Polyboard Update – Chimera Frames

As part of our sustainability efforts, we’re no longer supplying polyboard.

Instead, we have invested in Chimera panel kits, which are a fantastic reusable alternative that include both black and white cloth to achieve the same effect as polyboard. We hope these will heavily reduce our waste while still giving our clients the same results on set.

As suppliers it’s important we are actively looking to reduce and manage our waste, we want to deliver the best possible service to all our stakeholders, and to do this we need to make sustainable choices. As we step up to make investments into greener and more sustainable options, we hope our clients will join us on this journey.

We went with Chimera Panels as they are compact, lightweight and easy to use. Set up in seconds, the textile panels cover the whole frame, so you don’t get any bounce or reflection from the metal.

The textiles, like polyboard, have a white side and a black side. In the image above you can see the different sizes and how the textile covers the frame. As demonstrated with the white panels, you can’t see the frame when the textile is attached. The black panel demonstrates how the textile looks on the reverse side for reference. You would clip the fabric the opposite way when using it in situ so that the frame is completely covered.

Our frames come in both 4×4 and 6×4 sizes with a black/white textile – they can be assembled and dissembled in seconds and come in a compact travel bag.

We also provide diffusion and silver textiles which can be added to the kit at an additional cost. Check out our product page for more information.

Pro Motion Introduces Rechargeable AA batteries

As part of our ongoing sustainability journey, we’re completely replacing single use batteries for rechargeable alternatives.

All our larger cameras and lights use Vlock or Block batteries, and we will now supply all equipment that have AA requirements with like for like rechargeable replacements. You’ll get the exact number of batteries the kit requires, along with some spare batteries and a charger to boot.

The rechargeable batteries are very much part of the kit and must be returned as received upon completion of the hire, otherwise a £25 restocking fee will incur. The same applies for the charger, which if not returned will incur a £20 restocking fee.

In the event that batteries and or chargers are found after any fees have incurred and replacements have been restocked, we would encourage you to still send them back. In return, we’ll plant a tree on your behalf as a thanks for doing your bit for the environment.

While this is a small change, it still plays a part in helping us become more environmentally focused and sustainable in our approach to supplying kit for the film and television industry.

Pro Motion Hire’s Sustainability Story

You may or may not know that Pro Motion Hire has been on a journey towards sustainability since the beginning of 2021. Pro Motion’s Directors are passionate about the environment and realise with all the issues facing the planet, that the biggest contribution we could make to reduce our collective impact would be at work. Initially, we were looking at recycling and plastics – brainstorming how to be more environmentally friendly this led to looking for support and then, in turn, a more sustainable approach that touches every aspect of the business.

What started with a will to become carbon neutral quickly developed into investing in our business and our team by working with a specialist consultant to help us ensure we were prioritising more than just carbon neutrality and net zero as our “sustainability objectives” and instead focusing on building a resilient business that is prepared for the future, while also actively reducing our environmental impact.

As we know, the impacts of Climate Change will have a real and direct impact on our communities and our company, so naturally, reducing our GHG emissions is very high on our propriety list.

 

Surveying the (emissions) situation

We are in the process of completing our first ever CO2e Footprint for 2021 – aka our baseline – so that we can ensure we have a clear starting point to work from to ensure we reduce our scope 1, 2 and 3 emissions year on year in line with global targets while continuing to offer a safe, enjoyable working environment to our team and top quality services to our valued clients.

We will be sharing our numbers on our social media channels (and in our sustainability report at the end of the year) so we have nowhere to hide if we don’t meet our targets in the coming years.

It turns out that gathering all the right data for a baseline footprint is a time-consuming and, at times, arduous task and because of this is taking a lot longer than we had hoped to be able to get going with our reduction strategy.

 

Ecologi

While we know offsetting is not the solution to our Net Zero ambitions, we also believe that it has its time and place. To help us on our journey (while working out a reduction strategy) we have been working with Ecologi since April 2021 to offset our company and staff emissions.

We decided to work with Ecologi because their approach to ‘offsetting’ is not just planting trees (they do that too, of course – but as a future solution) but investing in emission reduction solutions – in collaboration with the Indigenous communities in which these projects operate.

