sustainability in film and tv
Making it look like summer in mid-January, and other sustainability thoughts from the Pillow Talk set
Pillow Talk, Episode 3: I guess I'll do it myself, then
Pillow Talk is a series made by and for millennials (without any condescending meta-jokes about millennials). We’re addressing issues like employment insecurity, anxiety about the future, and the difficulty associated with finding one’s place in the world. We are also obviously very aware of the sustainability implications of film production: our producer is writing this flanked by her reusable frank green coffee cup (which she would highly recommend) and stainless steel water bottle.
The film and TV production industry is far from sustainable. BAFTA estimate that a single hour of television produces 13 metric tons of carbon dioxide, as much as the average American generates in a year, and the average feature film produces thousands of tons of CO2. Production can also have direct environmental impacts: it disturbs habitats, produces sound and light pollution, and generates waste.
albert was founded in 2011 to help those working in film and TV to understand our opportunities to create positive environmental change, both by tackling our own environmental impact and by inspiring our audiences to live more sustainably.
We’ve used albert’s carbon calculator to calculate our impact on the environment. We’re predicted to produce around 2.32 tonnes of carbon dioxide per hour of finished film, so around 1.35 tonnes total. We’re lucky that the small scale of our production means that our emissions are likely to be limited, but we’re still working to bring them down even further.
Here are some examples of actions we’re taking to mitigate our environmental impact:
1) Energy-efficient lights! The light that gives the sunlight in Stella’s bedroom (an Arri M18, for anybody who is particularly curious) and the lights that fake Matthieu’s bedroom light in Episode 6 (yes, you heard it here first, we’ve been lying to you all along) are all chosen for their energy efficiency. The M18, for example, runs off mains power and gives 92 lumens per watt (our Director of Photography tells me that’s very good).
2) Sustainable food preparation. We’re providing catering for all crew and cast while on set, meaning that we’re drastically reducing the amount of packaging and food waste compared to each company member bringing their own pre-packaged lunch. The majority of the food we prepare is also vegan!
3) Set and prop sourcing. The majority of our props, set pieces and costumes are sourced from charity shops or the casts’ own wardrobes. We’re therefore avoiding the emissions associated with producing clothing plus the waste of throwing those clothes away once they’ve been used.
4) Car shares. We aim to use public transport wherever possible, but when we can’t (for example, when transporting kit) we make sure to share the ride.
5) Recycling. It’s an oldie but a goodie. We limit the amount of paper we use by sending out scripts and call sheets online (and use paper from recycled sources!), but any paper that we do use is recycled.
6) Using mains power. This may not sound like the most sustainable choice ever, but compare it to using diesel generators instead…!
7) Offsetting any emissions that we can’t control. Carbon offsetting involves investing in schemes that remove greenhouse gases from the atmosphere. Once we’ve measured our final carbon footprint, we’ll be offsetting the value of that carbon footprint.