Making a Sustainable Video Production

Sustainability may not be something that comes to mind when making a video production, but there are many ways to try and ensure your video is produced sustainably. We all need to commit to making real change and progress in reaching this goal in both our personal and work lives. Thankfully, more and more companies are embedding it into their company culture and are looking to achieve net zero.

Here are a few ways you can work to ensure that your next video project reaches your organisation’s sustainable development goals and reduces any negative impacts. This list will get you on the right track to picking the right video production company that aligns with your ESG responsibilities.

Ask to see the video company’s environmental policies

If you’re serious about reducing harm to the environment in your supply chain, including a video project, ask to see the video production company’s environmental policies. Any reputable company should have this policy available for you to read. This document should give you a thorough guide to their activities and company culture regarding sustainability and the environment. For example, a few highlights from ours include that we’re provided with 100% renewable energy, 90% of our meetings are remote, we offer remote working, we seldom fly, rarely print, and recycle all waste, including food waste.

In our personal lives, our creative director also helps run a non profit organisation, Give it a Grow Wigan, aimed at improving biodiversity locally.

Charity Video – Homeless Link – video by Digital Finch 

Pick a video company with carbon accreditation

Many video companies also use some climate accreditation or carbon offsetting program. There are companies and organisations that, for a fee, will offset carbon created by the video production company, this isn’t net zero, but it’s a good start. We are signed up with Ecologi, which offers carbon offsetting. Often these accreditations are displayed on the website, so have a look, or you can just ask.

Video production companies are usually smaller and aren’t signed up to ISO accreditations, but networks and smaller accreditations are available. There’s also the Low Carbon Business Network and Green Mark, amongst others, to help demonstrate environmental responsibility.

There is also an accreditation called Certified B Corp – which includes a rigorous assessment of the environment, labour, and more to achieve this status. In their words, they help business business a force for good. We’re aiming to start the process ourselves next year.

Choose a local company or a company that can work remotely

Travel is often one of the most carbon-intensive parts of video production. So by reducing this aspect, you’re already making good progress. You can pick a local company, so if you happen to live near one, that’s great. Suppose you can’t find anyone locally who meets the quality standard you’re after. In that case, you can always find a company that is comfortable working remotely – many will offer this as part of the service now. If they have clear communication it should be fine, and is becoming more and more normal.

Meet on Zoom or by phone

Following on from the last point, Remote working with Zoom / Teams and online meetings are something that started in Covid and is very much here to stay. We have almost always worked remotely since we started in 2015, so it wasn’t a significant change for us. Even clients who are relatively local to us still use Zoom and email only to avoid local car travel. We find it works well and saves time, energy and money.

Choose animation

Animated video production is easily done remotely, reducing travel for meetings and filming. As long as there is good online communication and transparency, it can be a smooth and well-planned project without clocking up loads of miles. A decent animated explainer video company should have an excellent methodology showing the project’s key stages and involve you at each point.

NQC – Supplier Assurance – video by Digital Finch

Use UGC (User Generated Content)

Thinking creatively about the footage means there are a few ways to get around a travelling crew. For example, using UGC (User Generated Content), We’ve worked with phone filmed footage, adding graphics to enhance it. In the past, we’ve also recorded Zoom interviews and edited them to be more professional looking and sounding.

Nothing tops professional sound and video recording quality, but for a quick video to be shared on social media, it will often do the job. You can also crowdsource footage to create a dynamic video that has a friendly energetic feel.

Use Stock Video

Stock videos have been filmed once and are then used many times. The ultimate in carbon saving when it comes to video production! However, stock video can often be cheesy and overused in corporate video, I do see this a lot. Plain shots are simply edited together, the colours don’t match, and they feel too different.  But when curated well and mixed with a good script and graphics, it can help elevate a video without having to go out and film—saving carbon, time and money.

Sustainability Training

If you are procuring videos frequently, it’s worth being in the know. You learn about sustainable production in more detail and embed it in your company culture. Several companies offer specialist training for larger organisations; for example, AdGreen provide sessions for the advertising industry. There will be training for many other sectors too.

When out filming live action

Suppose you can’t escape filming your video. There are more ways you can reduce carbon on set.

Script locally. If you keep the ideas and sets more grounded locally and in reality, achieving them sustainably is much easier. For example, filming in a local city rather than a faraway island.

Hire props. Props and set design are significant in shoots to bring the story to life, but they can end up as single-use items that go in the bin after. This is costly, and the carbon footprint adds up. There are many prop rental companies that can offer all kinds of items.

Use local crews. Flying crews around the world can be carbon-intensive and costly. If you regularly film in different locations, finding local crews who can be trusted to deliver your vision could be worth doing. If you’re hiring a company, ask if they know a local crew or would consider one.

Use VFX. Hiring a local green screen video studio and adding in VFX later or different backdrops can help reduce the need for further travel.

Even smaller activities like bringing food to sets or reducing single-use plastic at meal times will add up. Or even opt for a meat-free lunch!

Hopefully, this is enough to get you thinking about achieving a more sustainable video production. If you found this helpful, please let us know! And if you’re looking for a video production company that works sustainably, get in touch.