Filming atop of Borneo’s Mount Kinabalu, one of the highest peaks in South East Asia, the Wonders of the Monsoon team took an efficient and sustainable approach to the shoot with efficient equipment, power provision and crew transport.
Filming at numerous locations on the mountain, from the summit to the dense rainforest, they were keen to avoid the use of traditional portable generators which can chug upwards of 10 litres of petrol a day. Grid power is often the most carbon friendly supply of power but the closest source was a lodge halfway up the ascent, this itself an offshoot from the village at the mountain base. The team rigged up a charging station in the lodge and relayed v-lock batteries to and fro with mountain guides who were making the journey on a daily basis. So, powered by the grid and transported in a human relay; constant power was supplied to the camera, the offloading station and the rushes were safely ingested into the adapted MacBook with a specially modified charging unit powered by camera batteries.
It is possible to stretch innovative power solutions further when coupling them with efficient devises. The Monsoon team used six Z-96 LED light panels for the opening of a rafflesia flower, a 5 day time-lapse sequence, also charged from the v-lock relay.
Dwarfing the carbon savings listed above however, the Monsoon team found reliable and proficient local crew, combined multiple shoots into single trips and partnered with other BBC productions to reduce its travel footprint considerably. This made it possible to shoot 7 sequences in a single shoot, greatly reduce the overall number of international trips needed, and also to use local expertise to capture footage at short notice.
Across 6 shoots using international cameramen the team saved upwards of 100 tonnes of CO₂ by avoiding baggage transport and crew travel. On the Borneo shoot they saved 56 tonnes of Carbon by only travelling once instead of three times. And by not using a generator on the mountain they saved 100 litres of petrol – enough to get them from Bristol to Edinburgh and back.