Since April 2021, we have saved 620.43 tonnes of GHG emissions from entering the atmosphere through verified and certified offsetting projects and planted 9,862 trees across global reforestation projects from mangroves in Madagascar to restoring Polylepis forests in Argentina!

See our forest here!

 

Collaboration for our goals

As with most companies, the largest portion of our emissions come from our supply chain. In order to reduce our supply chain (scope 3) emissions in line with science-based targets and the GHG Protocol, we are actively prioritising choosing suppliers that share our values and commitment to a fairer, greener and more socially just world.

The beauty of sustainable procurement is that it encourages other businesses to take action towards better social and environmental practices, so collectively we can have a greater positive impact.

We also share ideas and best practices with other hire companies to help the wider industry transition more quickly. Barry Bassett at VMI has led the way with the Rental Industry Sustainability Group, and it’s a pleasure to take part in the quarterly meetings and share all our small and big wins as a group. I don’t know any rental houses not taking this seriously and making strides.

We also know that we couldn’t possibly achieve our goals if our team weren’t on the same journey; that is why their involvement and participation are essential to our plan. We have a system in place whereby they can contribute ideas and have agency in how we approach these complex issues.

 

An Environmentally Responsible Business

Over and above just looking at our GHG emissions, we have proactively integrated an Environmental Management System into our everyday practices and procedures. We believe that being aware of our potential impacts before they are a problem can not only saves us money (and face) but demonstrates to our team and clients that we are taking our environmental stewardship seriously.

While we have chosen not to go for any kind of 3rd party certification at this time, we are acting as if we were. Even having a dedicated (external) Environmental Advisor on our team to ensure we are taking the right action at the right time and using our resources responsibly.

Positive Steps:

  • Turning off lights, computers, and other equipment when not in use – helping us reduce costs and emissions
  • Replaced cable ties with Velcro ones.
  • Removed plastic bagging materials for lenses and filters, and replacing them with reusable glassine pouches – reducing single-use plastic waste, and avoiding the pitfalls of “biodegradable plastic.”
  • Using Rework for recycling PPE and other hard to recycle plastics.
  • Using Staze to book hotels, and reduce travel-related GHG emissions through hotels that are actively reducing their own emissions!
  • Using Ecosia as our standardised search engine, which partners with communities to restore and protect biodiversity hotspots through their ad-revenue.

Work In Progress:

  • Removing tungsten lighting from our inventory – this is 90% complete.
  • Solar power for our Manchester office.
  • Composting food options for both North and South – in talks with our suppliers and building.
  • Removing polyboard from our inventory.

 

If you have an idea to help us improve Pro Motion’s eco-ethical journey, you can share it with us here.

Read our Environmental and Human Rights pledges to learn more.

 

 

Case Study: Welcome To Earth

Production company(s): Nutopia, Protozoa Pictures, Westbrook Sudios

Welcome to Earth is the hotly anticipated follow-on to award-winning space and science documentary series One Strange Rock. Being Executive Produced by Academy Award-nominated Darren Aronofsky (Protozoa Pictures), Jane Root’s Nutopia and Westbrook Studios, and hosted by Will Smith, from Disney+. It was destined to push the boundaries of what is possible to capture with a camera on this planet, providing ground-breaking, breath-taking images from a world often hidden from sight. 

After working with Nutopia on One Strange Rock, Pro Motion were proud and excited to be appointed main kit supplier for Welcome to Earth (WTE) and relished in the opportunity to push their services and expertise to new heights. Shoots travelling worldwide with multiple crews, over a 2-year period with, in some cases up to 10 RED cameras, ranging from 1 – 4 weeks in length are rare. Pro Motion supplies equipment for a wide range of natural history and expedition productions, but none came close to the requirements of WTE. ‘Which is exactly why we love it’ – Jess Lolliot Commercial Director, Pro Motion, ‘challenging, yes but it’s also endlessly engaging and a pleasure to work with such an outstanding production team and crew.’  

Pro Motion worked closely with Nutopia’s Production and Crew, testing and demonstrating a whole range of supporting equipment; as the main equipment supplier for the series, they were keen to be involved from the offset. It was once again a pleasure for them to work with series DOP Brendan McGinty, (16oz Studios) who as a RED Gemini owner, is incredibly familiar with the RED camera systems.  


