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Finland

Finland 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 Finland? Contact us for trusted fixers, producers, directors, DoPs, videographers, photographers, and full shooting crews tailored for the specific needs of your project.

Filming in Finland

For an introduction to shooting in Finland 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.

Finland Film Locations

Finland is a Northern European nation known for its thousands of lakes and islands, lighthouses, dense forests, wooden cottages, snow-covered landscapes, and the city of Helsinki.

Agricultural film locations are limited given the short summers. Crops of note include barley, oats, potatoes, wheat. Finland has cattle farms. Lumber mills are available for filming. The country mines iron ore, nickel, cobalt, copper, zinc, and lithium. Factories produce metal products, electronics, machinery, ships, chemicals, textiles, and apparel. Energy locations include nuclear power plants, hydroelectric power plants, as well as solar and wind power facilities.

Finland has hosted productions including Hanna (2011), The Amazing Race 10 (2006), The Jackal (1997), and Doctor Zhivago (1965). The country is also a popular destination for productions coming from all over the world including Chinese, Indian, German, and French shoots.

Film locations can be divided by the following regions: 

Southern Finland

This includes the regions of Uusimaa, Kanta-Häme, Päijänne Tavastia, Kymenlaakso, and South Karelia.

Helsinki is the capital, the largest city, and main film production service centre. It is a city of parks, forests and waterways, with sleek modern architecture and one of the largest concentrations of Art Nouveau buildings in Northern Europe. Helsinki film locations of note include Helsinki Cathedral, Uspenski Cathedral, Finlandia Hall, Musiikkitalo, Amos Rex Museum, Museum of Contemporary Art Kiasma, Finnish National Gallery, National Museum of Finland, Helsinki Art Museum, Finnish Museum of Natural History, Design Museum, Kamppi Chapel of Silence, Temppeliaukio Church, Olympic Stadium, Helsinki Central Station, Hartwall Arena, University of Helsinki campus, National Library of Finland, Botanical Garden, and Linnanmäki amusement park. The Jackal (1997) and Doctor Zhivago (1965) filmed in Helsinki.

Suomenlinna fortress, and Seurasaari Open Air Museum are located a short ferry ride from Helsinki.

Finnish Aviation Museum is located near Helsinki Airport.

Porvoo, located an hour’s drive east east of Helsinki is known for its charming cobblestone streets and iconic red wooden shore houses. The Jackal (1997) filmed in Porvoo.

Tavastia Castle is located in Hämeenlinna.

Lighthouses of note include Jussarö Lighthouse, Porkkala Lighthouse, Russarö Lighthouse, Söderskär lighthouse, and Rönnskär Lighthouse.

Loviisa nuclear power plant is located in Loviisa.

The Lahti Ski Jump Tower is converted in the summer months to have an open-air swimming pool at the bottom of the jump.

National parks of note include Nuuksio National Park, Repovesi National Park, and Sipoonkorpi National Park.

Imatrankoski Rapids surge is available for filming. The dam is opened daily in July and August.

West Coast

This includes the regions of Åland, Southwest Finland, Satakunta, Ostrobothnia, Central Ostrobothnia, and South Ostrobothnia. The west coast region offers picture perfect forested islands, old wooden towns, lighthouses, historical manors and and a laid-back islander lifestyle.

Turku is a medieval city located in this part of Finland. Film locations include Turku Castle, Wäinö Aaltonen Museum of Art, Turku Cathedral, and St Henry’s Ecumenical Art Chapel.

Old Rauma is the medieval wooden city centre of the town of Rauma.

The Åland archipelago, located in the Baltic Sea, is an autonomous Swedish speaking region of Finland. The archipelago consists of thousands of islands.

Lighthouses of note include Bengtskär Lighthouse, Kylmäpihlaja Lighthouse, and Säppi Lighthouse.

Olkiluoto nuclear power plant is located in Eurajoki.

Finnish Lakeland

This includes the regions of Pirkanmaa, Central Finland, Northern Savonia, Southern Savonia, and North Karelia. Central Finland is known for its deep green forests, rolling hills, and thousands of lakes. If you’re looking to film the cozy lake cottage and sauna lifestyle, this is where you will find it.

Tampere is the largest city in the lake region although it feels more like a small town. Film locations include Tampere Central Library, Tampere Stadium, Vapriikki Museum Centre, Moomin Museum, Nasinneula Tower, Kaleva Church, and Tampere Cathedral.

Olavinlinna Castle is an island castle available for filming.

National parks of note include Koli National Park, and Helvetinjärvi National Park.

Doctor Zhivago (1965) filmed in Joensuu, Kiihtelysvaara, Lieksa, Punkaharju, Punkasalmi, and Saimaa.

Oulu

This includes the regions of North Ostrobothnia, and Kainuu.

Oulu is known for Oulu Market Hall, Oulu Automobile Museum, The Oulu Museum Of Art, Tietomaa Science Centre, and Northern Ostrobothnia Museum.

Marjaniemi Lighthouse is located in this region.

National parks of note include Oulanka National Park, and Hossa National Park.

Hanna (2011) filmed in Kuusamo.

Finnish Lapland

Finnish Lapland is the northernmost region. It is home to the Sámi people. Lying north of the Arctic Circle, this sparsely populated region has a landscape of tundra and dense forests conjuring up images of reindeer sleigh rides through snow-covered winter wonderland landscapes, lit up by the magical Aurora Borealis (Northern Lights).

Santa Claus Village is located in Rovaniemi.

Sámi Cultural Center Sajos is located in Inari.

Ski resorts of note include Levi Ski Resort, Pyhä Ski Resort, Saariselkä Ski Resort, Ruka Ski Resort, Iso-Syöte Ski Resort, and Yllas Ski Resort.

Salla Reindeer Park is located in Sala.

