Definition July 2024 - Web

From an exclusive behind-the-scenes look at Mad Max: Furiosa to tips on crafting flawless driving scenes with virtual production, there’s loads to explore inside our July issue – have a read here!



- DOP Richard Henkels rolls with the punches on Fight Like a Girl on our toes, DRIVING THE creative PROCESS” Restrictions KEPT US


PLUS WHAT NOT TO MISS IN MUNICH AS EURO CINE EXPO RETURNS! Dive into the dystopian world of Mad Max with cinematographer Simon Duggan, ASC, ACS, discovering the artistry & innovation behind the prequel’s epic visuals FURIOSA UNLEASHED

Use this QR code to view the issue online, find our socials, visit the website and more!


EDITORIAL Editor in chief Nicola Foley

Senior staff writer Katie Kasperson Chief sub editor Matthew Winney Sub editor Minhaj Zia Junior sub editor Molly Constanti Editorial director Roger Payne Contributors Callum Buckley, Jason Grey, Trevor Hogg, Adrian Pennington, Lee Renwick, Neal Romanek, Robert Shepherd, Oliver Webb ADVERTISING Sales director Sam Scott-Smith 01223 499457 Sales manager Emma Stevens 01223 499462 | +447376665779 DESIGN Design director Andy Jennings Magazine design manager Lucy Woolcomb Senior designer Carl Golsby Junior designer Hedzlynn Kamaruzzaman Junior designer and ad production Holly May PUBLISHING Managing directors Andy Brogden & Matt Pluck Definition is published monthly by Bright Publishing Ltd, Bright House, 82 High Street, Sawston, Cambridge, CB22 3HJ. No part of this magazine can be used without prior written permission of Bright Publishing Ltd. Definition is a registered trademark of Bright Publishing Ltd. The advertisements published in Definition that have been written, designed or produced by employees of Bright Publishing Ltd remain the copyright of Bright Publishing Ltd and may not be reproduced without the written consent of the publisher. The content of this publication does not necessarily reflect the views of the publisher. Prices quoted in sterling, euros and US dollars are street prices, without tax, where available or converted using the exchange rate on the day the magazine went to press. Bright Publishing LTD Bright House, 82 High Street, Sawston, Cambridgeshire, CB22 3HJ, UK

C elluloid is alive and kicking,” declared Hoyte Van Hoytema as he claimed his BAFTA earlier this year – and he’s not wrong. From Oppenheimer to Saltburn , Poor Things and All of Us Strangers , a sizeable portion of the standout movies of recent times have been captured on good old-fashioned film. We love it for its nostalgic, one-of-a-kind aesthetic, but what are the sustainability implications of this revival? We investigate on page 18. Also inside this issue, we offer a retrospective on The Blair Witch Project , 25 years after its release. From its found-footage style to a seriously ahead-of-its-time viral marketing campaign, this film broke boundaries and remains a genuinely terrifying watch, even now. Read more on page 59. For something completely different, our short film showcase is Morning Joy – a charmingly rough-around-the-edges animation that lingers long after the credits have rolled (page 70). We also sit down with legendary cinematographer Mandy Walker, who discusses her relationship with colour, colourists and her gig as a judge for the FilmLight Colour Awards; and take a ride on the Madgaon Express , a Bollywood coming-of-age story where the camaraderie was as strong behind the camera as in front of it. Another release on our radar is Fight Like a Girl , which follows a teenage girl beating the odds to become a champion boxer. Read what DOP Richard Henkels had to say about its hectic shoot in the Democratic Republic of the Congo on page 46. From an exclusive behind-the-scenes look at Furiosa to tips on crafting flawless driving scenes with virtual production, there’s loads more to explore on the pages ahead. Enjoy the issue and see you next month!

Editor in chief







JULY 2024


52 A VISION IN COLOUR Legendary cinematographer Mandy Walker talks colour and colourists 54 ANCIENT INNOVATORS We head behind the scenes on Secrets of the Neanderthals 59 TAKE TWO A look back on The Blair Witch Project and its found-footage subgenre 62 EURO CINE PREVIEW All eyes are on Munich as the lively kit show returns at the end of June 68 BEYOND BELIEF We dive into the post-production work on a spooky anthology show 70 IN SHORT This month’s short in the spotlight is heartwarming animation Morning Joy 72 MADGAON EXPRESS All aboard for some Bollywood fun with this madcap Hindi hit



07 INDUSTRY BRIEFINGS A look back on Cannes, a brand-new initiative from ScreenSkills and more 12 FURIOSA Cinematographer Simon Duggan on his journey into the Wasteland 18 DEF X THE FLINT Is digital capture more sustainable than film? We investigate 24 GREENER SCREEN CVP team members examine virtual production’s sustainability credentials 26 ECO CHAMPIONS Definition meets the individuals and institutions making real change 34 TAKING CHARGE We chat to Bebob about powering up sets with clean energy 38 DRIVING CREATIVITY How to tap into the power of virtual production to elevate car scenes 46 FIGHT LIKE A GIRL A look at how the first western film to be shot in the Congo came together


