As a camera crew working across the industry, we understand how challenging it can be to bring our environmentally friendly practices from home into work. To promote best sustainable practices within the department, the Camera Branch’s Sustainability working group has designed a handy guide to be shared amongst crew.
This document can be used as inspiration or a framework for developing your team’s practices from prep right through until de-rig. This will cover everything from discussions with production, to suggestions for re-usable consumables, minimising waste and efficient power consumption.
Thanks very much,
This document was created by working camera assistants within the BECTU Camera Branch for guidance in developing sustainable practices within the industry. Crew members may use it as inspiration for building their own set of practices, which will
naturally adapt between each job and team.
The unique situation faced during the current Coronavirus crisis will undoubtedly pose both challenges and opportunities to shift our working practices to more sustainable methods. Priority should be given to all health and safety advice. However, we hope this document can begin to encourage both action and dialogue.
When working within high pressured and demanding environments, we often find it difficult to change practices, attitudes and behaviors in relation to sustainability.
However, recent developments in understanding the Climate and Ecological crisis has been fuelling change worldwide. It is vitally important that our industry takes active steps to mitigate that risk through collective action.
Change can happen if we unite as crew. We must challenge out-dated and wasteful
practices to encourage sustainability throughout the industry.
Attention should be given to share new responsibilities amongst all members of the camera team, in order to develop department-wide awareness and action.
Pre-Production is fundamental to establishing key sustainable practices. The procedures developed before entering the test room set the scene for the shoot ahead.
Before prep you can begin to discuss best practices for the job ahead. Share this document and attempt to create a Green Manifesto for the camera department. We suggest all members of the camera department complete albert training.*AP4
Discussions with Production Department
Enquire Make production aware that your camera team is acting to reduce it’s environmental impact. Request information on production’s environmental policies. *AP2
Consumables Inform Production that you would like to order reusable items for your stores. The initial order may be slightly higher but subsequent top ups will be much lower. Alternatively if providing some personal reusable stores, initial order will be lower.
Digital Paperwork Discuss possible workflow and distribution of digital paperwork for the job.
Dietary Choices Meat production is a heavy emitter of greenhouse gases, and a huge drain on resources. Consider requesting vegetarian meals. Perhaps support meat-free days or similar initiatives to reduce the amount of meat purchased.
Water Bottles If production are supplying reusable water bottles, only order water bottles for crew members that need them.
Blue Shoe Covers If shoes covers are required to protect locations, ask if more durable
alternatives to single-use plastic covers can be supplied. If not, maybe you can keep some clean indoor shoes on the camera truck.
Recycling Bin Request a recycling bin for your truck and enquire about the production’s recycling procedures.
Discussions with Rental House
Enquire Ask about the rental house’s sustainable initiatives.
Packaging Discuss with the rental house whether they package their cables and filters etc in plastic or paper. If plastic is the norm, request kit is supplied unpackaged.
Recycling Request recycling bins for waste in prep room.
Paperwork Digitise your paper work. For example, digital report sheets, Ins & Outs, etc. Perhaps create a shared digital folder for ease of access for all members of the team.
Tape Minimise excessive use of tape and plastic label makers by being more flexible about what truly requires waterproof and printed labels. Perhaps the boxes that will largely remain on the truck only need simple colour coding and stencil labels. Use non-plastic eco-tape or half-inch tape as much as possible.
Personal Snack Packaging Consider ordering items with minimal plastic packaging/in large quantities for long jobs. This can save time, money and is also great for running a ‘Snack Kitty’.
Mobile Charging Station Devise a mobile charging station (perhaps a junior Magliner). Hook up to mains power as much as possible to reduce generator emissions and fuel consumption.
Consumables Order reusable consumables as much as possible.
Wet Weather Cover Create reusable waterproof covers for cameras and accessories that will last for years by using glass tarps or another tough material. Buy long lasting shower caps for the job.
Runners & Riders Create a clear plastic pouch for your paper R&Rs to live in on the side of camera to save using waterproof tape every morning.
Floor Marks Clean and revive old floor marks with soap, water and fresh tape.
Filter Tabs Order relevant reusable filter tabs for the job to save more tape and time.
Batteries Order rechargeable batteries (AA, AAA, 9V) and chargers from stores. Dispose of any old non-rechargable batteries responsibly.
As shooting begins, the practices we have now formulated during prep lay a firm foundation for maintaining a sustainable on set environment.