National parks of note include Riisitunturi National Park, Pallas-Yllästunturi National Park, Urho Kekkonen National Park, Lemmenjoki National Park, and Pyhä-Luosto National Park.

Kakslauttanen Arctic Resort and the SnowCastle of Kemi are unique hotel film locations in Finnish Lapland.

Finland Film Location Permits

Finland has a film friendly and streamlined permitting process. Filming that does not significantly disrupt public use of a location does not generally require a permit. Permission for filming in Helsinki with exclusive use of public property generally takes about a week to process. More complicated shoots, filming in national parks or historic locations usually take around 2 weeks to permit. Please contact us for location specific information.

When To Shoot?

Finland has a four-season climate. Winters (December to March) get very cold and snowy. During midwinter in Lapland, the sun does not rise above the horizon, meaning 24 hours of darkness. The best time for filming the Aurora Borealis is between September and March. Spring (April to May) starts to see warmer weather and longer daylight hours. In Lapland snow can remain on the ground until May, making it an ideal place to shoot late snow looks. Summers (June to September) are warm with Lapland receiving 24 hours of daylight. Forested areas are plagued by mosquitoes during the midsummer months so remember to bring plenty of repellent. Fall (October to November) brings colourful leaves. For monthly weather statistics please see here.

Finland hosts some interesting events including:

• Reindeer Championship Races (March / April)
• Juhannus Midsummer Festival (June)
• Wife Carrying World Championships (July)
• Air Guitar World Championships (August)
• Savonlinna Opera Festival (July / August)
• World Berry Picking Championship (September)
• Christmas markets throughout Finland including Helsinki, Naisten Joulumessut, Porvoo, Turku, Tampere, Oulu, Rovaniemi (November / December)
• Christmas in Lapland in Santa’s Village from December 24th – 26th

Finland is a predominately Christian country, so those holidays are observed.

Public holidays may affect timing, availability and costs. See here for public holiday dates in Finland.

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. Finland is a member of the EU and trades in the Euro. Generally speaking, Finland is the least expensive of the Scandinavian countries. Location and equipment costs are more or less the same across Scandinavia. The main difference is labour costs and over time costs. To elaborate, Finland crews work a ten-hour day and have lower fees. In Sweden crews work an eight-hour day and fees are 15% higher. Denmark crews work an eight-hour day and fees are 20% higher. Norway crews work a ten-hour day and fees are 20% higher than Finland. All that said, our locally based fixers and service producers will negotiate deals and provide the appropriate level of production support to match every budget. See here for the current VAT rate.

Tax Incentives. Finland offers qualifying productions a 25% cash rebate. Visit the Tekes website for more information.

Film Crew & Talent

Crews. Finland has a good pool of directors, directors of photography and stills photographers, several being of the highest international standard. Finnish crews are non-union. Crews are experienced, efficient, hard working and experts in working in very cold conditions. Crews speak fluent English.

Contact us if you are looking for a Helsinki or Lapland 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 Finland.

Talent. Finland offers both a union and non-union option. Amateur actors and featured extras are non-union. Buyouts are 50% of day rate for Baltic countries, 50% for Scandinavia, 50% for Russia, 100% for Europe and 500% for worldwide. But it is always possible to negotiate with union actors.

Finnish and Swedish are the official languages. English is widely spoken.

Finland is a sparsely populated country. The Finnish people are the main ethnic group. The Sami people are an indigenous minority living in Lapland. Finland’s close proximity to other major European production centres allows easy access to those pools of talent should you ever need to look further.

Fringes. Finland does have a social security and pension system but all of this is already covered in the budget.

Premiums. For crew, Finland works on a ten-hour shoot day. The next two hours are time and a half and double time after that. There is no difference between a day or night shoot. Holidays and Sundays are at slightly higher rates. Talent receives a flat day rate but if it’s a longer day then our Finnish producer / fixer will negotiate a fair rate for that.

Finland Film Equipment

Equipment. Finland is Arri based and has all the standard cameras, lights and cranes available locally. Helsinki has the major equipment houses with some basic gear also available in Lapland. More specialised equipment such as Russian Arms can be easily brought in from nearby major European production centres. For productions looking to bring in film equipment Finland is an ATA carnet country.

Communications. In terms of communications, Finland has one of the fastest internet speeds in the world.

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 of a very high standard in Finland.

Studios. Finland has several good studios. Mediapolis has 6 purpose built studios. Kajawood Studios include 3 sound stages, office, editing rooms, VFX departments, make-up departments, restaurant, and catering facilities.

Post Production. Finland offers a high standard of post production services including colour grading, visual effects, 3D motion graphics, editing, and sound. Companies of note include Fake and Toast Post.

Visas & Work Permits

Finland is a member of the Schengen Area. Visiting US film crews can enter visa-free for a period of up to 90 days. Contact your closest Finnish embassy / representative for more information.

Transport & Accommodation

Transportation Infrastructure. Finland has a highly developed transportation infrastructure. Many international and regional budget airlines service flights to and from Finnish cities. The train system is extensive and often a faster alternative to flying.

Accommodation. Contact us for rates at film friendly hotels in Helsinki and other parts of Finland. For longer stays we can also organize serviced apartments. Hotels of note include:

Kakslauttanen Arctic Resort
Radisson Blu Plaza Hotel, Helsinki
SnowCastle of Kemi

Final Notes

Safety. Finland is one of the safest countries in the world. See here for up to date travel advice.

Down Time. Relax in one of Finland’s thousands of saunas, try some traditional food (sauteed reindeer, cloudberries, and salmon) and drink (Kossu Finnish vodka).

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 Finland, please see below:

Hire Finland Production Support & Shooting Crew

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

If you are looking for a shooting crew for your shoot in Finland, 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.