We began testing long before shooting on Welcome to Earth, and slowly came to an ambitious approach towards cameras, lenses, grip and our cinematic point of view. This leaned heavily towards the two camera systems I knew and loved, Red’s DSMC2 sensors in both the S35 Gemini and Vista Vision Monstro. These sensors were then met with a selection of Angenieux zooms, Sigma Cine Primes and a host of specialised optics… macros, extreme tele photos, borescopes…

And throughout this prep Pro Motion took this unique approach and scaled it up. They allowed us to move from the more boutique approach of our test tools… to the logistical rigours of a multimillion-pound, multi-unit and location international production. We regularly ran up to 10 camera bodies on our set pieces with Will Smith… and Pro Motion’s facilitating and support throughout this was immaculate. 

At no point did we ask and not receive with what was regularly another camera, lens, lighting or grip innovation.

Brendan McGinty – DOP, 16ozStudios


Pro Motion knew from the outset that the team wanted to deliver visually stunning images and were focused on showing the world in a new way. As such they provided a variety of unique kit, investing in probe lenses, Infra-Red Optical Low Pass Filters (IR OLPFs), and various grip setups. The RED Gemini was the obvious choice as the main camera with the RED Monstro for all the host shoots, in this case Will Smith. The Gemini provided dual ISO with its low light mode, not to mention 16.5+ stops of dynamic range and lower data rates, both essential for the requirements of the shoot. It then stepped up to the Monstro for its 8K resolution and full frame format- the perfect pairing. 

Photo credit – Brendan McGinty

This is where strong relationships with suppliers and manufacturers come in to play.

Jess Lolliot – Commercial Director, Pro Motion

Not only did the REDs provide a small form factor, which production needed for travelling the globe and the crew required for the locations and style of shooting, but they also offered interchangeable lens mounts, OLPFs and various modules, so it was truly the most versatile camera for the job.  

Lens-wise, Nutopia and Brendan went with the Sigma Full Frame High Speed Cine Primes and Angenieux EZ Zooms as the main options throughout the shoot as they are both lightweight and incredibly versatile. The Laowa 24mm Probe lens with its small lightweight size and macro capabilities provided unique angles alongside a whole host of other Laowa, Canon and Nikon lenses to name a few. 

From the beginning of the series Nutopia had a clear vision and Pro Motion had a dedicated team available to offer technical support or get involved in technical research as needed. ‘This is where strong relationships with suppliers and manufacturers come in to play’ – Jess, Pro Motion ‘being able to lean on RED, CVP, Defy and Sigma, to name a few, enabled us to pull together last-minute tests, see what would and wouldn’t work, and adapt the kit as needed for each specific shoot.’  

Initially this involved focusing on grip, looking at all types of sliders, cable cams, and gimbals so they could create movement in various forms throughout the series. Pro Motion invested in several new pieces of kit, most notably the Movcam Roll Rig and the Defy Cadance cable cam. The Roll Rig, if powered using a Cmotion Motor, can spin the carriage whilst the camera sits inside, creating a 360-spin with a central image. Simple and complex at the same time, it is a useful tool. The Defy Cadence was a more complex set up with the Ronin 2 to create a versatile, and crucially, portable system, which managed to trek to the jungles in Nepal. The Defy can take a fully loaded Ronin 2, and create controllable, repeatable shots at up to 30mph.  

Photo credit – Disney/NGC

Everyone at Pro Motion works to support large scale projects like WTE, one of the many faces busily working behind the scenes is their engineer, Lee Follett. When you are pairing a lot of different manufacturers to create unique set ups, having their own in-house engineer to fabricate parts, plates and bespoke cables is a vital lifeline for them. 


Being able to react to crew in house prepping to go to far flung locations who need a longer cable or a different adaptor has been incredibly valuable. We’ve even had Lee fabricating housing and adapting our roll rig.

Alain Lolliot – Technical Director, Pro Motion

What might seem a small yet crucial element that production asked for with the hindsight and experience from OSR was an easier and more practical monitoring solution. As they were often filming in remote situations, they needed the flexibility to be able to both run and gun, and then put the monitor down when needed to get hands on. Pro Motion’s technical supervisor, Ollie Wesley, worked closely with KT Systems to custom design monitor cases to accommodate the SmallHD 703 Bolt and additional Teradek 500/1000 RXs with Bebob 98wh VMicro batteries, in a compact and comfortable manner, with waterproof material and padding so that everything was always protected.  


