty floor mattes.

Cintas and other national chain uniform & office rug suppliers 'lease' or rent those really nice heavy floor carpet/mattes [with the thick rubber backing and carpet fronts] to restaurants, office building, etc.....
When these wear out, meaning when they are thrown out due to tiny stains or usage imperfections, they sell them for a mere $5.00 apiece!

These are those really nice 4' x 6' or 4' x 8' rubber backed heavy black rugs/mattes you see in businesses everywhere.

Today, on a shoot, the locations person brought in 20 she bought for $100 to cover an entire home 1st floor...these are so heavy that light stands, dolly track, everything can be used with no fear of ripping through...and since they are heavy & rubber backed, they will not slide or make bad sound problems. You could roll these up for storage and use again & again, or hang from a t-bone stand to block out window light [Jim S?].

Check around your local area & see what they have to offer. For $5.00 each I might go buy a dozen or so....

Hope this helps!

Cheers,
Jeff Barklage, s.o.c.
US based DP
www.barklage.com


The construction crews building the casino we are shooting in are using self-adhesive plastic wrap on the newly installed carpets. The 3 foot wide rolls are unrolled directly onto the carpet, sticking in place, even on stairs. Much safer than paper. Protects against spills and dirt and lets the tone of the carpet come through.

I don't know what this stuff is called or where to get it, but have seen a lighter-duty version in RV supply stores. Does anybody know what this "carpet wrap" is called?

For hardwood, I always used crutch tips on the legs of stands. Like tennis balls but they will stay with the stand when folded. Buy them in bulk at medical supply.

Alan Jacobsen
DP - NYC


Alan Jacobsen wrote:

>>The construction crews building the casino we are shooting in are using self-adhesive plastic >>wrap on the newly installed carpets.

A Google search of "carpet protection plastic film" turns up hundreds of hits for the correct stuff. We did a show where the load in dock on the opposite side of the building and the owner had us lay a 6' x 200' run of the stuff. Did figure out the fastest way to lay this much of it is to have one person pull it out and someone else come behind and press it to the carpet with a push broom. Just don't let the adhesive sides touch, you think gaff tape won't come apart.

Richard Bakos

President
Studio One Inc.
25833 State Road 2
South Bend, In 46619-4736
VOICE 574-232-9084
FAX 574-232-2220
www.StudioOnesb.com


I have used corrugated cardboard from boxes on many occasions. Gives a little bit more padding than paper and had the advantage of being free. Taping down the edges and taping them together can help with the slip issue.

Jess Haas
Austin, Tx


Hi there,

What I’ve found in LA is that people use big pieces of thick paper pressed into a sort of board. It's called "layout board" and comes in 5 x 8 sheets. It works on all surfaces and is very safe. Out here, it's industry standard so someone on this list must know where to purchase it.

I'd also check out http://www.layoutboard.com/ I've never seen these folks work, but there's some good info there about other ways to save the house a beating.

Also, for stands I recommend crutch tips for the legs. Like from the bottom of the crutches when you
broke your leg last! You can pick them up in bulk at film rental houses and such around here. I think they sell them via film tools. And they make them in a few sizes. Beyond that sound blankets or layout board on all corners, all the way up the wall.

And dude, this is why they make location coordinators, assistants, and PA's.

Grips shouldn't be setting up the layout board. As a matter of fact, on a lot of productions, they hire a special matt/layout person for the day.

Which reminds me! There is a company that specially makes film oriented matts. They are rubber on the bottom and nice on top. You can rent them. I can't remember the co. name right now, but I'll look into the company.

Cheers,
PJ Gaynard
310-839-3372
Filmmaker / IATSE 728
Los Angeles / All-World


Bob,

Even better than tennis balls, try crutch tips for the legs of your stands.

You can get them at a medical supply store in various sizes for different types of stands- one size is perfect for C-stands and there is smaller size that is perfect for light stands. Sorry, I don't know the exact catalogue number or diameter... But check it out.

Your locations supervisor can have a crew come in and put "lay-out board" over all of the floors. It works quite well if it is laid out properly and won't slip. It is like a very heavy stock, like show-card, but the colour of brown butcher's paper and comes in 4' x 8' sheets. It should cut to size and taped down with paper-tape.

I don't know where in the world you are located, but in L.A. there is a company that will come in and put down layout board at your location. They do it quickly, efficiently, and very well- much better than the way the PA's will probably do it (where someone will trip over a seam and tear it and break a leg). I could try and find out the name of the company if you need help with that. If this location is getting used extensively, you should plan on having the heavily trafficked areas recovered after every other shooting day or even every day.

Furniture pads are great for covering and protecting pieces of furniture, mantles, counter tops, etc., but in my opinion and experience they are better left off of floors 'cause someone will trip on them.

Toby Birney
DP


Tennis balls are a great idea, they work very well.

Also, I once worked for a flooring company who put down wooden floors and parquets’, just like the ones you'll be shooting on. They were using sheets of flexible padded plastic material (comes in rolls) to protect the floors from building equipment and so on - this has to be taped to the floor with
masking tape. Unfortunately, it was a few years ago and I don't remember what the material was called, but a quick call to the local flooring supplier should clarify that (they can also suggest more up-to-date material).

Behzad Olia-Rosenkranz
European based Assistant / Cameraman
Luzern


[[ For hardwood, I always used crutch tips on the legs of stands. Like tennis balls but they will stay with the stand when folded. Buy them in bulk at medical supply.]]

You can get white crutch tips at any good hardware store. Probably cost you a lot less than the equivalent items at a medical supply place.

When nonslip rubber mesh matting first came out about 20 years ago, medical supply stores were selling a roll for $30. Same roll at the local hardware store was $3!

[[ flexible padded plastic material (comes in rolls) to protect the floors from building equipment and so on - this has to be taped to the floor with masking tape.]]

In the US, the finest masking tape is the blue stuff made by 3M. It doesn't stick quite as tenaciously as regular masking tape, but it will never, ever leave residue on finished surfaces, window glass, etc. You can leave the stuff exposed directly to sunlight for months and it won't harden or get gunky.

Dan Drasin
Producer/DP
Marin County, CA


Richard Bakos wrote:

>>A Google search of "carpet protection plastic film"...

I did an old-fashioned analog Google today and asked the carpet guys about the stuff. It's called "Carpet Mask" and they get it from the professional building supply co. They used two layers at right angles for extra strength and resilience, using a broom like Richard describes.

Alan Jacobsen
DP - NYC


I found the stuff that Alan was talking about on the Uline website. Not the cheapest stuff though. Heres the link http://www.uline.com/Browse_Listing_5052.asp

Insert Standard Disclaimer

Richie Schut AC/Grip
Spokane WA