Posted on 4th July 2019

Employing local crews when filming abroad

Find out how this NHU production used local crew to cut their emissions by 100 tonnes

Tuppence Stone, series producer of Patagonia, chose Chilean wildlife cameraman Christian Munoz-Donoso as a key member of her team to capture the enigmatic animals and otherworldly landscapes of Chilean and Argentinian Patagonia.

Not only was Christian’s knowledge of the climate, terrain and wildlife key to the series’ success, but using a local cameraman and his film kit rather than flying a crew from the UK saved both money and cut carbon emissions. Over four trips to South America, the production cut their excess baggage costs by about $32,000 (£20,600) and reduced their carbon emissions by 64 tonnes. That’s equivalent to the annual carbon emissions of around 14 UK homes.

The Patagonia team also hired a local crew for a dive shoot in Argentina, to film local shellfish collectors who dive in the shallow waters alongside Southern Right Whales, saving around $6000 (£3900) excess baggage costs from the UK, and 37 tonnes of carbon emissions. And by using an Argentinian Octocopter UAV (drone) rather than a helicopter to film the biggest parrot colony in the world on sea cliffs near Viedma, over 500 miles South of Buenos Aires, they saved another 1 tonne of carbon emissions.

The production team won an award from the Argentine Ministry of Tourism who commented that they had never before seen their country or wildlife shown in such an impressive way on television. It’s hoped that by raising awareness of the natural richness of Patagonia, audience will be more inclined to want to protect them by supporting local conservation programmes.

Technical Info

Use of the Chilean team filmed for us in Patagonia: pumas, guanaco, parakeets, monkey puzzles and timelapse scenics and historical steam train

4 shoots – where our costs were massively reduced by using their kit and topping it up by taking out 4 pieces of equipment excess baggage instead of typical excess of 24 cases.
So, excess baggage cost saving = 20 cases x 4 shoots @ $200/bag each way = 80 x $400 = **$32,000 cost saving (£20,633)

CO2 emissions saving = 20 @ 20 kg each = 400 kg over following distances:
London to Buenos Aires = 7000 miles, return 14000 miles @ 400kg= approx 15.8 Tonnes CO2e
London to Santiago = 7300 miles, return 14600 miles @ 400kg = approx. 16.3 tonnes Co2e
Approx. 16 tonnes CO2 saved each shoot x 4 trips = 64 tonnes saved overall

We also looked into hiring in country – and did so for one dive shoot in Argentina – which again reduced impact of shipping the extra equipment for dive shoots. Which were able to drive, rather than fly equipment to the location from Buenos Aires.
Oceans dive kit estimate are 30 bags @20 kg – much more than standard kit – so based on that Cost savings = 30 cases @ $20 per bag = $6000 dollars saved
CO2 savings = approx. 37 tonnes

And for an Octocopter shoot – we have worked with a team based in Buenos Aires – with impressive results, and travel being by car 1 day each way to film around amazing sea cliffs where the biggest parrot colony in the world nests.
Using helicopter for approx. 3 hours would produce approx. 1 tonne CO2 emissions

TOTAL carbon emissions savings overall = 64 + 37 + 1 = 102 tonnes