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Antarctica

Antarctica Film & Photography Production Services & Camera Crews

Are you a media company, brand, ad agency or production company looking for film / photography production support or shooting crew in Antarctica? Contact us for trusted fixers, producers, directors, DoPs, videographers, photographers, and full shooting crews tailored for the specific needs of your project.

Filming In Antarctica

For an introduction to shooting in Antarctica see below notes on film locations, permits, when to shoot, unique local stories, costs, tax incentives, crews, talent, equipment, communications, art department, studios, post facilities, visas and work permits for filming, transport, film-friendly accommodation, and safety advice.

Antarctica Film Locations

Antarctica is the least explored continent on the planet. About 98% of Antarctica is covered by the Antarctic ice sheet that averages at least 1 mile (1.6 km) in thickness. The continent has about 90% of the world’s ice and thereby about 70% of the world’s fresh water. Geologically, Antarctica is a frozen desert. It is the world’s coldest, driest, and windiest continent with very little rainfall and very little vegetation. The continent is home to many mountains, so many that Antarctica has the highest average elevation of all the continents. Mount Erebus is the world’s southernmost active volcano. The continent is home to more than 70 subglacial lakes. Towering icebergs float by. Deception Island is an island in the South Shetland Islands archipelago. The island is the caldera of an active volcano. In terms of biodiversity Antarctica is home to penguins (Emperor, Adelie, Gentoo, Rockhopper, Chinstrap, and Macaroni), blue whales, orcas, colossal squids and fur seals. Antarctica also experiences the meteorological phenomenons Diamond Dust and Sun Dog. The Southern Lights (Aurora Australis) can also be seen in Antarctica. Climate change is starting to alter the frozen Antarctic landscape, with some areas now seeing moss growth.

Don Juan Pond is a small, ankle-deep lake located in the McMurdo Dry Valleys of Antarctica. With a salinity level of over 40%, it is the saltiest known body of water on earth.

Blood Falls is a bright-red waterfall that flows from the Taylor Glacier in McMurdo’s Dry Valleys.

Werner Herzog’s Encounters At The End Of The World filmed in McMurdo Station. BBC’s Dynasties Emperor penguin episode based in Neumayer-Station III.

Vernadsky Research Base on Galindez Island is open to visitors. It is one of the southernmost bars in the world and includes an offering of locally distilled vodka.

Trinity Church on King George Island is the southernmost Christian Orthodox Church in the world.

Antarctica Film Location Permits

Antarctica has no locally based government. Although various countries claim sovereignty the continent is considered politically neutral. Please contact us for location specific information.

When To Shoot?

Antarctica is colder than the Arctic. It has recorded the lowest temperature on earth at −89°C (−129°F). The peak of winter has 24 hours of darkness. In the summer temperatures can get as high as 15°C (59°F) with 24 hours of daylight. East Antarctica is colder than the west because of its higher elevation. Weather fronts rarely penetrate far into the continent, leaving the center cold and dry. Heavy snowfalls are common on the coast. Most expeditions film between the summer months of November and March. These are the months when Antarctic penguin chicks hatch and fur seals can be seen hunting in the melting ice floes. Southern Lights (Aurora Australis) is best photographed from March and September. For monthly weather statistics please see here.

In terms of the best time of day to shoot (in the summer months), the early hours around 3am are the magic hour when the sun is at its lowest. The midday light is not ideal for filming.

The Last Desert ultra-marathon takes place in November.

Unique Local Stories

Brands are looking for local stories that match their brand narrative. Our local teams are a great lead for sourcing those unique stories and characters.

If you are looking for stories for your next shoot, send us your brief and we will pitch you ideas.

If you have a unique story you would like to pitch to a brand anywhere in the world, pitch us your idea. We have well-established processes to ensure that your ideas are properly seen and protected.

Antarctica Costs & Tax Incentives For Filming

Costs. Antarctica is an expensive place to film both in terms of getting there and needing to bring everything with you. There are no local services let alone any film infrastructure.

Tax Incentives. At present, there are no specific tax incentives designed to attract filming in Antarctica.