79 CAMERA LISTINGS A whistle-stop tour of the best camera bodies on the market

© Warner Bros ON THE COVER





A s streamers look to increase dwindling profits, bundling is becoming a popular option – and one that the major platforms are offering. Netflix, Peacock and Apple TV+ have announced a bundle (called StreamSaver), while Disney+, Hulu and Max have done the same. Some specifics are yet to be announced, but we know StreamSaver will cost $15 per month and likely debut this summer, with the Disney- Hulu-Max bundle slated for autumn. This is all happening alongside Max’s European migration. The streaming The state of streaming

platform, previously only offered to US customers, is coming to the continent, launching first in the Nordics, Iberia, Central and Eastern Europe, then later in Poland, the Netherlands, France and Belgium. For HBO fans, this expansion has been a long time coming, with users finally able to stream hit shows like Game of Thrones , House of the Dragon , The Last of Us and The White Lotus, as well as film franchises including Harry Potter , Lord of the Rings and The Dark Knight . That said, UK audiences should not expect Max any time soon due to Sky’s exclusivity deal.

Film and TV Charity launches Reel Impact T he Film and TV Charity, a UK-based organisation,

funding will benefit Black and Global Majority projects. “In 2021, the Film and TV Charity acknowledged that, historically, it hadn’t done enough to ensure Black and Global Majority talent in the industry felt supported,” stated Marcus Ryder, CEO at the Film and TV Charity. “With a focus on capacity building, partnerships and networking, it’s our hope the programme will significantly move the needle for talent the industry needs to attract and retain.”

has launched Reel Impact, an initiative to support Black and Global Majority people working in production – from those behind the camera to those running the studios. An expansion of the Impact Partnership Programme, Reel Impact specifically targets mid-senior level employees. It seeks to build anti-racist values in the production industries while opening opportunities for and

upskilling underrepresented talent. The scheme will offer grants to both individuals (up

to £10,000) and organisations (up to £25,000) that can demonstrate how additional




F ounded in 2023 by seasoned stylist and costume designer Charlotte Holt, The Fashion Library is an apparel rental house for the UK film, TV and advertising industries. Instead of wasting money and materials on each new project, The Fashion Library urges stylists and costume designers to act sustainably by repurposing existing clothes while monetising their own closets. “We recognised the need for a platform that not only simplifies the process for stylists but also promotes sustainability within the industry,” said Holt. “Our goal is to save time, money and the planet while making our users’ lives easier.” What started as a 2000-piece inventory has evolved into what is essentially a peer-to-peer consignment shop where users rent and sell. Stylists can browse both the online and physical showrooms, selecting the items they want and paying a small holding deposit. All rentals last for seven days and are available by collection only. The Fashion Library rethinks costume rental

A rguably the industry’s most glamorous event, Cannes Film Festival wrapped on 25 May. The 11- day exhibition included Francis Ford Coppola’s return to filmmaking with dystopian epic Megalopolis , Yorgos Lanthimos’ Poor Things follow-up Kinds of Kindness , George Miller’s Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga and Andrea Arnold’s Bird . But the show-stealers were ultimately Jacques Audiard’s Emilia Perez and Sean Baker’s Anora , which earned the elusive Palme d’Or – the fifth consecutive win for American indie studio Neon. For Oscar hopefuls, Cannes is a must-hit stop on the circuit. Previous Palme d’Or winners include Taxi Driver , Apocalypse Now , Pulp Fiction , Blue Is the Warmest Colour and Parasite , Cannes in review

which then became the first non- English language film to win best picture at the Academy Awards. Headed by president Greta Gerwig, the Cannes jury awarded George Lucas with the honorary Palme d’Or, Armand with best first film, Coralie Fargeat with best screenplay ( The Substance ), The Seed of the Sacred Fig with special award for best screenplay, Miguel Gomes with best director ( Grand Tour ), Jesse Plemons with best actor ( Kinds of Kindness ), Emilia Perez with the Jury Prize, All We Imagine As Light with the grand prize and The Man Who Could Not Remain Silent with the short film Palme d’Or. Best actress went to Adriana Paz, Zoe Saldaña, Karla Sofía Gascón and Selena Gomez for their work on Emilia Perez .

I n partnership with BBC Studios, ITV Studios and Sky, ScreenSkills is piloting a training passport that will provide a record of industry-approved training for staff and freelancers. It will ideally offer benefits to both employees and employers; with standardising training, studios can ensure crew members are equally up to par, while creatives can keep track of certifications. Staff and freelancers can complete all training via the ScreenSkills website. The training passport will pilot for six months. ScreenSkills introduces training passport





1. ASC re-elects president

The American Society of Cinematographers has re-elected president Shelly Johnson, whose credits include Jurassic Park III , Sky High and Captain America: The First Avenger , for a second term. Johnson serves on the executive committee for the cinematographers branch of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. In line with the recent surge of media layoffs, Pixar let go of roughly 175 employees in May. The animation studio, owned by Disney, has seen better days. While Soul , Luca and Turning Red went straight to streaming, theatrical releases Onward , Lightyear and Elemental all had disappointing box office returns. 3. Brainstorm expands operations Brainstorm is opening an office in Austin, Texas, which will feature an LED volume and green cyclorama powered 2. Pixar cuts its workforce by the company’s VP and 3D graphics products. Brainstorm is also welcoming Thierry Gonzalo – as its new senior solutions architect in Austin.




