As the western seaport of British Columbia, Vancouver is one of the most ethnically diverse cities in Canada. Surrounded by mountains, dense forests and stunning views of the Pacific Ocean, Vancouver is a popular filming location with plenty to offer any traveling producer. “No better base in the world for diversity of locations within a short drive,” DP Athan Merrick said. We asked Merrick about the top 10 tips a traveling producer should know before shooting video in Vancouver.
1.B-roll: Merrick advises that the best locations to shoot b-roll are up north. “Head up to the North Shore Mountains for huge expansive views of the city and dense forests and waterfalls,” Merrick said. “North along the coast for interesting beaches with ocean views.” Vancouver has multiple breath-taking landscapes that can easily be shot if you travel a little farther north of the city. The North Shore Mountains include Grouse Mountain, Cypress Mountain and Mount Seymour.
2. Language: English is the most commonly spoken language in Canada. There should be no language barrier in Vancouver despite over 20% of Canada speaking French. Most of the fluent French speakers are in Quebec which is roughly 2,300 miles away.
3. Traffic: Like in any major city, traffic is at its worst at rush hour times. Merrick suggests avoiding traffic by going against the flow. “If you’re traveling in the morning, be leaving town,” Merrick said. “If you’re traveling in the afternoon, go back into town.” This may involve some advance planning on shooting locations.
4. Transportation: Within city limits there is a Skytrain that many locals and tourists find inexpensive. Buses are also easily accessible, but very busy most times of the day. “Public transportation is only feasible if you have a very lightweight gear setup,” Merrick said. If you must transport heavy equipment around the city, it is recommended that you get a rental car or even hire a driver.
5. Parking: Parking, like in any big city, is possible in garages everywhere, but they are pricey. There is also street parking that is metered but that is very time-limited. Where you park will depend on how long you are shooting for the day and where in the city you are.
6. Permits: “Vancouver is a film epicenter,” Merrick said. But this does not mean you can shoot all over the city without a proper permit. Thankfully, permits are quickly attainable. For more information on obtaining the appropriate film permit, click here.
7. Weather: Vancouver is frequent to sea breezes but also maintains a pretty moderate oceanic climate. Summer months are usually dry but October to March is the grey, rainy season. “Vancouver looks its best when snow hits the mountains and it is a sunny winter day,” Merrick said.
8. Food: Being a major seaport, it is no surprise there is a great deal of fish and seafood cuisine to enjoy. “Sushi is cheap, quick and delicious in the city being on the Pacific Ocean,” Merrick said. Other foods to try while in Vancouver include the “JapaDog” and B.C. rolls. For more food suggestions, click here.
9. Skyline: The Vancouver skyline is a definite shot you want to walk away with. There are several locations all over the city that are ideal for capturing this shot, but we recommend views from English Bay and Coal Harbor.
10. Landscape: There are some astonishing mountains with stunning peaks and glaciers. The Pacific Ocean and waves on Vancouver Island are great shots. “Vancouver has coastal temperate rain forests, interior deserts and a big cosmopolitan city that can look like many other cities around the globe,” Merrick said. “That’s the simple reason Vancouver remains one of the busiest film production locations on the planet.”
-Vancouver is a filming epicenter and very popular video shooting spot.
-The weather is most likely to be grey and rainy, but that doesn’t mean you can’t get incredible shots of the landscape.
-Be sure to experience some of the delicious seafood this seaport has to offer!
Have a video shoot coming up in Vancouver? Click here for a free quote!