5 Ways To Make Your Film Shoot More Sustainable

In a time where visual entertainment has peaked in demand working hard to meet our current needs, it can be easy to forget the needs of future generations.

June 24, 2022

In 2021 the COP26 took place in Glasgow, Scotland to discuss the Paris Climate Agreement with a focus on creating new and progressive sustainable goals. The conclusion of the conference was a new deal titled the Glasgow Climate Pact which highlights the changes required to avoid climate disaster, with many countries striving to make the switch from fossil fuels to alternative energy, working to restore and conserve habitats. 

The film industry is also working to introduce sustainable practices into their productions, from using biodegradable amenities, to researching the combination of technology and its production processes to increase efficiency and decrease their carbon footprint.

Sony’s 2014 The Amazing Spider-Man 2 reportedly saved approximately $400,000 by introducing sustainability to their set, proving sustainability is not only healthy for our planet but also our wallets.

Here are our top 5 tips on how to introduce sustainability onto your film set, to create a brighter and greener future. 

5. Cut Back On Paper

Share invoices, schedules, and all printable assets digitally via email, Dropbox or Google Docs to reduce paper usage. Any film shoot can benefit greatly from a shared digital device for storing necessary information.

With a majority of cast and crew having a personal device to hand now, going paperless has never been easier, allowing cast and crew to collaborate remotely.

If printing is a necessity then strive to use recycled paper, print the content double sided and recycle again after use. 

Photo by Wesley Tingey on Unsplash

4. Be Commercially Aware

Are you receiving funding from a sponsor or partnering with a company? Be commercially aware of what their sustainability mission entails, are they a green company known for their environmental work?

Buying fair trade or locally sourced consumables for onset can go a long way in reducing your shoots carbon footprint while supporting the local economy. 

3. Do Not Disturb the Natural Environment / Wildlife

Be aware of the effects your presence and equipment could have on the surrounding wildlife, taking time to clean up behind yourselves and safely pack away all equipment. Aim to leave any film shoot location how you found it. 

If your shoot requires the filming of wildlife, try not to disturb any animals in this process by keeping a respectable distance, and not disturbing any habitats. 

Photo by Esteban Benites on Unsplash

2. Thrift Second Hand Props and Costumes

Thrifting is an excellent way to reduce your carbon footprint. Instead of purchasing from fast fashion companies try sourcing props and costumes second hand where you can. If you are particularly crafty then creating your own props and costumes is another great way to achieve sustainability. 

When you wrap filming, if your props or costumes are redundant, consider donating or selling them on to your fellow filmmakers to help them on their eco-friendly mission.

1. Donation

As well as sourcing biodegradable and locally sourced consumables, donating any left over food or drink to a local shelter is another step you could take to reduce waste, while giving back to the community and helping those in need.

If you are unable to donate leftovers to a local shelter, creating take away bags for cast and crew members is another great alternative.

Photo by Joel Muniz on Unsplash

Together We Can Work Smarter

Bigger budget productions have a greater impact on the environment but also have more resources to achieve sustainability. Large scale productions are able to hire eco-managers and sustainability coordinators to implement eco efficient practices. While smaller productions' sustainability typically falls on the producer's plate, they are already more economically efficient due to their smaller funding and resource restrictions.

We should all strive to create a more sustainable industry for ourselves and those to come, setting the example for the future generation of filmmakers. No matter the shoot budget or size we can all do our part in reducing our waste and carbon emissions, every small step forward is part of a much larger goal.

For more information regarding production sustainability and the UK film industry's current practices check the BFI website.

Bethany Vann