Posted on 16th January 2023

Snowpiercer Season 4 speeds towards a sustainable production

Read on as we examine the major changes which have been made for Season 4 of TNT’s Snowpiercer to make it the most sustainable season yet!

We spoke to the production team of Tomorrow Studios, an ITV Studios Partnership, about the fourth season of Snowpiercer, an adaptation of French graphic novel Le Transperceneige (also adapted as a feature film by Bong Joon-Ho). The series follows the last remnants of humanity aboard the Snowpiercer, a gigantic, perpetually moving train that circles the Earth, which has become a frozen wasteland following a modern-day ice age.

The show has recently wrapped its fourth and final season, a season for which albert sustainable production practices were fully embraced. ITV Studios made the push for these sustainable practices in its international productions as a key focus in 2022 to see how global productions would fare.

While the fourth season was the first to be albert certified, the previous seasons had already been employing sustainable practices such as repurposing sets from season to season.

As the main setting of the show is on board the titular train, there was little need to make sets from scratch and over 90% of sets and props were recycled across the seasons.

After the wrap of season four, a concerted effort was made to give the set, props and costume a second life through selling them to other productions, or giving items to the crew.

The big sustainability wins

Switching to battery generator:

  • Snowpiercer switched to a battery powered generator for location shoots (the majority of the show is filmed on soundstages). Using battery generators can reduce a production’s carbon footprint by 15%! The average production would save 4.8 tonnes of emissions, or 0.4 tonnes per hour of final broadcast. Electric generators also bear the advantage of being quieter and more portable. Find out more about electric generators here.

Selection of LED lighting:

  • Typically, a production will use Tungsten lights, which require a lot of power and burn hot, consequently, they aren’t energy-efficient and are difficult to handle.
  • Snowpiercer switched to 70-90% LED lights for on-location shoots which is uncommon for high-end TV productions! LEDs are much more energy-efficient than tungsten lights and have a swathe of advantages including: staying cool, being quicker to rig and de-rig, being physically lighter to move around, can be pre-programmed with lighting states, no flicker, no buzzing and there’s no chance of a bulb needing to be replaced half way through a scene!

Alongside sustainable production practices, the show also has many examples of onscreen climate content. The premise itself depicts humanity struggling to survive on an Earth devastated by an ice age caused by an environmental disaster.  Snowpiercer also has smaller details such as an avalanche damaging the train car containing the last cows on Earth, the loss of which creates serious supply chain issues. Climate content like this raises awareness of climate change and also challenges audiences to think about these issues without being too on-the-nose.

We’ll leave the rest of the climate content nuggets for you to discover when watching the show…

Season 4 of Snowpiercer is anticipated to air in 2023.