The movie industry is increasingly recognizing the importance of sustainability and reducing environmental impact on set. Productions are actively seeking greener alternatives and practices to address climate change and environmental concerns.
In his latest movie “Holiday for Hire” starring Jennifer Taylor from Two and a Half Men, renowned producer Jared Cohn and the crew prioritized finding a sustainable power solution. Being able to power all day without pollutant, noisy generators and switching them out for zero-emission solutions was a big plus for the production as they brought down their carbon footprint.
One of the challenges the crew faced involved creatively transforming the scorching heat and bright sun of Los Angeles into a magical winter wonderland powered by Salt-E Dog, a new sodium based 9kWh emission free, portable electric power source.
For the production, having Salt-E Dog on set delivered a new era of sustainable filmmaking, new sodium technology and a cleaner way of powering lights, cameras, and wardrobe on set. Jared explains his first impressions “I was instantly impressed with the power output, being able to move it around set and it be silent was a massive bonus. We didn’t have to run stingers, not having to run cables made our production go way faster.”
“There are so many benefits for being able to have a quiet contained basecamp in addition to powering lights and everything else. It’s always better to have a small, quiet footprint. We we’re able to plug in our snow machine and fans to create a whole winter wonderland.”Jared CohnDirector
Unlike gas generators, Salt–E Dog produces no harmful CO2 or NOx emissions which help productions deliver on net-zero sustainability pledges. Jared adds “ I want to do whatever I can to help the environment, Salt-E Dog helped shrink the production footprint tremendously.”
Merry Luminous Moments
For Gaffer Xavier DuBose, having a portable, silent power source improved the production workflow of the crew. He explains “A lot of the work on these indie feature projects, it’s all about speed. It is all about getting things done quickly. To just wheel the power over and say this is the power for this and this is the power for that, honestly to me, it is a game changer. It is so much faster.”
The key lighting scene of the movie revolved around the two main characters meeting at a diner, shot on location with the RED Epic Dragon and RED DSMC2 Gemini. Marcus Friedlander the director of photography explains the look the crew we are aiming for: “We were looking for very bright, very airy, a little bit on the colder side. You know instead of 5600 Kelvin we were usually around 4500 Kelvin. I am a big believer and like eye lights and hair lights always, but especially for holiday movies. You know, big eye lights, beautiful hair, and then just absolute tonne of holiday lights in the background. We were shooting on Cooke S4 prime lenses, so in the background you get ninja star bokeh which is the prime holiday look in my mind.”
To achieve the look gaffer Xavier powered multiple lighting fixtures directly from Salt-E Dog alongside wardrobe who were using it for a range of appliances at the same time. He explains “We used it to power three 1200D lights. We were shooting a daylight scene in a coffee house and we were punching a lot of sunlight through the windows to have a nice, frosted December day in LA”.
““Salt-E Dog was running the lights on full power for six hours, that’s in itself a game changer. When you’ve got more and more power hungry LED lights coming out, more people are going to want this type of clean power to use in remote shooting situations.””Xavier DuBoseGaffer
With its whisper-quiet operation, Salt-E Dog was placed closer to the set than traditional generators, eliminating the need for time-consuming postproduction edits to remove generator noise. Xavier adds “with it being silent, I know our audio tech really loved it in the sense of there being little to no sound to have to fight with.”
Moving from pollutant gas generators to clean zero-emission power comes with the safety advantages for productions. Sodium-Nickel technology in Salt-E dog is non-flammable, making it instantly safer to have on location and reducing the need to employ extra fire marshals, water trucks or wait for lengthy fire permits. Jared explains “it changes the production. Nobody wants to be making gas runs, getting more permits and laying our masses of heavy cables which turn into trip hazards, Salt-E Dog eliminates all that and makes the set ultimately safer.”
Productions are starting to prioritize finding sustainable products like energy-efficient lighting, eco-friendly materials, and more sustainable power sources. By adopting these measures, productions can minimize their carbon footprint, set a positive example, and contribute to a more environmentally conscious entertainment industry.