There are many good reasons for DoPs and gaffers to use LEDs: energy efficiency, durability, flexibility, and speed as well as the resulting compositional possibilities. “Modern LED lights make it possible to switch quickly between different color temperatures”, explains Mike Zimmermann, Managing Director of Lichthaus Berlin. “Lighting cues can be quickly changed from daylight to incandescent.” Shooting with traditional tungsten lights would have made it necessary to use different lighting units and to change gels on set. LEDs also have advantages for outdoor locations because smaller, less environmentally harmful generators are sufficient. “Modern generators are equipped with soot particle filters”, says Zimmermann. “And they don‘t have to run at full power because LEDs don’t require much energy.”
LEDs are particularly favored by studios. Since 2014, when the German broadcaster NDR replaced the twenty-year-old fluorescent lamps in its large studio, it has been using an LED-based backlighting system to provide homogenous studio lighting. LedCyc6 was developed by the Cologne-based company Lightequip in cooperation with the Austrian manufacturer LDDE. “Thanks LDDE, we’re able to achieve energy savings of up to 50 %”, says Jörg Droschinski, Head of Lighting Engineering at NDR. ZDF also equipped its large Broadcast Studio 1 as well as its Capital City Studio in Berlin with LEDs. Background lighting is produced by LedCyc9 panels which provide 30 % more luminosity, while Arri’s Sky Panels S60-C are used for horizon lightening.
The U.S. series The Terror, about the Royal Navy crew that vanished while searching for the Northwest Passage in the Arctic in 1847, was fully equipped with LEDs by Arri. Set up in a studio in Budapest, the snow and ice landscape would have required much more refrigeration if tungsten lighting had been used. “We once relied on big lighting banks in the studio; now we use LEDs”, states Hubertus, Prince of Hohenzollern, Head of Lighting at Arri. LEDs operate well up to 4 KW. At around 5 KW, they hit a physical barrier because the lighting elements must be cooled in order to perform at that level. “Therefore, we set up a lot of small-area units. It will still take a while longer for us to replace the powerful HMI lights that we need for daylight effects.”
Rental houses, such as Arri Rental Deutschland GmbH in Munich or the Hamburg-based equipment supplier Electric Sun, are reporting a high demand for Arri SkyPanels. For the shooting of the Netflix series Marco Polo in Malaysia, Munich-based gaffer Mike Wächter
used 500 Sky Pan- els S60-C. So far, panel lighting from various manufactures has in each
case required different diffusion accessories.
Addressing this issue, Munich-based DoPChoice developed Snapbags, a multifunctional softbox system for gaffers that is economical as well sustainable throughout the supply chain. “Our Snapbags are made of stain- less steel and durably sewn reflective fabric”, emphasizes Stefan Karle, CEO and Founder of DoPChoice. “We’re using robust, water resistant materials that don’t wear out so quickly.”
“The time for half-measures and climate denial is over. Unless we move quickly away from fossil fuels, we’re going to destroy the air we breathe, the water we drink, the health of our children, grandchildren and future generations. If we’re going to avoid the worst of the impacts, then we’ve just got to act boldly. And we must act immediately."
Actor, Director, Producer, Environmentalist
"The media has a powerful role to play in the fight against climate change. Through films, television, and all media outlets, we must continue to deliver the message that solutions are out there and are happening now. We have to make it attractive for people to take action. Movies like Avatar, The Day After Tomorrow, and documentaries like Years of Living Dangerously, which I was proud to be a part of, have been very popular, reaching and inspiring millions of people. And I believe films in particular can really inspire and make people want to take action. It’s great to see some of my film-industry friends working with climate related organizations to push forward those messages."
„It‘s high time to reorganize film production in Germany in a ‚greener‘ and more sustainable way. So far, I am flabbergasted by how much our industry works in environmentally harmful ways.To this very day, it starts with until today one-sided print-outs of scripts, and then it continues with plastic bottles in production offices and lots of plastic waste with every catered meal, and it doesn‘t stop with the limousines that pull up to a red carpet.
For many years, people have sneered at me when I brought my own cup or I declined to eat cheap meat served on paper or plastic plates with plastic knives and forks. It would be great if the Green Shooting Card could change all that.“
Director (Ben X, Time of My Life)
„It’s absolutely great that filmmakers all over the world are trying to clean up their act, and are trying to film as sustainable as we possibly can. Still, I think we shouldn’t underestimate the incredible power of the moving image to also change the hearts and minds of people.
So, apart from trying to be more environmentally aware in our business, I think the big gain lies in how we might make everyone more environmentally aware. Yes, cinema can change the world.
I think filmmakers should start using the powerful weapon in our hands that is the camera.
Let’s not only try to do ‘less bad’. Let’s try to do right, and help drive the change that we all know needs to arrive.“
“We are living in a time in which we can’t afford to behave irresponsibly towards nature. The more important is it that film productions try to work as environmentally friendly as possible. A film team produces every day tons of garbage. I try to avoid using plastic cups on set, I bring my own cup, use ecofriendly cosmetics and avoid needless single rides.”
Photo ® Maddalena Arosio
Darren Aronofsky, Director, Noah / Jury President, 65th Berlin International Film Festival
“When we did Noah we knew we were making a film about the first steward of the earth, so we wanted to be good stewards ourselves. There’s so much waste on film sets. Because of groups like Earth Angel, we were able to change that a little bit.”
"As a TV and film producer I try to incorporate environmental storylines into my projects as much as possible. But it’s just as important, if not more, to ‚go green‘ behind the scenes! Therefore, I help run the Producers Guild of America’s Green Initiative.
We provide resources such as a Best Practices and a Carbon Calculator to help producers green their productions. We also partnered with all the major studios to create www.greenproductionguide.com which is a free green vendor database with over 2,000 vendors offering sustainable production solutions worldwide!"
Producer, Director and Visual Effects Supervisor (2001: A Space Odysee, Blade Runner)
"Trumbull Studios in Massachusetts is dedicated to being green as much as possible, including the use of LED lighting, solar power, and solar laptops. This is not just because our location has limited amperage and no three-phase, we believe we have a responsibility to our community and our planet to be a clean industry.
We are planning for digital photography in 3D 4K at 120 frames per second from remote and inaccessible locations that will not have available power. Solar is the way to go."
Dieter Kosslick, Director Berlin International Film Festival
„The Berlinale is already actively addressing the sustainability subject since years. We appreciate it very much that a growing number of filmmakers, among them this year‘s jury presiden Darren Aranofsky, is following green guidelines on set.“
Director of Photography (A Most Wanted Man)
‘I never have been told precisely what the rules are for shooting a green movie, but we are trying to do it. This is something new for me. Sometimes people overlight scenes at night. I don’t. If I can see with my own eyes, then it is enough for the film. In that sense I am a green DoP.’
Academy Award winner Jeremy Irons who stars in the Berlinale Competition entry The Night Train To Lisbon is a fan of source segregated recycling. „Especially in Germany you have done a lot for that. You are examplary in the matter of waste separation.“
The Hollywood actor travelled around the world to promote the environmntal documentary feature film Trashed by Candida Brady which deals with the global garbage problem: „We buy it, we bury it, we burn it and then we ignore it“, says Brady. „With Jeremy Irons as our guide, we discover what happens to the billion or so tons of waste that goes unaccounted for each year.“
Since the world premiere at the International Cannes Film Festival in 2012 Trashed picked up various nominations and awards at international festivals.