Canada 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 Canada? Contact us for trusted fixers, producers, directors, DoPs, videographers, photographers, and full shooting crews tailored for the specific needs of your project.
Filming in Canada
For an introduction to shooting in Canada see below notes on film locations, permits, when to shoot, unique local stories, costs, tax incentives, crews, talent, fringes, premiums, equipment, communications, art department, studios, post facilities, visas and work permits for filming, transport, film-friendly accommodation, and safety advice.
Canada Film Locations
The world’s second-largest country by landmass, Canada is known for its Arctic landscapes, spectacular mountains, deep forests, thousands of lakes, rushing rivers, plunging waterfalls, rugged coastline, and modern cities.
Canada offers a great depth of unique and international location looks. Toronto, Vancouver, Montreal and Calgary are the main production centers.
Toronto is the gateway to Eastern Canada. Ontario offers locations such as the cosmopolitan metropolis of Toronto, a variety of rural areas, hundreds of national and provincial parks, and frozen landscapes.
Vancouver is the gateway to Western Canada. British Columbia offers looks including otherworldly landscapes, old growth forests, magnificent car commercial roads, snowy mountains, islands and beaches, modern cities, American looking suburbs, picturesque towns, and rural areas. Vancouver is comparable to film hubs like Cape Town in the great variety of locations available a short drive from the city.
Montreal is the gateway to Quebec. The province is best known for its French culture and architecture, vibrant cities, fall colors, pastoral settings, beautiful car commercial roads, and extensive coastline. Quebec locations easily double for European looks.
Calgary is the gateway to shooting in the Rocky Mountains and prairies. Alberta offers modern cities, snowy mountains, vast plains, and cattle ranches. Calgary is a smaller production center so larger shoots may require additional support from Vancouver.
The other two prairie states, Manitoba and Saskatchewan are known for vast areas of wilderness, thousands of lakes, sprawling rivers, sweeping crop fields, and cities that double well for other American cities.
Canada Film Location Permits
Canada is known to be a very film friendly country with streamlined permitting processes that strive to both protect locations and give visiting productions the flexibility they need. Basic permits typically take about three days. Shoots that require downtown street lockups, night shooting, aerials over the city, stunts, and SPFX, will require more time for processing. Please contact us for location specific information.
When To Shoot?
Canada is the world’s second largest country, so climate varies greatly depending on latitude, altitude and proximity to the coast. As a general rule, Canada has a four-season climate. Spring is beautiful and in full bloom. Summers on the coast, in the mountains and farther north tend to be milder than the long, hot summers experienced in the prairie provinces. The western states regularly experience a fifth-season in the late summer months of hazy skies brought on by wildfire smoke. Fall brings colorful leaves, especially on the East Coast. Winters are very cold especially the farther north you go. The only exception is the Vancouver area which has mild, rainy winters that rarely get snow. For monthly weather statistics please see here.
The country is home to hundreds of events that attract filmmakers and photographers. See notes by province.
Canada is a multicultural country that celebrates religious pluralism.
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.
Costs & Tax Incentives
Costs. Canada is a very well established and sophisticated production centre and as with anything that is of the highest quality, it costs accordingly. On average it is still more cost efficient to shoot North American looks in Canada versus the United States especially when it comes to talent-heavy projects. Vancouver and Toronto remain among the busiest production centres in North America.
To save on costs Vancouver has a great depth of very good production managers capable of servicing large TV commercial projects. Shooting in Toronto and Montreal are best achieved with the assistance of a service company. Of course our local service support will negotiate deals and provide the appropriate level of production support to match every budget.
Tax Incentives. The Canadian Film or Video Production Tax Credit (CPTC) for official co-productions is a 25% refundable credit on qualifying Canadian labour spend (net of provincial incentives) on projects that pass Canadian content tests. The Canadian Film or Video Production Services Tax Credit (PSTC) for co-venture projects is a refundable credit of 16% of the qualifying Canadian labour spend (net of provincial incentives) with a minimum worldwide spend of $780,000 (C$1m). For more information see Government of Canada.
