British Columbia 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 British Columbia? Contact us for trusted fixers, producers, directors, DoPs, videographers, photographers, and full shooting crews tailored for the specific needs of your project.
Filming in British Columbia
For an introduction to shooting in British Columbia 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.
British Columbia Film Locations
British Columbia offers a great diversity of film locations ranging from the unique to those that double for other places. The province is famous for its spectacular beauty of vast snow-covered mountains, pristine glacial lakes and rivers, rushing waterfalls, old growth forests, remote forest-covered islands with impressive mansions, rugged coastline, and modern architecture. Most of the province is very green, but towards the interior your can find more arid looks including vineyards.
Vancouver / South West. Also known as Hollywood North, Vancouver is a favorite destination for productions looking for easy access to a wide variety of locations and a world-class level of production services.
Vancouver offers a shiny modern city skyline, contemporary architecture, typical American suburbs, vibrant Chinatown, trendy neighborhoods, gardens and city parks, major sporting venues, marinas, a container port, and several impressive bridges, all set against the backdrop of a beautiful harbor with snow-capped mountains. One location of note is Stanley Park, a forest inside the city that looks like it could be a thousand miles from civilization. Vancouver also has several beaches that offer the same secluded feel such as Wreck Beach or beaches busy with visitors such as Kitsilano Beach. VanDusen Botanical Garden has a hedge maze. Bloedel Conservatory is a conservatory and aviary. Dr. Sun Yat-Sen is a Chinese garden located in the heart of Vancouver. The Marine Building is a beautiful art deco building. Graham House in West Vancouver is an impressive architectural work. Buntzen Lake Powerhouses have featured in films such as Roxanne, Lake Placid, and Freddy Vs. Jason.
Vancouver is unique in the vast number of modern city, mountain, rural and coastal looks you can access within a short drive from the city center. An hour in any direction can find you on a deep-sea fishing trawler, in a field beside an old dairy farmhouse, or skiing down one of Vancouver’s three ski areas. For mountaineering looks there are several nearby locations where crews can drive right up to the snow line.
Riverview Hospital in Coquitlam is an abandoned former psychiatric hospital and interesting location for a horror film.
Whistler Mountain with all of its winter Olympic venues is only a two hour drive away. The Sea To Sky Highway is ideal for car commercials looking for a road with forest-covered islands on one side and snow covered mountains on the other. Other locations of note a drive from Vancouver include Joffre Lakes, and Pitt Meadows infinity road.
Vancouver Island / Sunshine Coast. The capital Victoria can easily double for old-English looks with locations such as the Parliament Building, Craigdarroch Castle, Empress Hotel, Fan Tan Alley, Christ Church Cathedral, Dominion Astrophysical Observatory, and Fisgard Lighthouse. Victoria also has a vibrant Chinatown, which can double for those looks.
Vancouver Island is known for its beautiful temperate rainforests, old-growth trees, and the rugged Pacific coast with its dark sand beaches and wild surf. Tofino is a beautiful surf town. On the Sunshine Coast side of the Salish Sea, you can find the cities of Gibsons and Powell River, an undiscovered film location. This region of BC is also known for the Great Bear Rainforest, the home of the Spirit Bear.
The Free Spirit Spheres make for a unique film location and place to stay.
Thompson-Okanagan. The more arid interior is famous for its wineries, quaint markets, gardens, farms and orchards. The Kettle Valley Steam Railway, Myra Canyon, and Okanagan Lake are locations of note in this area. Ski resorts of note include Big White, Silver Star and Apex Mountain.
Kootenay. The Rocky Mountains are known for their rugged snow-covered mountains, ski resorts, natural hot springs, pristine rivers and lakes including Yoho National Park’s Emerald Lake. The historic, bohemian city of Nelson is in this region. Ski resorts of note include Revelstoke, Fernie, Kicking Horse, and Panorama.
Cariboo. Pinnacles Provincial Park, Moose Valley Provincial Park, Ten Mile Lake Provincial Park. Historic Gold Rush town of Barkerville.
North Coast & Nechako. This region of BC is famous for the islands of Haida Gwaii and the Great Bear Rainforest. This region of BC is great for photographing grizzly bears especially in places such as Khutzeymateen Provincial Park.
Northeast. The Alaska Highway starts in Dawson Creek, in the Peace River Basin. This region is also great for photographing the Northern Lights (Aurora Borealis).
