How Software Plays a Leading Part in Green Film Production

A growing number of initiatives, especially in Europe, have been launched to make film production more green.

Increasing sustainability requires nothing less than groundbreaking changes in how we produce audiovisual content. This requires:

  • New standards and regulations for local film funding institutions

  • New workflows for the production and the departments

  • New knowledge transfers

  • New crew positions, like sustainability managers and green consultants

In this article, we want to highlight how all these new requirements can be met without losing time, money or creative power.

1. How “Dirty” is the Film Industry Anyway?

With an average of 500 tons of carbon dioxide emitted per studio production, it's clear that the entertainment industry needs to take steps to reduce its environmental impact. That info is not new. While Governor of California, Arnold Schwarzenegger signed the Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006, which was supposed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions significantly. As a Hollywood legend, he knew all too well that the film industry is, unfortunately, in the top ranks of emission-heavy industries. The main reasons can be found in these aspects of film production:

  • Travel & Living, especially in relation to the transportation of hundreds of cast and crew members

  • Fuel and power supplies for studios, locations, lighting equipment, generators, etc.

  • Waste caused by production design elements, as sets are built for a few scenes before being discarded. (In general, anything that is just used for a short amount of time and then thrown away)

  • Endless paper waste – for call sheets, lists, reports, and so on

Arnold Schwarzenegger. Photo: Angela George, ArnoldSchwarzeneggerDec09, Cropped, CC BY-SA 3.0
Arnold Schwarzenegger. Photo: Angela George, ArnoldSchwarzeneggerDec09, Cropped, CC BY-SA 3.0

It might sound easy for a production company to introduce some measures to reduce waste and CO2 emissions. However, the challenge lies in convincing the large teams involved in movie production to change their way of thinking and working. The minute you create a “new task” for the crew, they will complain about extra work and start fighting for extra compensation, higher budgets, and so on.

So what can be done? As always, the starting point is to collect data and create awareness of the problem.

2. How Can Software Help?

Software tools can play a major role in addressing this challenge by providing a platform for tracking sustainability data and streamlining the reporting process, making it easier for production teams to implement sustainable practices.

By reducing the extra work required and making sustainability reporting more efficient, cloud-based tools help create a more sustainable movie production process.

In essence, the first step to making productions more environmentally friendly is to gather data. However, most crew members and production companies hesitate to do so as it takes away from their regular creative work.

In many countries, this change is already underway. The European Green Deal even makes sustainability efforts a requirement for public funding. Therefore, making the data collection process during pre-production and production less cumbersome has become a significant concern.

Collecting data without significantly increasing the workload is key.
Collecting data without significantly increasing the workload is key.

3. How Yamdu Addresses These Challenges

Yamdu is a Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) solution that offers a centralized hub for all planning aspects of media production, including film and TV production, commercials, online video content, and documentaries.

The application equips sustainability managers with a tool that streamlines their work, saves time and allows them to focus on creative solutions for reducing the industry's carbon footprint.

By eliminating redundant tasks, Yamdu enables sustainability managers to spend more time on strategic thinking and action – and less time on reporting. This approach will be more efficient and effective in achieving shared environmental goals.

The platform seamlessly integrates with tools like Final Draft or Movie Magic Scheduling, allowing for smooth workflows and making it easy for teams to adopt sustainable production practices without disrupting existing processes.

Moreover, Yamdu's innovative approach extends beyond film and TV productions to AV content producers for commercials, online marketing, reality TV, and more. It offers a centralized platform to store all production information, eliminating silos between departments, simplifying data collection, and reducing paper waste in the industry.

On top of tools designed to increase efficiency in general, with rising concerns over the environmental impact of filmmaking and the increasing trend towards sustainability, Yamdu is now taking the next step by incorporating new, sustainability-focused, features into its cloud-based software.

Yamdu got nominated for the NAB Show's Excellence in Sustainability Award and the Makers & Shakers Award.
Yamdu got nominated for the NAB Show's Excellence in Sustainability Award and the Makers & Shakers Award.

4. What Tools Have an Immediate Impact on Film Production Sustainability?

Yamdu's new approach to green production integrates sustainability data fields for all departments, allowing for data entry on the fly in an almost game-like experience.

This collaborative approach collects real-time data into tables for the production, the head-of-departments, and a sustainability manager to see and edit. All data tables in Yamdu can be filtered to combine and view data sets as necessary, including an overview of estimated and actual values and the variances.

Additionally, all lists can be exported to Excel or CSV files, making it easy to transfer data to various national systems, such as Green Production Guide and the PEAR toolkit by PGA, Albert, EcoProd, KlimAktiv, and others. Yamdu is not just another CO2 calculator, but a universal translator of essential production data, providing a single source of truth for production teams on sustainability and energy consumption.

Here are some examples of collaborative features and the data Yamdu collects:

  • Data on crew and cast: food preferences, local crew, etc

  • Data on locations: energy source, heating, fuel, water consumption, etc

The crew collects all the data on the fly by simply working in Yamdu (for example, location scouting or coordinating transportation and accommodation for cast and crew). Yamdu then turns all the data available into real-time reports. All anonymous, but with all relevant details for sustainability measurements.

5. And that's a Prep!

Yamdu's unique selling proposition lies in its provision of successful tools for each department. By integrating aspects of sustainability into the process, Yamdu is simply adding to a solution that crew members already love to use.

The result is a flexible table view that can export data to PDF, Excel, or CSV. This enables sustainability managers to easily retrieve and rearrange data as needed, making it easier for international productions to push the data to whatever carbon calculators are required in a specific region.

Yamdu is also exploring potential APIs with leading CO2 calculators to expedite the process. Yamdu’s approach offers several key benefits, including:

  • Collaborative data entry on the fly for all departments

  • Game-like experience for the whole team

  • Data on sustainability in real-time to react accordingly

  • One single source of truth for the production and the sustainability management

  • Flexible and dynamic table views of all data with complete control over exports

  • Centralized and structured communication around specific topics

  • One tool that puts ideas of how to be more sustainable directly in front of all users provides fresh ideas of what matters when preparing a production in a greener way

By consolidating all production data into a centralized space, Yamdu makes monitoring the production process and calculating sustainability metrics easy. Sustainability officers can be reassured knowing they can work with real-time overviews – making it easier to manage the required data while helping the team stay on track as production progresses.

Yamdu's transparency can reduce the laborious and time-consuming (i.e. expensive) task of collecting data from production teams and reduce the risk of errors from outdated data that could lead to inaccurate reporting.

And now, take a look yourself at how Yamdu can help green your productions.