W hen it was announced, the Apple Vision Pro headset promised to revolutionise content consumption. With that goal in mind, Disney+ is creating a new experience, What If…? – An Immersive Story , which will allow audiences to become part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU), interact with the characters, learn the ‘mystic arts’ and even come face-to-face with Infinity Stones. What If…? – An Immersive Story follows the existing What If…? animated series, which imagines alternate storylines within the MCU. “ What If…? – An Immersive Story takes this one step further and actually allows you to visit these strange new worlds,” said Brad Winderbaum, executive producer at Marvel Studios. The series is directed by Dave Bushore, produced by Shereif M Fattouh, written by David Dong and Phil McCarty with music composed by Laura Karpman. Disney+ announces Marvel project for Apple Vision Pro


London Film & TV Job Fair 27 June The Film & TV Job Fair returns to north-west London for a full day of networking, giving budding creatives the chance to connect with studios, agents and recruiters all in one place. Be sure to bring your CV! Karlovy Vary International Held annually in the Czech Republic and lauded as Central and Eastern Europe’s most prestigious festival, KVIFF presents over 200 films from all around the world. Films contend for the Crystal Globe, worth $25,000. Film Festival 28 June-6 July

Filmfest München

28 June-7 July Filmfest München is Germany’s premier summer festival, screening around 150 films annually. An alternative to Berlinale, it welcomes the industry’s biggest talents while maintaining a relaxed atmosphere. London Film and Comic Con 5-7 July This summer, London’s Film and Comic Con hits the Olympia, offering fans a full weekend of meet-and-greets, panel sessions, the artists’ alley and more. Confirmed guests include David Boreanaz, Rupert Grint and Denise Richards, among many others!




DOP Simon Duggan, ASC, ACS talks us through elevating the high-octane thrills for Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga





W hen Australian filmmaker George Miller first introduced the world to ‘Mad’ Max Rockatansky, a police officer turned vigilante living in a dystopian near future, little did he know he’d end up speeding down that apocalyptic highway five more times over the next 45 years. In the most recent outing for the franchise, Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga , we travel back 15 years before the events of Fury Road ,

with Alyla Browne and Anya Taylor- Joy taking over from Charlize Theron to explain how Imperator Furiosa came to be in the wasteland. Treading the visual path laid out by David Eggby, ACS, Dean Semler, AM, ACS, ASC and John Seale AM, ACS, ASC, the film’s DOP Simon Duggan, ASC, ACS sought to honour the franchise and expand the worldbuilding. “I knew this needed to be the same world visually, yet in Furiosa we find a




much more complex world and society of inhabitants, with the satellite towns of the Citadel fortress,” begins Duggan, who collaborated with the OG Mad Max, Mel Gibson, on Hacksaw Ridge (2016). “We establish Bullet Farm, an ammunitions supplier, and Gas Town, an oil refinery – towns built on the necessities of survival with a barter system in place. We also catch a glimpse of the Green Place, from which Furiosa is abducted, and see a lot more of the desolate landscape when the story of Dementus (Chris Hemsworth) and his marauders is introduced.” Key scenes and stunt sequences were previsualised using Unreal Engine. “George could create a real world with inputs of cameras, sun position, moving vehicles and human movement,” explains Duggan. “Through the filming process, George wanted the cameras to be close and share the action with the actors and vehicles. Tracking vehicles circled close around the War Rigs and there were more dynamic camera moves in close and around the actors using Steadicams and wider lenses.” Pre-production lasted 12 weeks, while principal photography consisted of 109 shoot days in 2022, commencing in May at Broken Hill, Australia and ending in November. Essential in getting the necessary coverage was the second unit directed by Guy Norris and lensed by Peter McCaffrey. Other key crew members were camera operators Mark Goellnicht, Simon Harding and Jay Torta; first ACs David Elmes, Brett Matthews and

ON THE FIRST DAY OF FILMING, WE HAD unpredictable rain and 80km winds . WE EMBRACED IT AS another element of the story ”

Iñaki de Ubago; key grip Adam Kuiper; and gaffer Shaun Conway. “Broken Hill was to be the original location for Fury Road , but weather changed that decision with the film eventually moving to Africa,” shares Duggan. “On the first day of filming, we had unpredictable rain and winds up to 80km. At that moment, George and I agreed to embrace the weather as another element of the story!” Other locations included a stretch of highway for the ‘stowaway to nowhere’ sequence in Hay, New South Wales, sand dunes close to Sydney for further action sequences, and a forest near Sydney as the Green Place Furiosa is taken from. The primary cameras and lenses used were the ARRI ALEXA 65 and ARRI Prime DNAs, with the manufacturer even producing two new full-coverage 25mm primes, Furiosa and Mad Max, for use on the shoot. For lighter, more compact set-ups needed for Steadicam and rig

shots under trucks, they used ALEXA LFs, RED V-RAPTORs and RED KOMODOs. Other lenses included FUJINON Premista zooms, Angénieux zooms, and Canon and Zeiss compact primes, with the DNA Primes in the 40mm to 85mm range being the preference for filming the actors. Between the main and second units, about 32 cameras were employed. Exteriors were lit with an array of six 18K PARs and fill light was achieved with LED Vortex units being diffused or bounced. “Apart from a few larger soundstage set-ups, stage work was mostly in a warehouse,” continues Duggan. “We had little room for long-throw fresnels, so we used linear arrays of LED Vortex units much closer to the sets to achieve the result of a fresnel lamp at a much larger distance, often softening with a light sail cloth to achieve a soft single shadow. Other LED units included 8x8ft softboxes all the way down to softened Astera tubes in covered wagons and small

