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Eco-Screens: How the Film Industry Can Turn Green for Earth Day

John Mahtani

24 Apr 2024

Each year on April 22, Earth Day celebrates the achievements of the environmental movement and raises awareness of critical environmental issues. Initiated in 1970, this global event has inspired millions to advocate for the planet's protection. In the spirit of Earth Day, the film and TV production industry, spearheaded by initiatives from companies like Drylab Media Tech, is making significant strides towards sustainability by adopting practices that drastically cut carbon emissions.

The process of making a film has traditionally generated a surprising amount of emissions. For instance, the production of a single Hollywood blockbuster results in an average carbon footprint of 3,370 metric tons, equivalent to over seven million miles driven by a petroleum-powered car. Even smaller films contribute significantly, generating upwards of 390 tons.

In response, most Hollywood studios, including industry giants like Warner Bros, Paramount, Fox, and Amazon Studios, have adopted sustainability programs such as Netflix's 'Net-Zero + Nature' and Sony's 'Greener Road'. These studios have partnered with the Producers Guild of America Foundation to create the Green Production Guide, offering tools and resources to help mitigate environmental impact.

Netflix, a leading force in the industry, acknowledges that a significant portion of its emissions comes from producing films and series. Their latest ESG report emphasizes that "reducing these emissions is paramount and makes good business sense," focusing on optimizing energy use and decarbonizing their operations.


Drylab's Contribution to Sustainable Filmmaking


Drylab offers a cloud-based solution that caters to the modern demands of film and TV production, addressing both efficiency and environmental concerns. The platform digitizes traditionally paper-based processes, enabling real-time review and collaboration on dailies. This is a greener alternative than moving people and equipment to different locations, which is often necessary with traditional filmmaking methods.

By operating independently of internet connectivity, Drylab's platform is particularly beneficial for productions in remote locations, ensuring that work can continue uninterrupted. This flexibility not only speeds up decision-making but also reduces the need for travel—one of the most significant sources of carbon emissions in production. According to Albert, the BAFTA-owned screen industry organisation for environmental sustainability, 51% of emissions are transport-related.

Furthermore, the Drylab platform enhances on-set and post-production workflows, improving the efficiency of production in terms of shooting days and enabling detailed reporting for companies to monitor time on set and, consequently, calculate emissions more accurately.

By reducing reliance on physical resources such as paper and minimizing the need for travel through its remote collaboration capabilities, Drylab is helping the film and TV industry reduce its carbon footprint. These advancements align well with the growing industry and consumer focus on sustainability, offering a more environmentally friendly approach to film production that does not compromise on quality or creativity.

Productions using Drylab include the 2022 Oscar-nominated "The Worst Person In the World," Netflix’s “Troll” and "Ragnarok", George Clooney’s "Catch 22" miniseries and the Jim Broadbent film "The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry." The positive sentiment about incorporating green practices across the industry is increasingly echoed, demonstrating a commitment to environmental sustainability.


The Broader Impact


The push towards environmental sustainability in filmmaking is not merely a matter of corporate responsibility; it also resonates deeply with audiences increasingly concerned about climate change and the ecological footprint of the media they consume. By adopting more environmentally friendly production methods, the film industry is responding to a growing demand for sustainable entertainment options, proving that creative endeavours can coexist with care for the environment.




Arts Management & Technology Laboratory

CarbonCredits: Greening the entertainment industry

Variety: Sustainable Production Alliance

C&I Studios: examples of sustainable practices

Disney report:

Netflix report:

Sony plan:

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