The environmental values we hold at home should naturally follow into our working lives. We should not be led to feeling ashamed of making changes where needed to help tackle our climate and ecological crisis. We must endeavour to share new ideas and practices amongst crew members and other departments.
Travel Carshare, cycling and use of public transport have many advantages such as saving expenditure, gaining health benefits and a large reduction in CO2 emissions. (Transportation is the largest contributor to greenhouse gas emissions on a production) (Coronavirus dependent)
Reusable Containers & Cutlery Bring with you reusable food containers, crockery, cutlery and drink containers.
Coffee Consider buying filter coffee in bulk during prep. Single-use coffee pods have a high environmental cost and should be avoided entirely. Even recycling these products correctly can be harmful due to high energy usage and environmental impact of plastic production and recycling.
Batteries Prioritise mains power where possible. Take batteries off charge once they’re at full capacity in order to reduce power consumption and decrease carbon emissions. Use the portable charging station developed in prep.
Dailies Crew Inform all dailies in advance that your department is maintaining a sustainable working policy (perhaps share this document as a starting point). Share your digital paperwork so that they can familiarise themselves with any relevant apps and remind them to bring any reusable food/drinks containers and wet weather gear to minimise waste.
Poly Bags If occassionally giving poly bags to other departments as a favour, ask them to label it, clean and reuse it as much as possible in line with your department’s low-waste initiatives.
Once production is over, it is important to carry through your ethical practices whilst de-rigging and cleaning equipment at the rental house. On longer jobs, this may seem almost effortless after months of practice.
Velcro While in de-rig discuss with your rental house whether or not they would prefer velcro and Dual Lock to be left on, minimising waste.
Cloths Use washable non plastic cleaning cloths as much as possible to save wasting blue roll.
Aerosols Clean kit with soapy water to minimise use of toxic aerosols and chemicals where possible.
Less excessive labelling in prep will be additionally rewarding at this point.
Consumables As well as unused consumables, keep (or give back to Production) any partially used consumables.
Labels Keep and re-use any particularly neat and hardy labels for other jobs where appropriate.
(eg. reusing labels for ‘Wide Primes’, ‘Tight Primes’ and ‘Viewfinder’ for commercial jobs)
Through becoming a more sustainable industry we are doing our part in reducing the earth’s carbon emissions and attempting to avoid the most devastating impacts of the climate and ecological crisis.
Appendix 1: kit and consumables
Reduce and Re-use In-depth
If there are no other options, and you’re having to purchse Items from Amazon, then be aware of : https://smile.amazon.co.uk - It works as a way to shop through Amazon whilst donating 0.5% of your product to a charity of your choice. To use this site you must always go via the SMILE page before choosing and purchasing your Amazon item. - Options for hundreds of charities including The Climate Coalition
Eco gaffer tape
(When ordering from Lemarks be sure to ask for all tape to be free from plastic packaging. We’ve known them to individually wrap each roll of eco tape in single use plastic, defeating the purpose. We also would like to note that they don’t currently stock the colour Red, when making the order add a request for making this available in the future.)
Amazon - https://tinyurl.com/y7jczhz5
Amazon - https://tinyurl.com/y8ljclfw
Hand Warmers (Zippo or USB powered)
Protective shoe covers
Protective shoe cover alternatives
https://www.allbirds.co.uk - Indoor shoes, slightly costly though good wearing and comfortable
Blue Star Eyepiece Covers
Buy 3 Eyepiece covers per camera, rotate and wash every couple of days. Discuss possibilities of including these in laundry with wardrobe, if this isn’t possible then these can be washed at home in a cotton bag with your clothes.
Wet weather gear
Make simple rainproof covers for video transmitters and receivers with reusable materials. Structure should be simple so that they can fit a variety of models. A square envelope style design with velcro or a bongo tie at the bottom usually works well. (suggested materials & how-to’s to be available in the future)
Non Toxic Cleaning materials - Eco Sponges / Scouring Pads / liquids
Replace 3M wipes with Rubbing alcohol and lens cloth. Purchase and decant into refillable spray bottle for use on set.
