Green Film Making ended a busy 2019 with the launch of our Film Harvest Map in Mediamatic in Amsterdam! On Tuesday November 5, participants braved the dreary weather and were treated to an interactive workshop on sustainable energy on set. It was a varied evening with, among other things, a case study of the live broadcast of the Prinsengracht concert, Wim Horst from the Municipality of Utrecht showed the public electricity points for sustainable power in town and various suppliers showcased their sustainable generators and battery packs. All the entries for these good examples were of course shown live on the Film Harvest Map, developed together with Superuse Studios. You can now find sustainable power solutions at a glance across the country!
Mediamatic is located next to Amsterdam Central Station and is known worldwide as a center for experimentation at the intersection of art and science, with a focus on nature and biotechnology.
In their unheated warehouse we installed our presentation so it could run on green power from the Wattsun battery pack. Outside the warehouse the generator van True Hybrid of Het Licht and electric van KAREL were placed as good examples of power on location. We chose not to heat the warehouse, as this could only be done (within budget) with patio heaters on gas; not sustainable! Luckily everyone was game to just sit a bit closer together and keep their jackets on. Many departments were present; gaffers, filmmakers, location managers and various film commissioners from all over the country.
Launch Film Harvest Map
Els opened the event by introducing Jan Jongert from Superuse Studios, the architectural firm that developed the original Harvest Map that was the inspiration for our Film Harvest Map. Jan had just returned from China and gave an example of the efficiency and focus on service that underlies the harvest map concept: In the HSR to Shanghai you can now order food on your mobile in the next city, where after arriving at the station the meal is handed to the stewardess who brings it to your seat. This way of thinking, the rapid linking of various services and resources, can be used effectively to combat waste and reduce emissions.
In the past year Green Film Making has started to map for the Netherlands where you can get clean energy on location, with the help of film commissioners and various suppliers. On the online map, www.filmoogskaart.nl, you can find for various cities in the country where you can get grid power through the municipality and where you can rent sustainable generators and battery packs.
The Wattsun battery pack can now be rented at Locatiewerk, Het Licht, The Powershop and SKOON. Tijn of Locatiewerk says that it is being rented more and more, for example for catering that has to power a refrigerator during the night and can simply leave the Wattsun in their van. That is the advantage of emission-free. Location manager Thijs Bolle said that he had deployed it for an English production called Us that shot at Amsterdam Central Station. This way power did not have to be taken from stores with many annoying cables in the way of regular traffic. Rob IJpelaar, also location manager, recently used it for a video village in a forest. A new version with a slightly larger capacity of 2000 Watt will be released soon.
Various film commissioners had helped with providing information for the map on fixed power points in their city or province. Wim Horst, Advisor Special Use of Public Spaces at the Municipality of Utrecht, and the “man with the key” of the green power outlets in the city told us how efficient it already works there. After a simple phone call he comes, by folding bike !, to open an underground power box, you connect immediately and the bill is sent afterwards. There are different underground power boxes on Neude square, so the number of cables is kept to a minimum. The Dutch Film Festival uses these, among others. As a next sustainable step they are installing fixed water points around the city.
The KAREL (Cart for Electricity on Location) was developed by Noud Verhave who was inspired by gaffer Harm Bredero to find a solution for energy and transport on location in the city. In addition, he now also has the smaller KARIMA and the new KARLOS (for Southeast Amsterdam) and KARLIJN. Producer Roderik really had to do some convince for his gaffer for the graduation film Shady to shoot the day scenes with KAREL in Diemen. But in practice they were never below a battery load of 70%. Roderik says that the KAREL cannot handle a lot of lighting, but a video village, catering and hair and makeup are not a problem. Noud also always calculates whether the KAREL can handle the requested capacity and thinks along about the choice of materials.
Roel Bleumer from Volta Energy unfolded the solar panels of his battery pack inside the warehouse without any problems. The Volta has already been used for the shooting of a promotional video of the Dam tot Damloop, but otherwise not much else has been done in the film industry yet. Location manager Ralf Wentink, however, has been working together with Roel for a long time to look at the possibilities for a pilot. We called Ralf live on a set of De Slag om de Schelde in Belgium, to hear how the new bigger version of the Volta works in practice. There are still some teething problems, it turns out, but it is still a prototype. A positive point is that the solar panels can re-charge quite a lot, even in bad weather. And the existing small Volta Energy version works like a charm.
Han Huiskamp had also arrived in the meantime and shared he has developed a new 35 kVA version of the Greenbattery. He would like to test this for the film industry as it would fit well in terms of capacity. He would also like to have a drink with Roel to look at the details of the medium format.
Daaf van der Veen gave an enthusiastic speech on what the actual need for energy on set is. The solution is not in new equipment, but in thinking carefully about what you actually need. This was nicely illustrated by a set where the generator had stopped, and the Wattsun had ensured that the shoot could continue. With less light, but with a creative solution. So it is possible. Another good example came from the DOP of Hollands Hoop, who had to shoot in the wet clay of Groningen. A watertight fluorescent tube system was especially made for this (which Daaf had installed outside the warehouse). It was a fraction of the cost and much less hassle in terms of transportation. But the point is to start planning early so that there is time to develop a good plan.
Members of the panel about the set in practice, Ing Lim, Willem Doorman and Zen Bloot, had a dynamic conversation from their various positions as film commissioner of The Hague, location manager and DOP.
Producer Ronald Kok from AVROTROS and Jim van Oosten of Watt-now presented a case study of the tests they did with Green Film Making at the last Prinsengracht concert. Because of the location in the center of town, production was forced by the Municipality to take a more sustainable approach. It certainly helped to have Els on set to talk to all the different departments. It was the first time that a detailed analysis was made of exactly what voltage was used during the production week, where the peaks were and whether the chosen arrangement was the best solution. The results were very surprising! During the peak consumption of the concert itself, only 80 kVA was used in total, while 2 × 200 kVA and 1 × 80 kVA were on site! One of the 3 generators had even never turned on at all. Producer Ronald, in particular, was very honest and admitted how surprised he was. He was really stunned about the fact that he had rented 2 generators for nothing. Han from Greenbattery guaranteed that he can do the next Prinsengracht edition completely sustainable for the same price. And De Groene Aggregaat and Greener can certainly also handle this, they have even done much larger shows.
After a detailed overview by Willem Doorman about different electrical devices on the set, Els invited everyone to propose additions to the map and also announced an expansion for set design and props for 2020. And that we also want to expand the map internationally, starting with our Belgian colleagues. Then it was time for drinks and further plans were made for the future in the beautifully lit waterfront greenhouse. There was talk about the upcoming Eurovision Song Festival, which really should be possible with sustainable power. Some were also chatting outside in the cozy KAREL. All in all a very inspiring conclusion of 2019 for Green Film Making!
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