sustainable film production
Date published: 13 Oct 2023
Alexander Chadwick

Sustainable film and TV production  

The film industry is enormous and is growing at an astounding rate. The size and rapid growth of the industry are having a negative environmental impact. If you’re on the search for ideas to create a sustainable film production, read on.

How does the film industry impact the environment?  

Local damage  

Most productions are filmed on location. Generally, large numbers of cast and crew settle in areas for short periods and erect sets, install props and tamper with the environment, leaving lots of rubbish, pollution, trampled ground and damaged animal habitats. 

Use of resources 

Lots of film and TV sets use plywood to build sets, due to its light weight. It is easy to paint and work with, and even easier to put up and down. For that reason, it is favoured in the industry even though the production of plywood is heavily linked to deforestation in India’s rainforests.

Emissions 

One single hour of TV produced in the UK produces 13 metric tonnes of carbon emissions. The average feature-length film film produces around 500 tonnes of carbon emissions. Emissions can be cut significantly by making a few small changes to your production.

Longterm impacts on biodiversity  

The film industry destroys some locations. Maya Bay on Ko Phi Phi is one of the most famous cases of this. The pollution from the filming of The Beach (2000) was just the beginning. The film attracted millions of tourists who left behind litter and used boats to enter the bay. Not only that, but the high tourist numbers began destroying the coral reef, marine ecosystem and the plants that covered the island. 

What is being done to improve sustainability in the film industry?  

The British Film Institute recently set out a sustainability strategy for the film sector. The ten-year plan outlines the journey the UK film industry can make to be net zero. The BFI has also pledged to manage waste, lower energy and resource consumption, use renewable energy and encourage biodiversity.  

Lots of the world’s influential production houses, including Disney, Netflix and Sony are working towards establishing the Green Protection Guide. This aims to lessen the film and TV industries’ negative environmental impact. 

How can we help to produce sustainable film and TV?

We’ve worked on many films and TV productions, from large set-down areas for trucks and trailers, to access roads and even landing pads for large cranes and lighting towers. 

Our trackways help to minimise environmental impact and preserve green space. They do this by weight distribution of heavy vehicles and equipment, lessening soil erosion, and allowing grass and vegetation to breathe and receive water. Our ground protection mats are made from recycled HDPE and Aluminium. They allow habitats around the set to flourish and go undisrupted by production.

Although we can only help with trackway and ground support, it’s a big step to making a more sustainable film production.

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