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Essential Knots for Filmmaking: Figure 8

  • December 23, 2015
  • Shane Hurlbut, ASC
Essential Knots for Filmmaking: Figure 8

One of the most powerful knots you can tie is the Figure 8 knot. Also called the “Flemish Bend,” it is used for harnesses by mountain climbers. This is the knot that you want to have if you fall off the side of a mountain. It’s also extremely useful on set because it is quick to tie and also very sturdy.

Figure 8 Knot

Figure 8 Knot
Figure 8 Knot
Figure 8 Knot on a climber’s harness
Figure 8 Knot on a climber’s harness

Let’s look at how to make this baby. First, get your rope and put one end in each of your hands.

Notice each end of the rope is in each hand.
Notice each end of the rope is in each hand.

Then you’re going to bring one side of the rope around the other by crossing it over the other piece and then bringing it under.

Notice the piece indicated in red goes around the other piece.
Notice the piece indicated in red goes around the other piece.

Now you’re going to make a figure eight shape with the rope.

Make a figure 8 by crossing the rope over itself.
Make a figure 8 by crossing the rope over itself.

Then pull the rope through the hole.

Note the rope goes through the hole and is pulled in the direction of the arrow.
Note the rope goes through the hole and is pulled in the direction of the arrow.

Make sure that you pull the rope all the way through the hole, so that the end of the rope passes through the hole as well.

Pulling the rope all the way through the hole
Pulling the rope all the way through the hole
Here the rope is all the way through the hole.
Here the rope is all the way through the hole.

Once the rope is completely through the hole, you have a perfect eight.

Notice the 8 shape.
Notice the 8 shape.

To tie the knot off, you follow the same path that eight just took, but with the other end of the rope.

Take the other end of the rope
Take the other end of the rope

You’re going to go through the hole.

Notice the rope going through the hole.
Notice the rope going through the hole.

Once you’re through the hole, go around the other piece of rope by crossing under it.

Notice the rope crosses under the other piece.
Notice the rope crosses under the other piece.

Then take that end of the rope and bring it all the way through into the hole.

Bringing the rope into the hole
Bringing the rope into the hole
Rope pulled all the way through the hole
Rope pulled all the way through the hole

Just tighten that up and you have yourself a perfect figure eight knot.

Figure 8 knot
Figure 8 knot

All videos were edited on HP Z840 workstations using HP Z24x DreamColor monitors.

Read Essential Knots for Filmmaking: Clove Hitch

Read Essential Knots for Filmmaking: Bowline

Read Essential Knots for Filmmaking: Sheepshank


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