THE DRIVING FORCE (Left) An action scene on the Warner Bros Pictures set; Chris Hemsworth as Dementus (above)




LED Eyelight panels. The Citadel had an irrigation system of water flowing through and we used that to get water ripple effects wherever we could. “My DIT Sam Winzar set some looks which varied depending on these exterior or interior locations, we even had a great day-for-night LUT,” states Duggan. “Our final colourist Eric Whipp got involved early on and worked closely with the visual effects team creating final looks for the orange sandstorm sequences and the silver blue cast for day-for-night scenes; he also fixed problems caused by the bad weather by adding blue to the skies, reflections in the chrome War Rig Tank and maintaining the rich colour of the red earth landscapes.” One complex shot occurs after the monster truck driven by Dementus runs down Furiosa’s vehicle. “The camera was attached to the ARRI TRINITY stabilisation system and operated by Mark Goellnicht; it follows the marauders pulling Furiosa and Praetorian Jack (Tom Burke) out of their vehicle, then joining Dementus for the whole scene as a single take executing a couple of 360° movements throughout the action. This took a few hours to rehearse and choreograph the scene with the actors, camera, grip and lighting. The intention was to keep the storytelling aspect continuously unravelling without the need to edit.” The most spectacular pure action scene in the film, the aforementioned ‘stowaway to nowhere’, took 78 days to shoot, featured more than 100 stunt performers and has a runtime of 15 minutes. Naturally, it demanded some serious planning. George Miller and stunt coordinator Guy Norris previsualised the scene using Unreal Engine, with Allan

TOP CAST Anya Taylor-Joy takes over from Charlize Theron as a young Furiosa, while Tom Burke plays Praetorian Jack





Hardy animating realistic sequences. In this virtual environment, they imported precise measurements of lens angles, camera heights, locations, sun angles, vehicles, speeds and human dimensions to accurately plan the sequence. “We then knew how we were going to physically shoot with the equipment we planned to use. Most of the sequence was on a 4km road in outback town Hay with the War Rig, stunt cars and stunt performers tracking back and forth along that single piece of highway,” describes Duggan. “Peter McCaffrey and I broke

down the sequence with sun angles and continuity in mind. Main unit and second unit were often separated so George used an outdoor broadcast van with a satellite connection to approve takes as action sequences were filmed.” Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga was an extraordinary production to be part of, concludes Duggan. “It had a great mix of visuals, from the stark look of the barren landscapes, the massive Citadel interiors to the intimate scenes involving Furiosa. We had a great crew who have worked together for many years as a team.”

MILITARY PRECISION Virtual previs meant complex practical scenes could be planned to the finest detail for a smooth run on-set




W e’re in a new wave of demand for both still and motion picture stock. People love film. Film is physical. It’s a literal recording of the light from an actual event interacting with chemistry. Its photochemical basis means that it’s impossible for two frames of film to ever be perfectly identical. Digital imaging, by contrast, is about precision, control, reproducibility and breathtaking reach in distribution. And that’s not a bad thing. Romanticise 35mm projection all you like, but many of us remember when going to the cinema meant you might be watching a faded, dirty, scratched and spliced film print. We now have to think beyond shooting on film. Kodak can hardly keep up with the aesthetics. As crucial as the creative vision is, production teams must ask: what is the most sustainable choice?

Prevailing wisdom might suggest digital is always more sustainable than physical – but digital capture brings its own environmental issues. The Flint’s Neal Romanek investigates

It’s irritating. The film industry is built on excess. We want bigger, better, boomier. Nobody stopped David Lean to talk about sustainability when he blew up a bridge, and the train on top of it, for The Bridge on the River Kwai . But we’re living in an environmental emergency, so we don’t get to blow up any bridges for a while. DOWN WITH DIGITAL? Our knee-jerk assumption is that digital is always more sustainable than physical. It’s a natural reaction. First of all, it is sometimes the case. If you can shoot something against a green screen, rather than building a gigantic set in the middle of the desert, go with the green screen. However, we can also get tricked by the fact that digital solutions are usually invisible to the human eye. We assume that because we can’t see it, it doesn’t







exist – or if it does exist, it does so only in a very tiny way. Robert Houllahan, director of Cinelab Motion Picture Services lab in Boston (not affiliated with Cinelab Film & Digital in London), believes digital capture brings its own host of sustainability issues, which need to be looked at carefully. “For 100 years, all films were made into prints and distributed to theatres. That’s not likely something we’ll go back to,” says Houllahan. “But as things become more realistic with climate change – and the very real problem of creating energy which isn’t so persistently toxic as using fossil fuels – there will be a serious crunch in the next 30 years with the amount of material and energy human civilisation uses. You might find that physical media becomes much more sustainable than using cloud computing all the time.” With digital, there is always the opportunity for scale, but how efficient is that scale? Houllahan points to Netflix’s DVD home delivery incarnation in the days before streaming, which is said to have offered 70,000 titles at its height. The streaming service now has roughly 17,000 titles across its catalogue. Physical material is, by definition, more sustainable, although that’s not always a good thing. Take plastic, for example, which is sustained in the environment for generations. Mechanical equipment can be made to last for a long time, while digital equipment – and all the materials and minerals that go into its production – has a very short shelf life.

