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On the set of a new Blazhoffski drama series

by Els Rientjes It is mid-May 2019 and I’m in a meeting with executive producer Marjon van Welzen and production manager Diana van Wegen at production company Blazhoffski. It’s two weeks until their first shooting day of a major new drama series. More than 80 shooting days are planned between June 1st and the end of November for a series that is ambitious in appearance, but low in budget. On the wall of their office is a series of portraits of the cast. Largely young faces, with a few open spots where negotiations are still under way. Blazhoffski has stated they want to make sustainable production a habit, which is why Green Film Making has this discussion with the heart of this production. I am greeted enthusiastically and we go through the whole design of the series, on which I can give direct feedback and tips and write a report they can use right away. I offer to negotiate with the caterer in particular, since their setup really requires a creative caterer for whom nothing is too much and who has sustainable cooking already in the genes. During several phone calls afterwards I learn that the right caterer has been found. And by some stroke of luck, she also has the perfect spot for the main location of the series. A house in a beautiful rural area, on the outskirts of Amsterdam, where the central couple of the series can have their house. In the first few weeks, they test how much waste the crew produces on an average shooting day. Is it worth it to separate waste? Marjon...

Production team The Big Escape goes the extra mile

Dutch production company BlazHoffski wants to produce as sustainably as possible and asked Green Film Making to consult their productions. And so on June 4th, sustainability manager Els Rientjes met with executive producer Nicolle Weenink and production manager Yara Graber, who were scheduled to shoot their third series of The Big Escape, a big reality game show with Dutch celebrities, in September. In a detailed conversation it became clear how they had produced the show in previous seasons and all details related to logistics were carefully evaluated. Based on this, Els made an initial report and detailed advice, with which Yara went to work. There was regular phone contact during the preproduction process, so that Els could always jump in or add something extra when needed. Of course, preparations are easier if you have run the production twice before, but then the trick is to make choices that are slightly different. And not just go on autopilot. From the outset it was clearly communicated with the crew that BlazHoffski really wants to produce sustainably, through the digital call sheets and in conversation with the crew and cast. In September, on the last construction day, we were invited to visit their set to speak to all the Heads of Department. We wanted to know how they had been involved in the preparations and what their vision was of the possibilities of a more sustainable season. Here a report of the measures that they took together. The crew slowly arrived one by one during the day, according to schedule. Production manager Yara had arranged personal drinking bottles with people’s names on...

Sustainable goals live broadcast classical concert ‘Prinsengracht’

Good preparation is half the battle! In 2019 Green Film Making joined the production team of the big annual live broadcast of the classical Prinsengracht concert in Amsterdam. Broadcaster AVROTROS raised the bar and, in addition to the many studio and news shows that had already been consulted, wanted to shoot this major event as sustainably as possible. Ronald Kok, the producer of the show, knows how the cookie crumbles and how to collaborate with partner Pulitzer Hotel. This year there was an extra challenge, since the Municipality of Amsterdam had raised the requirements for events in terms of sustainability considerably. The production of the Prinsengracht concert has been done by AVROTROS together with the Production Factory since many years and the technical suppliers don’t want to miss an edition of this annual landmark event. Such a close knit team has many advantages, but when you’re suddenly required to do everything sustainably, the pressure goes up. Sustainability Manager Els evaluated all departments together with producer Ronald and as a first measure the AVROTROS decided to work completely digital. A website was created where both the crew members and the festival audience on boats could go to arrange everything; registrations, callsheets, technical information, construction schedules and the content of the concert. The additional requirements of the Municipality of Amsterdam includes an environmental coordinator who must account for catering, waste, energy, safety, communication and transport before, during and after the concert. No permit without full approval. Not a problem for Ronald though, who submitted everything on time and was planning to run the show on clean energy this year. But the...

Rethinking waste: Sustainable Set Design

photo: Set of Les Misérables (BBC, 2018) reclaimed by DRESD Whether it’s a police station in 1980, a medieval alleyway or the inside of a space shuttle; a lot of time and material goes into making a fitting decor. Unfortunately, all this beautiful work is usually not very long-lived. Two years ago the conclusion of our workshop “Art Department, Costumes and Make-up” was that there is a great need for a shared set depot and prop house, a revival of the former NOB. Specifically because there is a desire from the industry to reclaim sets and to reuse them instead of throwing them away. And a lot can be gained in the art department in terms of reuse, recycling and upcycling. Here in The Netherlands, Florian Legters of The Uncrowned King is trying to find a suitable location for such an endeavour and Green Film Making has also looked at an option in old silos in Amsterdam. But until now it is wishful thinking with the biggest stumbling block being: space. Because where do you store all those materials, especially when you want to keep complete set pieces for reuse? And we are not even talking about accessibility.. In the UK they are also facing this dilemma. How can you change a used set from waste to raw material? Our British counterpart albert, the sustainability program of BAFTA, organised a special meeting for art directors: Setting the Stage for Sustainability. And so Green Film Making took a train to the heart of London to look for inspiration that can be applied here at home. The BAFTA offices are located...

Wattsun on set of ‘Meisje van Plezier’

The Wattsun, a portable, plug and play power supply, is now for rent through Locatiewerk and Het Licht. Location manager Rob IJpelaar has already tested this battery system shortly on the set of Talpa’s Meisje van Plezier. There was a shoot at Schiphol airport, where the space was limited and a lot of care had to be taken with the surroundings. The little Wattsun worked perfectly for the lighting in the clothes and makeup van. Only the base unit (Dock) was needed, which could last 16 hours without recharging. Perfect for a whole shooting day. With its 1200W, it does not have the capacity to also connect hairdryers and other devices, but the Wattsun is ideal for certain applications. Think for example about a remote fill light on a larger set or battery recharging. A nice addition for the film set to have portable power available at any desired location! Read our more extensive article about the Wattsun here (IN...

Calculation: saving 96% on energy costs in Utrecht

‘One of the advantages of sustainable production is that it saves money!‘ We say this all the time. That it’s not poppycock is of course best proven with a concrete calculation example. We are getting help from various film commissions with the development of our harvest map and that’s how we learned that in Utrecht they have two nice examples in terms of energy. We spoke to Wim Horst, Advisor Special Use of Public Spaces, about how much you can save exactly by using green electricity instead of a diesel generator. The first example is the annual arrival of Sint and Piet, a ‘special’ Dutch December celebration. The parade always ends at the Dom square where some electricity is needed on location; there are a number of small activities, some lighting decoration and also local broadcaster RTV Utrecht shoots their usual reportage. Previously they used diesel generators which are relatively expensive at around 300 to 400 euros per day. Part of what makes them expensive is that they have to be dropped off and picked up by someone, by car. But now there is the possibility to use clean energy for a fraction of the price through the construction of two in ground feeder pillars on two sides of the square. These pillars are unlocked by Wim who, as he has done for 20 years, goes around on a folding bike (you can see him in action on the photo above). You pull a cable from the pillar to plug in and Bob’s your uncle. Invoicing goes directly through the municipality, which buys renewable energy. And here the calculation:...