Additional financial incentives vary by province and territory. See notes on each here.
Film Crew & Talent
Crews. Canada has a very good experienced pool of directors, directors of photography and stills photographers, several being of the highest international standard. Canada has world renowned creative and technical crews with plenty of experience servicing a range of visiting productions. The main production centers of Toronto, Vancouver, Montreal and Calgary offer an impressive depth of crew. Commercial crews are non-union.
Contact us if you are looking for a Toronto, Vancouver, Montreal or Calgary 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 Canada.
Talent. Compared to other developed western countries, Canada has comparatively low artists costs and buyouts for union and non-union performers.
For a TV commercial, the main talent costs are as follows:
Non-Union Principals – $500 – 10 Hr days / 1.5x up to 14 Hrs / 2x after 14 Hrs.
Extras $200 – $250 depending on nature of production & how many. Ex. group extras, etc.
Buyouts – (All media except Print) $1000 per country other than US, Canada, England, Japan, Asia which are $2500 each.
Print is negotiable depending on usage.
Worldwide Buyout = $4500.
Non-union costs are negotiable.
Canada boasts a very large and experienced pool of multicultural talent.
Canada is also home to unique animal talent such as polar bears, grizzly bears, wolves, moose, bison and more.
Fringes. Fringes are low. Canada has lower fringes on crew than US. Usually about 8-12% for Pension and Welfare and crew benefits.
Premiums. Canada works on a ten hour shoot day except for Alberta which is a twelve hour shoot day. No weekend, night or holiday premiums with crew or talent. There is a premium for shooting on statutory holidays such as Christmas, New Years, Easter, Victoria Day, Canada Day, Labour Day, and Thanksgiving.
Canada Film Equipment
Equipment. Canada’s main production centers offer both Panavision and Arri equipment as well as many boutique equipment companies. Most specialized equipment is available in Canada including Russian Arms, camera cars, cranes and helicopter mounts so there is generally no need to bring gear in from the United States. For traveling productions that intend to bring in film equipment, Canada is an ATA carnet country.
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.
Art Department, Studios, Backlots, & Post Production
Art department and set construction is very experienced. Toronto, Vancouver, Montreal and Calgary have a wealth of prop houses and very experienced heads of department that can create anything from a modern apartment to an alien landscape.
Studios and Backlots. Facilities in Canada are extensive and state of the art. Contact us for recommendations that are right for your project.
Post Production. Canada offers the highest standard of post production facilities. Contact us for recommendations that are right for your project.
Visas & Work Permits
Previously the rules were very strict with all visiting crew required to have work permits that were very time consuming and expensive to get. The good news is now commercial advertising shoots are exempt from the work permit process on the condition the project is foreign funded. See here for more information.
For crew members who will be entering to oversee the project, Western passport holders are able to enter Canada visa-free with an eTA for a period of up to six months. This excludes US nationals arriving directly from the US, who are exempt from the eTA requirement.
Transport & Accommodation
Transportation Infrastructure. Canada has an extensive road network, particularly in the more populated south of the country. Several domestic airlines and charter services are available to access more remote areas. Major Canadian cities are serviced by most international carriers.
Accommodation. Please contact us for corporate rates on recommended film friendly hotels in Toronto, Vancouver, Montreal, Calgary, and other areas of Quebec. For longer stays we can also organize serviced apartments.
Safety. Canada is a very safe and reliable filming centre. See here for up to date travel advice.
Down Time. Go enjoy Canada’s beautiful great outdoors.
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 Canada, please see below:
Hire Canada Production Support & Shooting Crew
If you are looking for a film or photographic production service company, line producer or fixer for your shoot in Canada, please contact us.
If you are looking for a shooting crew for your shoot in Canada, 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.