Top Learnings from the VP Sustainability Symposium

Last week I was invited to a Symposium 'Emission Impossible: Why Our Own House is Still on Fire' at the University of Greenwich. A gathering of interested organisations and individuals from the film, broadcast and content industries to help explore the state of sustainability in Virtual Production Practices within the Creative Industries.

Its aim to create a roadmap for novel research into sustainable VP film-making.

Our hosts, Dr Jodi Nelson-Tabor and Dr Lindsay Keith from the University of Greenwich, both come from film and broadcasting backgrounds, are hugely passionate in driving sustainability through the creative industries using VP now and in the future.

So, some points I picked up (I will add more as they come up):


  1. VP was not just a pandemic 'fix', and is now a leading tool for film, broadcast and ad production.

  2. Traditionally shot, big budget films use a LOT of carbon, 15m tons per year in the US.

  3. Use of VP can reduce production costs of around 75%.

  4. To use 3000 tons of CO2 (the same amount as a big budget film), a large LED volume would take over 50 years.

  5. Using Green Screen for Virtual Production is just a valid tech solution for film makers, it's just a different tool.

  6. There are lot of passionate and smart people in academia and industry committed to champion sustainability.

  7. While turning an LED volume off or dimmed when not in use, using an appropriately sized volume or considering VP green screen would be the obvious quick fixes to reduce CO2, no one seems to own it in production or on set. This is why the research and data is so important.

  8. Greenwashing is a term - when being 'green' is used for PR purposes and not actually a priority.

  9. Buying Carbon Credits is just kicking the can down the road, we just need to stop using so much power. And everyone with an interest in content production has a responsibility to support it.


This is by no means a definitive list, so expect some updates, omissions and corrections too.

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And why does it have a number after it? So, Unreal (as it's also called) is a Gaming Development platform - think of any computer game, and it had to be created somewhere, UE is one of those platforms