How to Shoot Commercials and Save the Turtles

This World Wildlife Day, MTP are looking at how we can all do our bit in helping keep our productions as green as possible. Whether it’s limiting waste and carbon emissions on set, buying props second-hand, or filming local, small changes can make a big difference. With numerous initiatives in already motion, including BAFTA’s albert and their partner AdGreen, doing our bit has never been simpler. Read on to find out more about the changes we can all make to contribute to a sustainable present for a greener future.

1. Travel

We all know that trains, planes and automobiles are a significant contributor to carbon emissions. There are many ways to keep travel and emissions low, such as hiring local crew or using electric and hybrid vehicles, but read on for a biggie.

  • Oftentimes international filming is unavoidable, but before including specific international locations and inevitable air miles in your script, think local. Read our latest blog on how Glencoe can double as New Zealand, Norway, Eastern North America or Greenland. With diverse and dramatic locations right on our doorstep in the UK, that perfect location might be closer to home than you think.

2. Disposal

Keeping landfill to a minimum is ever simpler these days with sophisticated disposal systems, scores of registered waste management companies and a growing drive within the industry to repurpose materials, from sets to costumes. While it’s a given that productions should operate recycling stations on set, what to do with those harder to recycle items?

  • Filming has wrapped and you’re left with a set, props and costumes you no longer need. Instead of going to landfill first, think rehome and reuse. With scores of sites like Set Exchange offering freecycling within the Film & TV industry, it’s never been easier.
  • Hazardous and chemical waste from productions can seriously harm the planet and local wildlife. Companies like Hazgreen are here to help safely dispose of hazardous waste such as paint and aerosols, with the aim to turn them into recyclable materials.
  • Eyes bigger than your tummy? You can donate any catering leftovers to companies like Fareshare, who redistribute extras to charities to be turned into meals.

3. Power 

Power makes a production go round, but by making small changes like switching out diesel for solar or bulbs for LED lights, you can still power your set without compromising the planet.

  • Using a generator? Why not switch out your diesel generator with a greener alternative. With countless companies such as Hybrid Power Hire and Green Voltage running on renewable energy sources such as solar, it’s easy as 1, 2, 3!
  • You can’t run a production without lights, camera, action, but your lights needn't cost the planet. Many suppliers including Arri offer several LED and LEL (low energy lighting) ranges. You can find a full list of suppliers here.
  • While zero emissions are unavoidable, you can offset these emissions for a greener production. Using albert’s online carbon calculator alongside the upcoming 2021 AdGreen carbon calculator, you can predict carbon emissions to ensure budget is set aside to offset unavoidable emissions at the end of production.

4. Go Reusable

With plastic and paper ever being phased out in favour of reusable alternatives, progress is being made. From use of paperless online systems for sharing documents such as scripts, rushes and edits to water bottles, water coolers and biodegradable plates and cutlery like Vegware, eco choices are at the forefront of our minds. However, if you can’t go recycled, go recyclable.

  • If you are unable to use wood from pre-existing sets, try to source PEFC and FSC certified timber.
  • Always look out for low and zero VOC paints. They’re less hazardous to the local environment and sustainable.
  • Need to lay down floor protection on location? Don’t think correx, try reusable mats such as Locamats, keeping your floors squeaky clean and protecting the environment at the same time.
  • Why not try picking up props and costumes from local charities? You can even freecycle them when you’re done.

5. Education

The climate crisis isn’t going away. The most important step is continuing to remain active participants in conversations on how to make productions greener. With AdGreen and albert offering free sustainable production training, alongside their expansive offering of resources, including a full sustainable suppliers list, it’s up to us to make screens greener, now and in the future.