When the filmmaking standards were established around a century ago, cost efficiency was king. Unfortunately, this, combined with the production of videos being a highly resource-intensive task, led the industry pretty off-track in terms of sustainability.
But, as times are changing, so is filmmaking. And, as sustainability takes a more centre-stage position in business, video production standards started shifting towards more eco-friendly solutions.
We know that changing the processes you relied on for some time isn’t easy. So if you’re unsure how to start, we’ll show you a few simple changes you can implement to create a more sustainable video production.
Why is sustainability important in video production?
We’re sure you’ll agree that filmmaking is awesome and, ideally, we’d only concern ourselves with video production’s creative possibilities and challenges. But we can’t do any of that without a planet.
On a more serious note, you might not think that the film industry is that far behind in terms of sustainability. After all, our ideas of climate change and environmental issues are usually linked with the imagery of industrial chimneys or oil extraction pumps.
But traditional production of videos can leave much to be desired in the context of sustainability. It often involves a lot of resources, such as electricity, water, and various plastics used in props and prosthetics. Using these in excess can have a negative environmental impact and is not sustainable.
While some resource consumption is expected, reducing the carbon footprint and waste created by video production doesn’t have to get in the way of quality. On the contrary, creating first-rate films through sustainable video production is an attainable goal we should all aim for.
Guide on How to Make a Sustainable Video Production
Estimate and plan your carbon footprint
Calculating a carbon footprint estimate in pre-production is a great way to set your project on the right track. Knowing how much energy you plan on using will help you make the right decision as the production begins.
Educate your crew
Keeping your production sustainable is much easier if you’re not the only one putting in the good fight. Make sustainability briefs or training a part of your pre-production planning, and consider hiring a sustainable production specialist.
Look for eco-friendly options
When purchasing new items for your production, look for eco-friendly options. This could mean having reusable coffee cups and water bottles for the crew and using easily recyclable materials.
Utilise digital solutions
Digital solutions are another great way of reducing the environmental impact of video production. For example, you can drastically reduce paper usage by sending documents via email or sharing them through a cloud-based system.
As a result of the pandemic, most people are used to working and collaborating from home. Lean on this advantage and replace unnecessary car and plane trips with remote meetings where possible. Additionally, you can rely on many phone apps to manage your production and carry out smaller, everyday tasks.
Use stock video and UGC
While nothing beats shooting your own professional footage, consider using stock footage and user-generated content where necessary. For example, if you’re shooting a social media ad campaign, using stock video and UGC can spruce up your project without the extra emission (and costs).
Reuse and recycle materials
Whenever possible, reuse and recycle materials used in the production process. If you need new props, costumes or equipment – try to rent.
If you decide to invest, try to buy long-lasting, high-quality equipment you can reuse in the future. This will be great for both your long-term financial and carbon footprint budgets.
Ensure that as much of your equipment as possible is energy-efficient and/or powered by renewable energy. For example, opt for LED lighting instead of tungsten alternatives and choose eco-friendly, rechargeable batteries. You can also switch to battery or solar-powered generators where possible.
Furthermore, keep an eye on lights, gear and computers, and ensure they’re turned off when not needed, especially overnight. This can go a long way in reducing the environmental impact of your production.
Minimise water usage
Water is often a significant component of video production but can also be a major resource waste. To minimise water usage, consider ways to reduce water consumption, such as using water-saving fixtures or recycled water.
Suggest carbon offsetting
Consider signing your video production company for a carbon offsetting program or suggest it to your higher-ups. This step might not be possible for smaller companies, but if you work for a larger production studio, your suggestion can bring them closer to becoming carbon neutral.
Creating sustainable video production is an important step in reducing the environmental impact of the production process. By following the steps above, you can ensure that your production is eco-friendly and resource-efficient.
Our video production company in Manchester adopts many of these solutions ourselves! We can all help conserve resources and create a more environmentally-friendly production process by making sustainable video production a priority.