Green The Screen at BAFTA

On the 10th of April the BAFTA albert Consortium summed up 5 years of their sustainability work in film and television. Over 40 people gathered in The Princess Anne Theatre for the event, including representatives from Pinewood Studios, British Paté, Green Kit, BBC Worldwide among others. The panel of speakers was even more impressive. Contributors included Richard Smith (BBC), Gillian Lobo (ClientEarth), Debbie Manners (Keo Films), Suzanna Dolan (BBC, Eastenders), John Robertson (Lime Pictures) and Jeremy Mathieu (albert International Manager). The event was presented by Steve Smith- Chair of Directors UK.
The scope of the event was BAFTA albert Consortium’s strategic vision for environmentally sustainable TV and film industries, what has been achieved to date and how the industry can act to lessen its environmental impact.
So here are some highlights we found most interesting and most memorable:

1. Did you know that on the set of Hollyoaks staff can take home used parts of set design?
Lime Pictures have been successfully running a repurposing scheme where talent and crew are encouraged to take home anything they fancy before it all gets recycled.

2. Suzanna Dolan shared clips from Eastenders where sustainability is written into the script itself. Eastenders reach a wast audience with their message of promoting home recycling, smart energy meters and reusable coffee cups.

3. While on the subject of coffee cups; after a great success of their show ‘Hugh’s War on Waste’ K.E.O Films have something even more powerful in the pipeline. The trailer alone makes quite the impact.

4. Many questions where asked around the subject of sustainable catering, both on set and in production offices. There are some good news and some bad news. It has been proven that where there’s will there is a way and producers often request caterers to provide reusable plates, remove plastic bottles and use only reusable cutlery. On the other hand staffers will not be easily persuaded to forfeit meat for even one day a week.

5. And the best for last.  BAFTA albert Consortium are working with the BFI and Directors UK to roll out sustainability initiatives and Carbon Literacy training in the film industry. The next step for albert calculator is the addition of international production calculations.

 

Read More

The Ultimate Guide to Green Film Festivals

Weather you have already made your environmental documentary or you’ve only just started planning your first eco-friendly short, there are many exhibition and distribution organisations you should know about. To make your life easier we have combined the ultimate guide to green film festivals.

The USA

As one might expect there is a lot going on in the United States, mostly on a local level. We have found three well established film festivals but surely there are more of them out there.

Wild & Scenic Film Festival in Sierra Nevada

It’s the largest film festival of its kind. The Wild & Scenic Film Festival ‘leaves you feeling INSPIRED and MOTIVATED to go out and make a difference in your community and the world’.

Submissions for the January 2018 festival open May 15 and run through September 24. You can submit through FilmFreeway. The festival encourages adventure films and student level films as well as the environmental documentaries that are the main focus of the festival.

Environmental Film Festival, Washington

‘Founded in 1993, DCEFF is the longest-running environmental film festival in the United States. It has grown into a major collaborative, cultural event, both during the festival season and all year-round’

The festival is run by a charity and you can support it with your donations. Submissions will open in June and can be made directly on the festival’s website.

Colorado Environmental Film Festival

‘CEFF will screen features, shorts, films by foreign and local filmmakers and films by young filmmakers and for youth’.

The festival invites submissions from filmmakers of all ability levels and background. You can submit a feature or a short and there is even a youth category for under 19’s. The submission must be made vis Withoutabox

 

United Kingdom

UK Green Film Festival

UK Green Film Festival brings the very best of environmentally themed films from around the world to one of the UK’s largest cinema networks.

The festival is run as a charity so you can donate to support it. It has film screenings available all over the country but the submission is not easy. The festival doesn’t currently have a submissions process and you will need to contact them directly is you want your film entered into UK GFF.

Wildscreen Festival

‘The world’s leading international festival celebrating and advancing storytelling about the natural world’.