Silicone Sandwich Bags
Reusable silicone ear pieces
Hardy and padded zip cases (to replace larger PVC plastic pouches for small accs & monitors)
Food containers, cultery and flasks
Camera Report Sheets
Mobile and Tablet Applications
Appendix 2: Letter - part 1
This template has been curated by assistants to send to productions before a job begins. It outlines how your department intends to proceed sustainably through the production ahead. This is only a template, make sure you read through this thoroughly and adapt it
Dear (Insert production name),
Please find attached the 'Camera Department Sustainability' document which is supported and advocated by this Camera Department. This document was created by working camera assistants for guidance in developing sustainable practices within the industry. As an environmentally conscious team concerned with the effects of
the Climate and Ecological crisis, we will be using it as a template to develop our own sustainable practices across the duration of this production.
With this pledge, we also hope that we can encourage (insert production name) to consider similar solutions in their decision making. Understandably, there will be some difficulty being 100% sustainably focused with the services productions are required to offer. However, with this commitment, we offer a collaborative effort to create sustainable solutions together to face the issues of waste that our department is responsible for.
We are striving to be a zero waste department and with that in mind, we would request your assistance with the following:
Consumables – In order to minimise waste, we guarantee to only order what is absolutely necessary and will prioritise the use of our own stores and kit. This will in turn reduce the cost on production. However, in order to encourage the use of reusable and less wasteful products, we may request production’s support in the purchasing of certain items, of which the initial cost may be higher than that of the traditional throw away alternative. We do believe however that across the duration of the production this reuse of items will save on costs.
Digital Paperwork – We would ask production’s collaboration to ensure all paperwork is digital rather than paper (where possible). We are happy to discuss templates, workflow and any other practicalities to be considered.
Dietary Choices – As a team we are aiming to reduce our meat consumption to reduce the associated environmental impacts. We would give our support to any discussions of reduced meat consumption on set, or a specified meat free day per week (as has already been trialled with great success on other jobs such as The Crown).
Water Bottles / Reusable Coffee Cups – If reusable water bottles or coffee cups are to be supplied, please let us know so we can calculate the correct amount (many of our team already have them so do not need new ones).
Reusable Food Containers and Cutlery – We would ask production to consider supplying individuals with reusable items (for those who do not already own them). This will reduce waste and amount of disposables needed which will save money across the duration of the shoot.
Blue Shoe Covers – If Blue Shoe covers are required, we would request reusable alternatives which we will take responsibility to look after.
Recycling Bin – We would request a recycling bin for the truck and advise on best procedure for returning recyclables.
Crew Gifts – If crew gifts are to be provided, we would request the opportunity to opt out or reduce, in order to minimise waste if not needed. Additionally we would kindly request that production consider sustainable/ethically produced gifts.
It is our belief that a beneficial change can happen if we unite as crew. To do this, we must challenge out-dated and wasteful practices to encourage sustainability throughout this industry. Over the duration of this production, it is our hope that we can all work together to effectively minimise our impact on the environment. We can provide assistance in sourcing these items so please don't hesitate to ask.
We look forward to discussing this collaboration further and are eager to develop this sustainable relationship together.
Appendix 3: Graphs and data
Appendix 4: Links
More useful links
Carbon Offsetting https://mossy.earth
Climate Solutions https://drawdown.org/
Future Free Plastic https://www.breakfreefromplastic.org/
Bank checker https://www.earthdayswitch.org
albert training https://wearealbert.org/online-training
Green Shoot http://www.greenshoot.com
CUT IT https://www.cutit.org.uk
Extinction Rebellion https://rebellion.earth
The Story of Plastics - https://www.storyofplastic.org
Before the Flood (2016 Disney Plus / National Geographic)- https://www.beforetheflood.com
Climate Change - The Facts (2019 BBC IPlayer)
Panorama Climate Change - What Can We Do? (2019 BBC IPlayer)
An Inconvenient Truth (2006 Amazon)
An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power (2017)
Trashed (2013 Amazon)
The Game Changers (2018 Netflix)
War on Plastic with Hugh and Anita (2019 BBC)
Chasing Ice (2012)
Our Planet (BBC)
7 Worlds 1 Planet (BBC 2019)
Screening Green - https://podcasts.apple.com/gb/podcast/screening-green/id1515078756
So Hot Right Now - https://podcasts.apple.com/za/podcast/so-hot-right-now/id1513199677
Outrage + Optimism - https://globaloptimism.com/podcast/
Force of Nature - https://www.forceofnature.xyz/podcast
The Journey Towards Sustainable FIlmmaking https://www.theaco.net/qa-05-august-the-journey-towards-sustainable-filmmaking/
Please find the original PDF document attached:
Let us know your feedback and how you are keeping the set green in the comments below!