Today, Sony Pictures Entertainment — which itself has led the charge in sustainable filmmaking with its carbon-neutral production of The Amazing Spider-Man 2 (2014) — is celebrating a decade of environmental innovation at its Screen Gems film label. The media giant says Screen Gems’ dedication to and implementation of creative, low-impact moviemaking practices has helped drive industry awareness of environmentally friendly technologies and new approaches to production.
Screen Gems’ more thoughtful approach to filmmaking began in 2006 when the label built a semi-permanent set superstructure on Stage 23 of the Sony Pictures Studio Lot. This structure was used on seven feature films, including Quarantine, The Stepfather, Obsessed, Takers, Death at a Funeral, The Roommate and Burlesque. The use of this superstructure eliminated the need to build the frame for each feature’s set, which prevented the use of additional materials and also reduced each production’s set building costs.
From there, Screen Gems continued to pioneer new ways to film with less impact on the environment. During the filming of Think Like a Man (2012), Screen Gems became the first production to use only energy-efficient lightbulbs and LEDs — which are 75 percent more efficient than traditional set lighting because they use less energy, emit less heat and increase the number of locations a production can consider — on set.
“LEDs are a game-changer for me,” added Gainor. “They allow us to get into a smaller location and allow us to get into a location that could’ve been restrictive if we used heavy cables.”
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Two years later, while filming the sequel Think Like a Man Too, Screen Gems partnered with Caesars Entertainment and its CodeGreen strategy. The filmmakers embraced the challenge of shooting on location, which avoided the need to build sets, and Caesars embraced Screen Gems’ environmental standards. The partnership continued behind the scenes, as well: Caesars ensured sustainable best practices were in place for cast and crew, from composting to water refill stations to a comprehensive recycling program for paper, glass, cans, plastics, batteries and toner cartridges.
While shooting About Last Night (2014), Screen Gems continued its focus on reducing the energy consumption of its productions by not using set generators, which are typically needed to power film production on location. Thanks to the use of LED lighting and the Sony F65 digital motion picture camera, which captures high-quality picture in low light, the production was able to use the city’s existing power grid in place of set generators.
As Screen Gems enters its second decade leading the industry in sustainable moviemaking, Sony Pictures says it will continue to drive innovation that is light on the environment and contributes to the cost-efficiency of production budgets.