A New Screen Deal –mapping the path to sustainable film production

Sargent-Disc’s partner, BAFTA albert, with the BFI and Arup, has published A New Screen Deal; a report providing a practical road map to help film productions adopt new approaches and processes to reduce their environmental footprint.

The Covid-19 lockdown contributed to improving the UK’s air quality across our cities. Factory and road traffic emissions were reduced across the board – from carbon dioxide (CO2), nitrogen oxides and ozone formation to particulate matter. Global air traffic dropped by 60%.

The reduction in carbon-generating manufacture processes, services and products makes a huge difference to the planet – even temporarily. A joined-up strategy together with policy and behavioural changes will help the UK meet its 2050 net-zero carbon emission target.

Today A New Screen Deal providing both a vision and practical road map to help film productions reduce the substantial levels of carbon they create. 

Arup analysed sustainability data from 19 features filmed in the UK and US over the last five years, with budgets of $70million+. Research found that productions generally under-reported their resource consumption and carbon footprint – or did not report it at all.  Where data was available, the average big budget production generated 2840 tonnes of CO2 – 50% from fuel consumption, 30% from production energy-utilities and 16% by air travel.

A New Screen Deal calls for the introduction of an accepted standard to measure a film production’s carbon footprint – to make it easier for productions to monitor their impact. Digital collaboration processes, better end-of-life planning and the right infrastructure at studio sites are all fundamental to supporting sustainable production, it concludes.

The report is extremely timely. Next year the UK will host the 26th ‘Conference of the Parties’ climate summit (COP26) and will adopt the presidency of the G7. In 2019 the UK production sector saw huge growth, with film and high-end TV production spend of exceeding £3.6bn. The first quarter of 2020 showed that UK production spend was close to £1bn.  As productions restart after being suspended due to the pandemic, the projected growth of the film industry makes a shift towards more sustainable practices even more urgent.

Encouragingly, since lockdown and the publishing of the Working Safely During COVID-19 in Film and High-end TV Drama Production guidance, Sargent-Disc has seen a marked increase in the uptake of digital production processes including our low carbon Digital Production Office® workflows and applications, including Digital Payroll Workflow, CrewStart Workflow, DPO, the Production Card and PSL+.

Our research shows that using DPO alone can save almost a tonne of carbon on an average large budget production, whilst using CrewStart for onboarding and contracting can save between 10,000 – 25,000 sheets of paper on a production employing 350 crew.

Download A New Screen Deal here.