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Industry Report: Green Industry Initiatives and Sustainability

Green Film Shooting: Environmentally friendly delivery


E-delivery of film prints reduces the cinema sector’s carbon footprint

Green Film Shooting: Environmentally friendly delivery

The awareness of resource management is also growing among exhibitors. In order to motivate exhibitors to take sustainable measures in the areas of energy efficiency, renewables, concession, and recycling, 2016 Green Film Shooting presented the Green Cinema Label, which received positive feedback from the domestic film industry at the Berlinale as well as at the Cannes International and Venice Film Festivals. 

As in film production, energy and transportation are key factors in theatrical exhibition that generate the lion’s share of environmentally harmful carbon emissions. According to a study by the German Exhibitors Association, the use of digital projection and air conditioning systems has caused the energy costs of cinemas to increase 45 % during the 2011–2015 period. Unless motion picture theaters are powered by renewables, their carbon footprint is directly and adversely affected. 

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Digitized film production has resulted in a flood of films that has led to cinemas opening anywhere from fifteen to twenty films each week. Since arthouse cinemas cannot schedule all these films in their available time slots, many end up being screened only once during a week-long run, which has enormously increased the number of prints on physical hard drives that are being transported. In Germany alone, tens of thousands of DCPs (Digital Cinema Prints) are sent back and forth across the country each week. 

An alternative is digital film transport via high-speed data lines. The independent company Gofilex, which supplies more than 1,300 cinemas in Europe and which works with all the major studios as well as about 100 independent distributors, has set up its own terrestrial network. “We can deliver films at any time on our Gofilex-owned server directly to the cinema”, says the Darmstadt-based company Gofilex which is in charge of Organized Digital Delivery (Gofilex ODDTM) for the German and Austrian market. Thanks to this system, no hard drives need to be produced, recorded with content, or shipped out, so there is nothing to return afterwards. This server-based system benefits exhibitors and distributors as well as the environment. 

“It makes ecological as well as economic sense to stop using hard drives”, says Kalle Somnitz, exhibitor of Düsseldorf-based Filmkunstkinos. “The shipment of hard drives harms the environment because of the transportation involved, while digital film transport relieves the staff of having to wait for the delivery of a physical package to the cinema each week.” 

Server-based film delivery is an exceptionally smart ecological alternative, especially if data centers choose to go green and cinemas are powered by renewable sources. “This delivery system saves time and effort because no package has to be shipped”, sums up Nino Otteni, Chief Operating Officer at the Forum Cinemas in Offenburg. “Delivery via high-speed data lines is quick, flexible, environmentally-friendly, and reliable.”

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