THERE WILL BE A serious crunch IN THE NEXT 30 YEARS”

Houllahan points to a screening of Dune he attended recently where an optical block from the theatre’s digital projector had burned out. “How old was that projector?” he asks. “Maybe five or eight years at most. A 35mm projector can last 100 years. Making film prints is one thing, but making several digital projects is more complicated. An abundance of technology’s infrastructure is much more routinely replaced – and I don’t know if any of that can be recycled.” Cinelab is powered by a 250kW solar array on the roof, and equipment is becoming increasingly efficient. Most of the power consumption in the lab is used for heating, primarily for getting the chemistry to proper temperatures. In addition, Houllahan is installing a power monitoring system to learn exactly where the main power draws are. The chemistry of film has also become less toxic over the years – the principal chemical waste product being silver, which is reclaimed through electrolysis and then sold back into the silver market. THE DISCIPLINE OF SILVER Creativity needs boundaries in order to thrive. Give someone infinite time and resources and they’re not likely to produce as much quality as someone with a set subject, budget and time limit. The illusion that the digital world has no footprint removes creative boundaries and inevitably leads to a massively higher shooting ratio than film does. Shooting on film brings discipline. When the camera is rolling, frames are being exposed; you are actually rolling through physical material. On a tentpole film, the cost of film stock may not be the highest priority, but the psychological

focus that comes with shooting film means less waste. Capturing digitally, particularly when planning is poor, can mean ‘keep the camera rolling and we’ll figure it out in post’. It’s always easy to do just one more take. Shooting film may lead to more focus, better use of time and more thrift all around. Shooting digitally also means generating data – and where there is data, there is power consumption. “Shooting ARRIRAW on an ALEXA LF or ALEXA 65, you’re generating a massive amount of data,” Houllahan explains. “It all has to go someplace, and that’s hard drives or other kinds of data storage. The best long-term storage medium right now is LTO tape, but eventually, you’re still going to have to migrate that data. A big show could generate a petabyte of data – that’s hundreds of LTO tapes.” Film as a final storage medium does avoid the struggle of having to keep your archive copy upgraded to be compatible with storage technology. The underlying technology of a film print of 1895 is identical to that of a film print today – and if somehow all the film projectors in the world vanished, it wouldn’t take long for engineers to rebuild a projector from scratch. The major studios are well aware of this archival longevity. Even when a film’s workflow is entirely digital, some studios will make a final master recorded to film to ensure preservation. A well- packaged film print in the right conditions can be locked away for a century and still be viable. “Everyone wants a simple answer, but there’s a lot of nuance and complexity,” adds Houllahan. GOLDEN LABS Chris Lane started working in film labs when he was 16, and has stayed with it throughout the medium’s ups and downs. Now head of Cinetech UK, he continues building facilities, labs and

A CLEAN SWEEP The Cinetech film cleaner supports 8mm and has a 4in vent duct port




BRIGHT IDEAS Cinelab in Boston is powered by a 250kW Solyndra solar array on the roof

designing equipment to support them. He’s seeing a big uptick in business. “In the past, I’d never had an eye on sustainability. But when your client wants something, you make it as fast, efficient and low-cost as possible,” he begins. “Much of that is operating costs as well, including regenerating chemicals rather than simply throwing them away.” But Lane has just embarked on a project to help build a new film lab in Paris and is listening to concerns about chemical effluent that didn’t exist ten years ago. EU environmental regulations – and France has sometimes been a leader in implementing them – mean these environmental improvements are no longer optional. The Paris client wants to outfit their lab with brand- new kit from top to bottom to support an already-existing rental and post- production business. Until now, they have been relying on a venerable French lab which continues to use decades-old equipment. With a rekindled interest in

film, is there an opportunity to reboot film capture and processing sustainably? Cinetech’s latest product is a film- cleaning machine designed to replace older tech left over from before the film downturn of a decade ago. Those older machines used a lot of energy as well as highly toxic perchloroethylene (aka tetrachloroethylene). Manufacture of the chemical was phased out under the Montreal Protocol, which banned ozone- depleting substances. But the machines continued to stay in use, reusing the chemicals cycled through the system. Perchloroethylene was finally abandoned and replaced by a new chemical cleaner from 3M, called hydrofluoroethers (HFE). “The 3M chemical isn’t ozone- depleting or a greenhouse gas, but they locked the licence, so you had to buy it through them,” says Lane. “It didn’t clean very well and evaporated horrendously, plus it was horrendously expensive.” 3M – recently in the news about hiding the toxicity of its wide-reaching

F ounded by Neal Romanek – former editor of Definition ’s sister magazine FEED – and Neil Howman, The Flint is M&E’s new global information hub for sustainability, covering all entertainment verticals and all parts of the content supply chain. WHAT IS THE FLINT?

