Filmmaking could easily be considered an unsustainable business. It requires a huge amount of energy and resources throughout the production process – from the endless paper documents to high-powered lighting, generators and lots of transport.
As a video production company that cares about the environment, we spend a lot of time thinking about how we can be more sustainable. Here’s a guide to how the TopLine Film team ensures sustainable film production.
Cutting down on paper
At TopLine Film, we consider sustainability right from the offset by trying to limit the amount of paper that we use. During the pre-production stage, we draft production notes, storyboards, scripts and call sheets digitally. These are stored in the cloud and accessible collectively by the team. Completed documents are also sent via email or secure web links to our clients. Annotations are made to drafts digitally and feedback is either given verbally or over email. Even documents which require signatures like client contracts and participant release forms are sent digitally, and signed for via an e-signature using an electronic device.
Of course, when necessary, we do print some documents. For example, back up call sheets for shoots, or carnets (“passports” for our equipment) when travelling abroad. However, we always print as few copies as possible, and make sure they’re double-sided to ensure no paper is wasted. We also recycle these documents after a shoot.
Consider the crew’s transport
Rather than having all of the crew driving to and from shoots, we always try and consider who can share transport or take public transport. This not only saves on car parking but reduces our carbon footprint too. For smaller shoots in London with minimal kit, we normally take public transport such as the bus or tube to reduce our carbon footprint.
Speaking of cars, we also recommend upgrading your company van or car to a hybrid. Our company car is a hybrid, which is especially useful being based in London. The city is working to remove high emission cars by encouraging free parking in certain areas for electric cars, as well as free charging. It’s a win-win.
In addition, our editors, animators and producers are given the opportunity to work from home twice a week. This further reduces our carbon foot print as there is no need for them to commute when working remotely.
Eliminating single use plastic on set
We love coffee and get through countless cups of it throughout the day – we believe it’s the key to a happy and productive crew! But we know how bad takeaway coffee cups are for the environment, so we use reusable coffee cups where possible. Reusable cups are great when you’re on the move, and you can use them again and again – even our editors back at the office have started using them! And don’t forget, some coffee shops give you discount if you have one.
The same rule applies for plastic water bottles on location. It’s important to stay hydrated, but these plastic water bottles often get misplaced or jumbled up, and new ones are opened. We encourage our crew to bring their own reusable water bottles with their names on them to avoid confusion and keep our plastic consumption low.
Without the right lighting, our videos would look flat and boring. However, we also appreciate the importance of powering down lights during lunch breaks and coffee stops. Some lights consume a lot of energy and it’s important to be wary of this when on location.
Our editors get really stuck into client projects at TopLine Film, and it’s very tempting to leave an edit project open on our computers after a shift so that we can hit the ground running in the morning. However, we make sure we switch our computers off overnight to save on our power consumption.