We’re always learning from our clients and crews.

Ollie Wesley – Technical Supervisor, Pro Motion

Pro Motion also hosted a variety of test shoots at their premises throughout the series, including low light with the Canon ME-20, macro test of live insects, IR and UV tests with our modified RED Gemini and Sony A7Sii. Pushing limits and developing technical boundaries on this project has been an absolute pleasure for Pro Motion, their team has learnt so much collaborating alongside the guys from Nutopia – incredible facts about animals and UV lights to name a few, but you will have to watch the series to learn more! ‘We’re always learning from our clients and crews.  Not everyone’s needs are the same and certainly not when it came to this series when setups haven’t even been accomplished before.  This allows us to learn and pass this knowledge on to help with future projects’ – Ollie, Pro Motion.

Technical equipment, vision, and tests are all crucial to any documentary series, but for one of this scale, logistics and practicalities are just as important. Everything needs to run smoothly and Production and Crew need to be able to rely on their Camera and Lighting Rental House to deliver across the board. 


Pro Motion and Nutopia formed a great working relationship on One Strange Rock, this was  something we were keen to continue on this series.  Jess and her team have met all our demands in technical expertise, guidance, reliability and effort. With the sheer volume of shoots for a series of this magnitude, the requirements cannot be understated and they were with us throughout every step of the principal photography period. 

Eddie Sears, Production Manager, Welcome To Earth

Photo credit – Disney/NGC

Pro Motion worked closely with the crew to ensure they could pack the equipment down in a way that would work for them, both to easily access and shoot, but also to carry through remote and extreme locations. They utilised F-Stop rucksacks, Peli Air cases, and invested in the new Flowtech legs from Sachtler. To make sure everything could be kept as light as possible, Pro Motion technicians worked closely with the AC’s on the prep days in their offices so they understood their preferences and could have as much ready to go as possible.  

With fast paced turnarounds and multiple shoots out concurrently, it was important that Pro Motion had the equipment prepped and tested with a holistic approach to how the kit would be used, and in which extreme environments. The crews needed to be confident that the kit, accessories, and spares could operate in these remote environments. Plus, with minimal time to come in, prep, and then pack down such large multicamera packages, it was crucial that the Pro Motion team we’re available to assist. ‘We have an experienced technical team that would have the kit, prepped, and semi packed then laid out in one of our test areas to run through. We would also have our technician on hand to provide spares, extras and assist with any questions they may have.’ – Ollie   

Pro Motion prides itself on its passion for technology and the filmmaking industry, working across ground-breaking shows that challenge them, but it is often the logistics and administration which happen behind the scenes that make the difference to production. Creating carnets for last minute projects and being able to support early deadlines for complex country entry requirements give a level of support and confidence to a production that rely on you as a part of the team.

All these worldwide shoots require a lot of logistics and support. Pro Motion’s small part of this is to deliver and collect from the airport when needed, and be available on the phone no matter what mountain the crew are shooting on, or what time zone they are in.  


Carnets are always a challenge, but with One Strange Rock and Welcome To Earth we have produced 100s of carnets and can confidently say not only do we understand how vital it is but we have worked hard to create a reliable and practical system that we’ve had the luxury of testing time and time again thanks to these shows.

Jess Lolliot – Commercial Director, Pro Motion

Photo credit – Disney/NGC

Pro Motion worked on over 40 shoots all over the world, often with last minute time frames reacting to natural events in the world. This meant they needed to be able to respond quickly with equipment and carnets. At the start of the project, they had some difficulties with batteries travelling world-wide, as everyone in the industry will know the restrictions are tight. But more than that the airline staff are often unsure of what type of battery is what. Pro Motion had ‘travel safe’ stickers made up to be able to cover all the elements on the batteries and supply in large print the battery info for airport attendants. 

Every Camera and Lighting Rental house can provide a camera kit, but it’s the passion, care, and attention to even the smallest detail that Pro Motion provide which allows a fast-paced shoot like WTE to have seamless equipment and support.  

View Pro Motion’s other projects here.