Coronation Street, the longest continuing drama in the world, has also developed the most advanced technical infrastructure for sustainability in TV production. Ever since 2014 when ITV moved production of the popular show from Granada Studios in Central Manchester to MediaCityUK, producing green has been playing a major role in Coronation Street both on- and off-screen. “We took the show apart, looked at every single moving part, and
then we put it back together again,” says Dan Jackson, Coronation Street’s Production Innovation Manager.
Certified by the Breeam method of sustainability assessment, the state-of-the-art buildings are wired with fiber optic cables that carry all audio, video, and data signals on a high-speed data connection between any studio and/or lot. “This system helps us get the maximum potential from the complex by allowing us to plug in cameras across the whole site, which thereby reduces the need to go out on location”, explains Jackson. “We can then go to record straight onto our Avid servers, which makes for a quick and efficient shoot. The digital workflow also means we use no tapes at all in the chain from acquisition to delivery.”
The entire studio facility is powered by a mix of renewables such as biomass, off-shore wind, landfill gas, wind, photovoltaic, and hydro. Coronation Street’s goal is to be as environmentally neutral as possible when sourcing, using, and disposing of all materials and resources. About 120 crew members participated in BAFTA’s carbon literacy training. “Everybody has the understand- ing and the passion to change their behaviour”, emphasizes Jackson. The sustainable approach has an impact on the entire supply chain of the production.
The Make-Up Department is using ecological products; Costume and Wardrobe uses biode- gradable cleaning methods; electric cars are used for transportation; and set materials are recycled while disposable bottles, dishes, and cutlery have been banned. The recycling rate has shot past the 90 percent level. Since scripts and call sheets are accessed electronically via tablets, about 300,000 sheets of paper are being saved each year.
“Technology is changing all the time”, Jackson points out. “The LED lighting market for drama wasn’t anything as it is now because it used to be that LEDs weren’t great for skin tones.” Meanwhile, Studio 1 has been fully equipped with LEDs. “The color consistency is much better now”, elaborates Chris Chrisnall, Head of Lighting on Coronation Street. “Four years ago, all we could measure was the Color Rendering Index (CRI). Meanwhile, the Television Lighting Consistency Index (TLCI) was developed, which allows us to measure the amount of red in the skin. It’s focused on the way the cam-era chip sees the light”, adds Chrisnall.
Coronation Street uses a Building Management System to maximize efficiency in the heating, cooling, and hot water systems in the complex. Smart technology has also been installed in the room housing the servers. “It contains two enclosed cabinets for the equipment racks, which recirculate the cooled air,” explains Jackson. Thanks to this system, only a small area is cooled instead of the whole room. Furthermore, the show features green storylines. “It’s a great opportunity to showcase sustainable living practices through our characters and stories,” sums up Jackson.
Phtos: © GFS