Find out more at




creating a reusable cartridge. Someone still has to throw a sizeable chunk of black plastic in the bin for every three minutes of footage they capture – unchanged since 1965. Fortunately, there are industry technologists experimenting with better methods. Edmund Ward, managing director at north London lab Analogue Image – aka On8mil – specialises in resale, processing and scanning of all film formats. He’s dedicated to restoring and improving Super 8 technology too, including refurbishing Super 8 cameras and remanufacturing parts. Ward has also been trying to build a reloadable Super 8 cartridge. By buying Super 8 stock in bulk, cartridges could be loaded and issued to Super 8 rental clients, who would return them to the lab when exposed. Whether Kodak would be willing to sell Super 8 film in bulk is another issue, but it’s a no-brainer in terms of sustainability. WHAT’S IT MADE OF? One thing that’s hard to get around sustainability-wise is that film is made of animals. Gelatin, made from boiling down the ligaments, skin and bones of livestock, is necessary in the creation of film negative, and alternative chemistries have not yet yielded better results. There may be better, non-animal- product solutions available, but so far there hasn’t been a push to find them. Raising cattle has a huge environmental impact – in land and water use – plus substantial methane emissions (methane is 28x more potent than CO2 as a greenhouse gas). So, if film is to continue, it’s got to cut out the beef. YOU can’t get spares FOR THE MACHINES OUT THERE on the market now ”

OLD-SCHOOL Embracing analogue charm, Saltburn uses 4-perf 35mm film and 4K scanning

chemical products – discontinued its HFE film cleaner a couple of years ago. The alternative cleaner Lane provides is a widely available petroleum-based solvent, Isopar G. The sales of the new machines have exceeded Lane’s expectations, but being a small, agile company and doing much of the engineering design himself, he can respond to market needs rapidly – and there certainly is a rising demand. “You can’t get spares for the machines out there on the market now,” continues Lane. “The chemicals they use have been banned, and manufacturers won’t make it any more since it causes neurological damage. If you have a film lab – and there are many of them out there – each individual machine is vital for the whole food chain. There are businesses out there which stop for want of a $2 part they can’t find.” In a world where it’s ordinary to throw away a server over five years old, a business which uses the same gear decade after decade seems like something out of a fantasy novel. But in the pre-digital age, the raison d’être of many mechanical engineers was to

create something which could both last a lifetime and be easy to repair.

KEEP SUPER 8 SUPER The world of film manufacture and development is small. Kodak is still the dominant producer of film stock, supplying both still and motion picture. Productions have few alternatives if they are seeking more sustainable options. The surge in shooting on film has also meant increased use of 8mm and 16mm stocks. Back in 1965, Kodak introduced the Super 8 format, replacing standard 8mm with a different perf configuration and larger frame size. The Super 8 format was preloaded into plastic cartridges, saving consumers from having to load the tiny 8mm film stock manually and thus saving many family holidays from paternal fits of rage. After shooting, Super 8 cartridges are sent to the lab and a spool of developed film is returned. The plastic cartridges are disposed. To this day, the disposable plastic cartridge is the method of Super 8 film delivery. Kodak has shown no signs of upgrading to a recycling scheme or




GRE ENER SCRE EN CVP’s technical consultant Callum Buckley and technical sales consultant Jason Grey study the environmental benefits of virtual production

ENGINE ROOM Create convincing environments of all kinds through ever-advancing LED volume tech

V irtual production has come a long way in a fairly short space of time. Initially the preserve solely of high-end TV and movie productions with hefty budgets, the technology has evolved rapidly in multiple areas as costs have fallen. This has led to the brisk proliferation of LED volumes on a global scale, which have been positioned by their investors to fill multiple niches in the industry. They now literally come in all shapes and sizes, and present viable alternatives to location or conventional studio shooting for a wide range of budgets that now encompass everything from the blockbuster down to corporate use cases. One of the main causes for their increased popularity is the contribution they make to sustainable workflows. And it’s not just that either, as implementing virtual production has the twin benefit of saving significant costs in interlinked areas. Much recent debate has centred on the fact that sustainability has been forced to take an unfortunate backseat to return on investment as organisations face tricky economic headwinds. Here,

though, is a case where both can be addressed in the same breath. Virtual production’s main benefit is location. If we agree the technology and techniques have become sophisticated enough that it can be used convincingly to recreate a range of stagings – indoor and outdoor – using it means everything can be shot in the same place.

Let’s take the imaginary example of a new adaptation of Wuthering Heights . This would need to be shot on multiple locations via conventional production methodology and there is a large cost, both environmental and financial, to this. The cast and crew to film each scene have to be physically transported from location to location, catered for and often accommodated while there. Generators are required to shoot in the remoteness of the Yorkshire Moors; exaggerated care has to be taken around listed buildings; the weather must be accounted for, with the possibility of delays built in to the schedule. Sets also have to be erected and struck – and the question of what to do with the materials used post-shoot is an increasingly important consideration.





