Super, Natural British Columbia. As a filming destination, we could easily lose the comma in our provincial slogan. As the unofficial ‘Hollywood North’, Vancouver draws in a huge number of sci-fi and fantasy productions, and has hosted everything from major blockbusters and prolific television series, to cult classics with rabid fanbases.
There are several major productions slated to shoot here in the upcoming year, including Star Trek 3, Tron 3 and the newest addition to the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Deadpool.
Here are five reasons why Vancouver is the absolute perfect location to shoot sci-fi and fantasy:
1. ONE STOP VFX SHOPPING
An increasing number of productions that shoot here are opting to work with local VFX production houses to fulfill all their lens-flared-space-battle needs. Lucasfilm’s Industrial Light and Magic even opened up a permanent 30,000-square foot studio downtown last spring.
Here are some of the notable studios, and the locally shot productions they worked on. Keep in mind some of their credits overlap as production companies spread bigger design jobs to multiple companies.
Artifex Studios has provided visual effects for several series that were shot here, including Continuum (Showcase), Almost Human (Fox) and Red Riding Hood (Warner Bros).
Zoic Studios is the production house responsible for developing the special effects for Battlestar Galactica (Syfy) as well as Arrow (The CW) and Once Upon A Time (ABC).
The Embassy Visual Effects received an Academy Award nomination on their work on District 9 (Tristar Pictures) and have continued to work with director Neill Blomkamp as he moved his productions to Vancouver, and developed the visual effects of the weapons in Elysium (TriStar Pictures).
Image Engine has an incredible reel of past feature work, including acting as the main VFX team behind Elysium (TriStar Pictures), Watchmen (Warner Bros) and X-Men Origins: Wolverine (20th Century Fox).
2. LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION
Vancouver is widely known for its rain soaked old-growth forests, but it’s just as easy to find rocky beaches, snowy mountains and, if you drive out a little further to the east, sandy deserts. The incredible visual diversity of our city is one reason that crews have been flocking here to film projects, ever since The X-Files proved that it could double for pretty much any location in the United States.
The range of climate zones in British Columbia is so extensive that it has been an indispensable resource to television shows that need to cheat locations from around the world, or for any production company that doesn’t have the budget to shoot in several different countries.
3. CITY OF GLASS
Vancouver is one of the youngest cities in North America, and the futuristic architecture rising out of our downtown core is positively built for a sci-fi setting. It isn’t difficult to imagine a prospective director standing on a corner in Coal Harbour and feverishly quoting JJ Abram’s Super 8: “Production value!”
It doesn’t hurt that only a few blocks away the cobblestoned streets of Gastown can easily be transformed into a charming heritage scene, or the deserted remnants of a post-apocalyptic future (and it has!).
4. MILD CLIMATE
For year round shooting, Vancouver can’t be beat. Warm summers, mild winters – and if you’re shooting a sci-fi or fantasy project the constant rain will just add to the mood of your production.
5. TRIED AND TRUE
Vancouver has been home to dozens of fantastic projects, and continues to be the ideal shooting location for creative and ambitious production teams.
Here are just a few of the television series and films that have used Vancouver as a location:
Tron: Legacy, The Cabin in the Woods, I, Robot, Fantastic Four, Watchmen, The NeverEnding Story, The Twilight Saga, Rise of Planet of the Apes, X Men: The Last Stand, Elysium, Man of Steel, Godzilla
Supernatural, The X-Files, Battlestar Galactica, Fringe, Once Upon A Time, Arrow, Eureka, Smallville, The Vampire Diaries, Continuum, The Stargate Series, Dark Angel, Caprica, Taken, Dead Like Me, Highlander, The Flash, The Outer Limits, The 100.