This festival has an incredible list of sponsors, including BBC Wildlife, National Geographic and WWF, to name just a few. If you submit to this festival, and get accepted, you will become a part of community of photographers, filmmakers and environmentalists who work together to make a real difference. And you would be judged by the industry leaders in wild life storytelling. Unfortunately there is no clear submission path of the festival’s website.

Mexico

Eco Film Festival

Held annually over the last 7 years this festival promotes ‘audiovisual production and ecological culture with Solutions that balance human beings in interaction with their environment’.

The registration for this festival is free and you can upload your film online or send a DVD to the festivals offices. Each year there is a different theme to the festival. The 2017 edition is Sustainable Eating.

France

Deauville Green Awards

This prestigious french film competition includes three categories: Spot, Corporate films and Documentary. The festival has over 300 submissions from 35 countries each year. The submission is free through registration on festival website. You can submit works of 2min or less in the Spot category, or feature length films in Documentary category.

 

Read More

How to save money (and energy) in Post production

Post production can be a lengthy and complicated process but there are simple measures you can take to prevent future post-production headaches. Here are a few of the most important tips we have found:

  • Rehearse, rehearse, rehearse.

Shooting digital gives filmmakers enormous creative freedom. SD cards democratised filmmaking as they are cheap and accessible to everyone. But the downside of this technology is the urge to shoot everything, to call action without much preparation. After all we can afford to shoot tons of footage, right? No. The more footage, especially the poorly planned, unnecessary takes you have, the longer it will take for your editor to make sense of it all.

In the ‘old days’ every foot of film was precious and so the preparation was key. The cast would rehearse, crew would plan each camera movement and each take would be carefully prepared so not a second of film was wasted. Now we tend to shoot a lot of takes before we even give actors a chance to get to know each other. Some indie directors tend to think that rehearsing the script takes away some ‘organic energy’ from the actors performances. But remember that acting is a job. Giving actors more chances to perform their lines and create rapport with each other can only be a good thing. Polishing performances before you call action can also save you a lot of grief in post production. Shoot only what you need after plenty of rehersals.

  •  Find a trusted script supervisor

Your script supervisor will take care of all the little continuity issues you might have on set. When asked, they can mark the takes you liked the most and make a note of your comments on particular scenes. That will make it much easier for you to find the best performances and best shots in post. She/he will also make sure you have covered everything the script requires.

Micro budget filmmakers have to cut costs, yes. But cutting this position might cost you more in post then you’ve expected. Without script supervisor you are risking re-shoots and lengthy conversations with your editor, who might find the shots don’t match, there’s no coverage you of what comes next or no footage of what you thought you have shot already.

  •  Talk to your editor before you call action

Preparation is key. I bet you’ve already heard the therm ‘shoot for the editor’ but if you are not an editor yourself it’s best to ask for some input first. Talk to your editor before you start sooting. Create your shot list with them. Experienced editor can tell you right away weather your planned shots will work for your scene.  They might propose another angle, different type of coverage, or realise you’ll need more footage for a transition from scene to scene. Good editor sees the film in a different way, they’ve got their own perspective. Find someone who cares about your project and wants to actively and creatively assist you in fulfilling your vision. That person isn’t necessarily the most experienced or expensive editor you can find. Don’t settle for someone who doesn’t ‘get you’. It’s your film and it deserves to be edited by someone who believes in it. If your editor helps you with preparation they’re already half way through the lengthy process of assessing and sorting out the footage in post.

  •  Don’t leave a tail

Avoid running the camera for too long before the action starts. Don’t leave too much of a tail after you cut either. The editor will watch all your footage so just imagine having to watch several seconds of nothing before every single take! Depending on the number of clips you have that can amount to a substantial loos of valuable time in post.

