• LA
  • NYC
  • São Paulo
  • London
  • Paris
  • Dubai
  • Mumbai
  • Shanghai
  • Tokyo
  • Sydney

Northern Exposure: Filming in Yellowknife, Northwest Territories Canada

Written on December 11, 2012


Yellowknife sits on the Great Slave Lake 400km (250mi) south of the Arctic Circle in the Northwest Territories, Canada. Great Slave Lake is home to an interesting year round houseboat community. When winter comes the lake freezes and creates the Dettah Ice Road, as seen in the TV show Ice Road Truckers. Yellowknife is also known for its historic rustic Old Town. Outside of Yellowknife you can find aboriginal towns, closed mines and hundreds of miles of straight roads through vast wilderness.

Yellowknife is the perfect base for Arctic looks ranging from dogteam races across endless frozen landscapes to following caribou and musk ox or photographing the otherworldly Aurora Borealis. Some crew and equipment is available locally. The rest needs to be brought in from Edmonton (1.5hr flight), Calgary (2hr flight) or Vancouver (4hr flight via Edmonton or Calgary). Canadian crews are very experienced in working in cold and challenging conditions.

When to shoot? Spring leaves appear in late May about the time the ice disappears from Great Slave Lake. Summers are mild with June and July offering up to 24hours of sunlight. Summers have very intense light conditions so camera filters may be required. Summers also see a lot of bugs with mosquitoes in June and black flies in August. July is the best summer month to film. Around August, the birches and poplars of the barren lands start to show fall colours. Winters come early and by January / February conditions are extremely cold and the landscape is completely snow covered. March and April are good months for light with long magic hour conditions. Note, sunglasses are a must during winter daylight hours. The geomagnetic storms that cause the Aurora Borealis are most likely to occur from September to March. For more information see Aurora forecasts here.

Accommodation. Yellowknife has over a thousand hotel rooms. Contact us for film friendly Yellowknife hotel recommendations and corporate rates.

Film Crew

If you are looking to film in Yellowknife and require a film fixer or full production service support, please contact us.

Photos courtesy of the Northwest Territories Film Commission.