In short, location shooting is time- consuming and expensive. And while there is obviously an environmental cost to virtual production in terms of power consumption of equipment, all the movement is centralised. Cast and (much smaller) crew can all shoot their scenes one after the other, with the scenery on the screens surrounding the volume changing to reflect where they are on the script. Using the latest iteration of Unreal Engine or high-res captured footage, environments can be recreated swiftly and convincingly. Scene set-up is now reduced to simply costume changes and repositioning cameras, allowing productions to work through more pages of script in any given day than ever

before. There is no wastage, either of the majority of set materials (some physical elements can, of course, still be used on the stage) nor hanging around waiting for the weather to change. The Moors can be as windswept as a production wants, staying that way until the scene is in the can. Then, press a button and switch to the stately home surrounds of Thrushcross Grange or the 16th-century Wuthering Heights farmhouse itself. This flexibility and lack of real-world movement dramatically reduces the carbon footprint of any production. There are other synergies, too. The LED volume can be driven wholly by renewables, for instance, and it is becoming increasingly apparent that the whole chain is moving

towards a more sustainable means of production. At CVP, we have a pledge to be carbon net zero by 2030, and with more broadcasters and major studios doing the same, it will become a necessity for productions at all levels, from corporate videos to big-budget blockbusters, to mirror this. Of course, virtual production is not suitable for everything. You will struggle to create a long drone shot of Heathcliff striding across the Moors using an LED volume, for example. But where and when virtual production can be used (and it can be matched seamlessly even with shots like that), it can save significant amounts of both emissions and money while still delivering content of the highest standard.




I n 2024, sustainability is at the and dissected by the media. Rather than just stressing its importance, we wanted to get to the heart of the issue: which bodies are working to protect the Earth’s – not to mention the industry’s – future? What are the obstacles involved in doing so? How can we combat climate change amid its acceleration? Plus, despite sustainability’s topical popularity, many still do not grasp its concept – a challenge posed to those trying to promote it. We hear from four sustainability forefront of everyday conversations – a topic addressed at trade shows champions (deemed so by us here at Definition ) about environmental action and the steps being taken towards a cleaner, greener future, particularly in the film sector – from renewable energy to climate-focused content to mandates, certifications and standards.


We get the lowdown from four pioneering individuals and organisations leading the charge for a more sustainable future

Founder of production

company Cine Mosaic, Lydia Pilcher is a double Emmy-winning,

Academy Award-nominated producer of over 40 films. An ambassador for sustainability for over 15 years, she’s also co- founder of the Producers Guild of America’s PGA Green and, among many other achievements




WORDS Katie Kasperson

A leading voice in the film industry and environmental expert, Lydia Dean Pilcher puts it plainly: clean energy and climate storytelling are two key routes towards a more sustainable future. As a co-leader of an inter-guild sustainability alliance (which includes the Writers, Producers and Directors Guilds of America), Pilcher represents roughly 500,000 members. “It’s a vast constituency. We have found that, over the last few years, just about every union and guild has now formed a green committee, eco committee, sustainability committee – this is something that is top of mind,” she shares. As co-chair of the DGA’s Sustainable Future Committee, Pilcher prioritises the transition to clean energy, which mainly involves cutting carbon emissions and reducing reliance on fossil fuels “in the accelerated time frame we find ourselves in,” she says. Having attended the Paris

Agreement in 2015, Pilcher was front row when the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) unveiled its special report on global warming. “The IPCC set the 1.5°C threshold, which was the level we needed not to go beyond if we did not want to live in a climate- altered future,” she recalls. “We were hopeful; we really thought we were going to kick this. What we know now is that the last eight years have been the hottest years on the planet. We have hit 1.5°C – and we’re going over it. We haven’t done enough.” While every sector is arguably at fault, the film industry has been especially wasteful at times, using fossil fuels – which ‘play a significant role in global warming’ – to power productions. “We had been sitting there for years talking about recycling, plastic and so on. It was when the carbon calculators for film and television had been invented,

which started to get implemented and the studios released all this data, that we realised we’re not going to change anything if we don’t address the fossil fuel situation,” explains Pilcher. Clean energy is on the rise, with renewable diesel available in areas like California (where many major studios are based), electric vehicles becoming more mainstream and solar panels being added to the tops of trailers. Pilcher argues that these measures be mandated. “Why not?” she asks. “It’s essentially page one now. It works.” Studios have begun introducing climate-centred criteria; for instance, Netflix requires a sustainability advisor to be present on every set, while NBCUniversal recently announced its GreenerLight programme, which vets each project, “requiring it to contain some form of climate storytelling element and have a sustainable




production plan in place,” describes Pilcher. “They’re the only studio with the policy. It’s innovative, and was taken on by the chairman and CCO, Donna Langley. She embraced it and said: ‘We’re doing it.’ That’s what needs to happen; the buy-in must happen at the top.” Climate storytelling, for Pilcher, ‘has been an underutilised solution’ in the film industry. “Telling stories is what we do,” she states. “Stories are the way people connect to culture and the world we’re living in. It can also encourage people to think about things they hadn’t before – or think about them differently.” Pilcher emphasises that climate storytelling doesn’t have to be over- the-top obvious. “It can be layered into the world-building of any story,” she argues. “It can be a narrative plot twist, a heightening of stakes for characters, a subplot or even on-screen behaviour. I find there’s almost no movie where you can’t figure out a way to incorporate a character’s relationship to nature and human agency.” There’s a whole subgenre of films about extreme weather events, but these tend to be dystopian thrillers rather than genuine reflections of our climate’s current state. According to Pilcher, these stories leave us feeling helpless and psychologically distanced – generally failing to spark productive conversations. “We’re trying to understand what we can do to bridge that gap.” Over the years, Pilcher has found that most people genuinely are interested in sustainability. “I always say – and we talk about this with our guilds and unions – any set you’re on, if you start talking about it and put it out there that you’re interested in talking about it, the allies will come forward,” she assures. “People want to know what they can do.” STORIES ARE THE WAY THAT people connect TO CULTURE”

