Sustainable Filming Equipment Practices

In an era where environmental consciousness takes center stage, the film industry is stepping into the spotlight of sustainability. Embracing the principles of the circular economy, film industry is proving that creativity and conservation can share the same stage, and the re-use of cameras and lighting equipment is a prime example of this.

Cameras and lighting equipment are being designed with durability and modularity in mind

Fri 25th of Aug 2023

Gone are the days when cameras and lighting equipment had a one-way ticket from the assembly line to the landfill. In the past, movie sets were notorious for generating massive amounts of waste. Besides discarded props and set pieces, the outdated equipment were a huge problems for many studios. However, with the circular economy in the director’s chair, film productions are now adopting a greener approach. 

Cameras and lighting equipment are being designed with durability and modularity in mind, allowing for easier repairs and upgrades. This shift not only reduces electronic waste but also minimizes the need for constant new purchases, thereby cutting down the whole industry’s carbon footprint.

ARRI expands into the refurbished equipment sector

Pre-owned ARRI cameras, lenses, lighting equipment, and other products are being thoroughly tested by in-house service centers in Munich, Stephanskirchen, and other global subsidiary locations. A warranty for refurbished products indicates ARRI’s stamp of approval.

According to Christian Richter, General Manager Sales Region, the company can now ensure that pre-owned cameras work exactly as they as the manufacturer originally intended it to. ARRI products stand out thanks to their long life cycle. For example, the popular ALEXA Classic, which was the first digital camera ARRI released in 2010, has clocked untold thousands of production hours, and is still in use. ARRI also offers software updates for its cameras to keep them on the sets.

RED cameras are known for their modular design as well, which allows users to swap out various components such as sensors, lens mounts, and modules. This modularity enables filmmakers to upgrade or replace specific parts of the camera without needing to invest in an entirely new unit.

Giving the green light to sustainable film lighting

Energy-efficient LED lighting has taken center stage, replacing power-hungry traditional lighting setups. These LEDs not only provide substantial energy savings but also generate less heat, creating a more comfortable environment for both the crew and actors. The circular approach extends to lighting too – manufacturers are designing fixtures with replaceable components, extending their lifespan and diverting them from landfills.

LED lights require 40-50% less power than traditional incandescent, fluorescent and halogen bulbs do. Besides that, high-quality LEDs have an expected lifespan of 30,000–50,000 hours or even longer, depending on the quality of the lamp or fixture, whereas a typical incandescent bulb lasts only about 1,000 hours. They are also more resistant to breakages and mostly immune to vibrations, falls and other impacts.

Cost-effective and sustainable filming

When equipment reaches the end of its usable life, responsible disposal methods are employed. This might involve recycling components or materials, repurposing equipment for other industries, or ensuring that electronic waste is properly processed to prevent environmental harm.

By embracing these circular economy practices, the film industry not only reduces its environmental impact but also demonstrates a commitment to sustainable production. As audiences become more environmentally conscious, the industry’s efforts to incorporate these practices contribute to a positive reputation and a more resilient future for both filmmaking and the planet.



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