Behind the screen

Many of the environmental impacts associated with the screen production industry relate to activities behind the screen, such as makeup, wardrobe, art department, lighting, sound and camera, and post-production. Below are suggestions for minimising the environmental impacts associated with many of the behind screen activities.


Replace studio and portable lighting with lower-wattage, longer life, cool lamps or energy-efficient alternatives such as fluorescents.
When planning a location shoot, investigate whether it is possible to use locally available power sources to reduce the use of generators. In New Zealand around 2/3 of our energy is generated from renewable resources, using a locally available power source to reduce generators use will significantly reduce the carbon footprint of a production.
Investigate the use of Biodiesel generators. The use cleaner fuel, generate less emissions and are becoming more readily available. This is another direct action that will reduce the carbon footprint of a production. Use dimmers to rest lights between scenes rather than switching individual lights on and off.
When hiring equipment, ask for the most energy efficient options available.
Provide energy efficient task lighting for work areas on location e.g. wardrobe, art etc.
Use textiles stretched on frames instead of sheets of polystyrene to bounce light.
Provide clearly labelled containers for consumables such as polygel that can be used for the next production.

Changing from tungsten to fluorescent lamps and cool lights especially designed for film studio work can reduce electricity use for lighting by up to 80%. The lamps last 10 times longer and are cooler. Working conditions under fluorescent lights are more comfortable reducing the need for air conditioning.


In 2007 the television series 24 began working towards achieving carbon neutrality for the production by using biodiesel for generators, purchasing ‘green’ (renewable) energy from the LA power grid, rewiring an entire stage to run 100% of electricity as opposed to being supplemented by diesel generators and introducing hybrid vehicles to the production fleet. The production also produced a series of advertisements on global warming featuring the cast, and incorporated global warming issues into the storylines wherever possible.

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