Antarctica Film Crew & Talent

Crews. Antarctica has no pool of local directors, directors of photography and stills photographers. All crew and equipment need to be brought in.

Contact us if you are looking for a director, DoP / cinematographer, videographer / camera operator, stills photographer, or any other film crew for your shoot in Antarctica.

If you are an exceptionally talented director, DoP / cinematographer, videographer / camera operator, or stills photographer, introduce yourself here.

Talent. There are no indigenous people in Antarctica. The research stations scattered around Antarctica have around 1000 residents during the winter and up to 5000 in the summer. Roughly 40,000 tourists visiting each summer. The NSF is a great resource for local contacts.

Antarctica Film Equipment

Equipment. All equipment needs to be brought in. Carnets may be used to bring film equipment into Antarctica if the customs jurisdiction immediately prior to entering Antarctica is a member of the ATA system. So gear entering through New Zealand is accepted but gear entering through Argentina is not accepted.

Equipment will need to be weather-proofed as the harsh temperatures will make it freeze and become brittle. Consider alternatives to gear such as conventional batteries and fluid-head tripods. Make sure to bring spares of crucial equipment. See here for more on filming in extreme cold.

Communication. High-frequency radios are required. Research bases have phone and internet connection. 

Communication is key. Our agility and global experience allows us to customise the right communications systems for every shoot.

Web posted casting, scouting, and videoconferencing.

For clients that are unable to attend set we offer a virtual video village solution. This dedicated and secure high-resolution video streaming platform allows clients from one or multiple timezones to view setups without compromise and to participate in real-time with the team on set. Separate systems can be set up for the discrete conversations that are required to make a job run right. Working remotely with our local teams reduces your content production costs, turnaround times, carbon footprint, and risks associated with unpredictable global events.

Antarctica Visas & Work Permits For Filming

There is no visa requirement for Antarctica but you will need visas for any countries that your vessel or aircraft visits en route to Antarctica. See here for more information for US film crews.

Antarctica Transport & Accommodation

Transportation Infrastructure. Getting to Antarctica is only possible by sea and / or air. It is possible to get around some areas by helicopter or fixed wing plane. Difficult to access areas of Antarctica are reached by foot.

The most common way for film crews to get to Antarctica is by plane from New Zealand.

For boats to the Ross region and Eastern Antarctica, most often used ports are: Invercargill / Bluff (New Zealand) and less commonly Hobart (Australia). These trips may involve two different ports sometimes departing from one and returning to another.

Filming in Antarctica from Chile is also possible. This tends to be the preferred approach in terms of costs and logistics, particularly by crews coming from the Americas.

Accommodation. There are no hotels in Antarctica. Film crews can base on ships. Expeditions heading inland carry in gear and camp in the extreme weather conditions.

Final Notes

Safety. Professional safety and weather gear is essential. Be mindful to cover up carefully as Antarctica’s harsh freezing winds will be felt through the slightest gap in clothing. Make sure to bring implements that allow you to operate your camera without removing gloves. Be mindful that even indoor temperatures can be cold enough for frostbite. In the daylight, sunburn is an issue with the lack of ozone and snowy surface reflecting almost all of the ultraviolet light. The remote location of Antarctica means medical help is far away so make sure to bring appropriate first aid supplies. Some filmmakers planning to stay for longer periods have gone as far as having their perfectly good appendix removed as a precautionary measure.

See here for additional travel information.

Down Time. Take a polar plunge into the freezing Antarctic waters. Camp under a clear night’s sky.

Projects. For an example of TV commercials, stills campaigns, online content, corporate videos, virtual reality 360 content, feature films, TV series and documentaries shot in Antarctica, please see below:

Hire Antarctica Production Support & Shooting Crew

If you are looking for a film or photographic production service company, line producer or fixer for your shoot in Antarctica, please contact us.

If you are looking for a shooting crew for your shoot in Antarctica, such as a director, DoP, photographer, videographer (cameraman / camera operator), camera assistant (focus puller), sound operator, grip, gaffer, stylist, hair and makeup, PA / runner, production driver, please contact us.

We are able to provide you with answers, references and bids quickly.