GREEN THE SILVER SCREEN Educating production teams on sustainability, Price engages with suppliers to implement eco- friendly practices

AMELIA PRICE Amelia Price is

(‘I was a member of the WWF from the age of seven’), this realisation came as quite a shock, leaving Price with ample cognitive dissonance. “I went off and retrained – I have an IEMA accreditation in environmental management – and then said, ‘Right, that’s it. I’m not going to take any more locations jobs.’ I threw myself into sustainability.” About three years ago, Price co- founded Sustainable Film – a UK-based sustainability consultancy – with former colleague Jimmy Keeping. “We decided to join forces to take on the industry and get a bit more support,” Price admits. “It’s fairly lonely in sustainability.” Working in the environmental sector comes with its fair share of challenges. “The main pushback is that people don’t really understand what we do,” says Price. Like Pilcher, Price notes that “people were used to the environmental department being a runner on-set, physically sorting the waste – which is not a good use of anybody’s time.” She stresses the oft-forgotten ‘bigger picture’, which

the co-director of Sustainable Film and co-founder of The Generator

Project. She is also the chair of the Sustainability Working Group for the Production Guild of Great Britain (PGGB) A melia Price’s career began in production, but – declining to choose between work and motherhood – she switched to location management, as this provided greater flexibility. It wasn’t until then that she truly realised “how wasteful and destructive the industry is,” she says. “You see exactly what’s left behind. It was eye-opening.” As someone who has been keenly environmentally aware since childhood




is ‘sustaining the industry’ as a whole and supporting the three pillars: people, planet and profit. “We ask productions difficult questions: do they have mental health support? Is there any chance for flexible working? It’s something I’m particularly passionate about – how we get the best out of people,” describes Price. “We need the industry to make money and thrive so people can get paid, but it’s all interconnected. It’s much more interesting when we’re working with people who are engaged.” Price’s day-to-day mainly consists of conversations – meeting with suppliers or people on productions, upskilling them where appropriate and connecting them with one another. “We spend a lot of time explaining that this is what the industry needs. If you want to be successful in the industry, then you’re going to need to do X, Y and Z.” This is especially true for the PGGB. “The Guild’s membership is a key group of people – a powerful voice for sustainability. It’s about getting them on board with what we’re doing. It can be hard work if you get a line producer who doesn’t understand why you exist, essentially,” Price admits. Price echoes Pilcher on the importance of climate storytelling. “As the makers of content internationally,” she says of the UK screen industries, “there’s so much we could do in terms of narrative and getting simple things into everyday scenes. We’ve got such power pertaining to massive behaviour change. It doesn’t need to be complicated.” IT’S hard work IF YOU END UP WITH A LINE PRODUCER WHO doesn’t understand WHY YOU EXIST”

The UK is one of a few countries arguably leading the charge. “We have a fair amount of the technology in place, and people are starting to get used to it. When you shoot abroad, it can be a bit trickier,” Price confesses. That said, sustainability is a ‘small world’, and Price maintains an international network of professionals who can ‘provide the on- the-ground support’. Frustration is par for the course in this line of work. “Not everyone loves looking at carbon footprints,” admits Price, “but every day is a new learning experience too. You have to be patient – and must rein your expectations in,” she concludes. However, a breakthrough (as well as the satisfaction that comes with it) would be worth the wait.




BAFTA ALBERT A lbert is BAFTA’s sustainability branch, leading the UK screen industry by example in ensuring a greener future for all. Since its inception in 2011, the organisation has launched several certifications that standardise sustainable production practices and demonstrate the industry’s commitment to climate action. As part of its toolkit, albert’s carbon calculator allows productions to measure and report their carbon footprints, adding to a database of over 1000 projects. Following a carbon action plan can also result in an award of one, two or three stars if completed successfully.

GOLD STANDARD The BAFTA albert Summit (above) emphasised the interdependence of sustainability, addressing social and economic issues too

In late 2020, albert released the Screen New Deal, a report which addresses the carbon impact of tentpole productions and suggests specific, implementable actions to achieve net zero. The report’s primary message was simple: the screen industry requires systemic change. Breaking down the data, the Screen New Deal found that 50% of a production’s carbon emissions come from fuel (used in cars and generators), 30% from energy (gas and electricity), 16% from air travel and 4% from temporary accommodation. Put more plainly, a production’s average fuel consumption could fill over 11,000 car tanks; average air travel equates to 11 Earth-to-Moon trips; and average energy consumption could power Times Square for five days.



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