Read More

5 Tips for filming in natural light

The Twilight Saga: Eclipse , 2010. Cinematographer: Javier Aguirresarobe

The use of artificial lighting is, in may ways, the quintessential part of cinematography. It’s through lighting that the mood and look of the film is created but it’s also where the majority of carbon footprint often comes from.  If you have to shoot without lighting setup there is no reason to panic. You might be surprised by the quality that can be achieved. There are many examples of films beautifully shot without the use of set lighting. Some where filmed this way out of necessity others due to artistic choice.  Most recent example is The Revenant. Incredible cinematic experience worthy of an oscar. Alejandro González Iñárritu consciously decided to film with natural light only. He designed the production in a way that best utilised the beauty of locations and time of day. Emmanuel Lubezki, one of the most talented cinematographers of his generation, used light diffusers, blockers and reflectors to capture the scenes of The Revenant and it’s not the first time Lubezki’s cinematography earned him an oscar without any help from artificial lighting. In 2007 he received the award for Children of Men.
Alfonso Cuarón wanted his world to be as realistic as possible hence no electrical lighting used on location. One could argue that it was through the lack of lighting that the mood of the film, dark and ominous, has been achieved. The dystopian future look, with desaturated tones, worked beautifully when combined with handheld camera movement. So it is definitely possible to achieve great results with natural light. It takes a lot of work and careful planning but it is possible.  Many avant-garde movements, like cinema verite or dogma 95, embraced the idea of natural shooting to purposely distance themselves from the artifice of Hollywood. European cinema might be a great example where limitations of the budgets where the reason for using smaller setups. Finally there is sustainable filming and low carbon practices. Through a conscientious decision to limit the lighting on set, using LED lights or choosing well lit locations, you can severely reduce your CO2 emissions.

Here are our 5 tips for shooting with natural light:

1 Invest in fast lenses, neutral density filters and polarising filters.

Shooting in natural light gets rather difficult when there’s either too much or too little of it. Make sure your equipment can handle low light and high light conditions. Use polarising filters to remove any glaire and unwanted reflections and ND filters when the light is too bright. When shooting in low light it’s best to keep your ISO within the manufacturers specified native ISO. It helps with noise levels. Some cameras work best with specific ISO and it’s best to test your camera for noise levels before you shoot. For more advice on low light shooting look here.

2 Light blockers, flags and reflectors.

Using sunlight for filming can dramatically reduce your carbon footprint but it’s not easy to take control over your scene lighting without flags, reflectors and diffusers. These can be portable and light or chunky and heavy, so if your main priority is C02 reduction think of how it will affect your transport arrangements. If you plan to DIY your blockers or use mirrors as reflectors make sure they are sturdy and keep a member of staff in charge of safety.

3 Use a sun tracker

Never miss the magic hour and take control over your production with a variety of sun tracking apps. It’s easier to always have the sun as back light when you know exactly where it’ll be positioned at a certain time of day.

4 Make continuity your priority

The sun is fickle and can change in minutes. Make sure you keep an eye on your levels to avoid jarring light changes from shot to shot. Make sure you’re looking for continuity of lighting between your close up and mid, for example. Think how it’ll look in edit and try giving your audience a chance to understand the conditions. Use wide shots clearly showing the moving shadows or establishing shots with moving clouds etc…It will make your editors job much easier.

5 Reduce contrast

Get rid of any contrast boosting settings on your camera. Shoot as flat as possible to preserve the information in the shadows and brights.  Use all available meters, histogram and zebra stripes to judge the brightness of your scene. Make sure you shoot with nice, flat levels.

 

 

 

Read More

Small changes- big difference

How much carbon footprint is in a can of beer? Not literally but you know, production, transportation, refrigeration of the stuff. And container production, recycling, transport again…how costly is our indulgence? And can a personal choice of drink even make a difference?

As a company we try to find out what we can do to make a difference so here is some data for consideration:

330-mL can of Coca-Cola sold in Great Britain has a carbon footprint of 170g

330-mL can of Diet Coke or Coke Zero has a footprint of 150g since it doesn’t contain sugar. Cans are sturdy and the UK recycles about 57% of aluminium cans in circulation.

Read More