British Colombia has hosted a long list of productions including The Twilight Saga, Man of Steel, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, I-Robot, Titanic, Jumanji, Seven Years in Tibet, Final Destination, Scary Movie, Rambo: First Blood, X-Files, It (TV miniseries), and many more.
British Columbia Film Location Permits
British Columbia has a film friendly, streamlined permitting process. Please contact us for location specific information.
When To Shoot?
Spring (April to May) brings flowers in full bloom. Vancouver spring days bring cherry blossoms and snow-capped mountain backdrops. Summers (June to September) are warm with long sunny shoot days. Most of British Columbia’s forests are evergreen but some trees, especially in the cities, turn colorful in the fall months (October to November). The salmon run takes place during the fall months, depending on the location and species. The coastal areas of the the Pacific North West, including Vancouver, have very rainy winters (December to March) with almost no snowfall. British Columbia’s mountainous areas are cold with road-accessible snow often available as early as November.
The Cariboo Cross-Country Ski Marathon takes place in 100 Mile House every February.
Public holidays may affect timing, availability and costs. See here for public holiday dates in Canada.
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.
British Columbia Tax Incentives For Filming
Tax Incentives. British Columbia offers a Production Services Tax Credit of 33% on qualifying British Columbia labor costs, plus an additional 17.5% on qualifying Digital Animation or Visual Effects labor, plus a 6% Regional Tax Credit bonus on qualifying regional labor. For Commercials, British Columbia offers a 5% tax rebate for foreign productions. Our Vancouver production service producer takes care of all the paperwork and a cheque is sent directly from the Federal Government to you, usually within a few months.
British Columbia Film Crew & Talent
Crew. Vancouver is Western Canada’s main production service center. The city has world renowned, experienced creative and technical crews that specialize in servicing a broad spectrum of productions from Hollywood feature films to commercial stills.
Contact us if you are looking for a Vancouver or Victoria based director, DP, photographer, videographer (cameraman / camera operator), camera assistant (focus puller), sound operator, grip, gaffer, stylist, hair and makeup, PA / runner, production driver, or any other film crew in British Columbia.
Talent. One of the major reasons to shoot in British Columbia is the access to animal actors. Trained exotic animals included a polar bear, grizzly bear, bald eagle, wolf, cougar, and raccoon.
As far as human talent goes, Vancouver has an extensive and experienced pool of actors and models, particularly for Caucasian and Asian looks. Half of Vancouver’s population is of Asian descent making it a great place to cast for those looks. The only lead roles that might need an extra round of casting outside of Vancouver would be African looks and high end fashion models. There are 198 distinct First Nations groups in British Columbia including the the Haida, Coast Salish, Kwakwaka’wakw, Gitxsan, Tsimshian, and Nisga’a people. Film characters synonymous with British Columbia include raincoat wearing pot smoking environmentalists hippies, coffee connoisseurs, lumberjacks, fishermen, and outdoorsy types like kayakers, trail runners, mountain bikers, skiers, and rock climbers.
British Columbia Film Equipment
Equipment. Vancouver offers both Panavision and Arri equipment as well as several boutique equipment companies. The majority of specialized equipment is available in Vancouver including an Ultimate Arm, camera cars, cranes and helicopter mounts. Vancouver no longer has the Russian Arm.
Communications. 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.
British Columbia Studios & Post Production
Studios. In terms of sound studio space, Vancouver is second only to Los Angeles. Among the many films shot in Vancouver’s studios include Netflix’s Altered Carbon which filmed in Skydance Studios.
Post Production. Vancouver has world class post facilities. It is a leader in SPFX having had worked on productions including Apollo 18, Elysium, Continuum, and Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows to name a few. Vancouver also has a film lab.
British Columbia Film-Friendly Accommodation
Accommodation. Please contact us for recommended film friendly hotels in Vancouver, Victoria, Whistler, Kelowna, Prince Rupert and other areas of British Columbia.
Safety. British Columbia is a very safe and reliable filming centre. See here for up to date travel advice.
Down Time. Vancouver is an outdoor paradise that within a couple of hours drive offers snow skiing, beach volleyball, sea kayaking and trail running. For the foodies out there Vancouver offers delicious sushi, dim sum, and West Coast fare. For those looking to totally switch off take a seaplane out to the Gulf Islands.
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 British Columbia, please see below:
Hire British Columbia Production Support & Shooting Crew
If you are looking for a film or photographic production service company, line producer or fixer for your shoot in British Columbia, please contact us.
If you are looking for a shooting crew for your shoot in British Columbia, 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.
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