VMI Awarded Ealing Business Pioneers To Promote Sustainable Lighting Use In Film and TV

Ealing Business Pioneers grant to help fund running in-person courses to spread awareness of the benefits and advantages of the latest LED lighting technology.

The grant will be used to promote high efficiency lighting technologies which can help to reduce power and energy toward climate sustainability goals.

With this award VMI is launching a series of three-hour in-person workshops for busy producers and crew to directly compare and contrast the latest generation lights. The first of these workshops is on 18 May and will be hosted by VMI at West London College’s Studio at the Ealing Green Campus, the home of the original BBC Ealing Studios.

“Our experience is that clients are acutely aware of the need to change to low-carbon models in everything that they do but freelancers are too busy working, to properly research more efficient alternatives, so change happens slowly,” said Barry Bassett, VMI’s managing director. “With the help of the Pioneers’ grant we will spearhead efforts to educate and inform our clients and the wider industry to use more sustainable fixtures and accessories.”

“At COP26 this year, 12 broadcasters and streamers signed up to The Climate Content Pledge, which had been convened by Industry sustainability group, Albert as a rallying cry for industry to change.  The signatories represented over 70% of time UK audiences spend watching TV and film.  They included BBC, BBC Studios, Britbox International, Channel 4, Channel 5 / ViacomCBS, Discovery UK and Eire, ITV, RTE, S4C, Sky, STV, UKTV.”

(Source wearealbert.org 3/11/21

“By running these courses with Ealing Council’s support and in conjunction with West London College in Ealing Green, we are able to provide these courses entirely free of charge,” he added.

VMI had already committed to a net-zero strategy in 2021.  The company now aims to go further by creating a green lighting division and to help lead efforts to migrate the industry to using only low-carbon lighting.

VMI pledges to produce videos; write white papers; host seminars and regular workshops in conjunction with West London College, all targeting climate action – and plans to provide lighting for WLC’s future courses without charge for the duration of this 18-month project.

“Capital expenditure alone will not change peoples’ production methods,” said Bassett. “Eradicating using damaging disposable polystyrene lighting boards by instead using reusable, sustainable alternatives is one such innovation. We feel the majority of the impact gained by the public investment would be to help speed-up wider industry adoption of the latest lighting technologies and in doing so, to accelerate the reduction of the industry’s carbon footprint.

“All of our existing clients, shooting documentary, music, scripted drama and feature productions are potential beneficiaries of this project, and whilst we are sanguine about the size of VMI compared with the entire market, my plan is to make a big noise to promote the latest low-carbon lighting, in order to help influence the bigger players to follow suit and steer the industry towards universally adopting low-carbon lighting technologies.”

“We feel the majority of the impact gained by the public investment would be to help speed-up wider industry adoption of the latest lighting technologies and in doing so, to accelerate the reduction of the industry’s carbon footprint.”  

Barry Bassett, VMI Managing Director

The Pioneer’s Fund is a £1 million scheme designed to support innovation of products and services in the West London borough.

Delivered in partnership with West London Business, the fund provides grants to Ealing-based entrepreneurs and small businesses which clearly demonstrate a potential economic and/or employment benefit for Ealing or which have a sustainability focus or which collaborate with not-for-profit organisations.  VMI’s concept qualified for all of these.

Councillor Bassam Mahfouz, cabinet member for decent living incomes, explained that they were “looking for innovative ideas to help us meet the borough’s ambition to support growth in key sectors, driven by businesses with a commitment to Good Jobs and supporting the transition to net zero.”

Widely considered to be the most sustainable rental company in the UK, VMI won the ‘Hero of Net Zero’ award at COP26 and awarded the title of ‘Climate Leader’ by Ealing Council for its sustainability initiatives.