Written by Joe Jackson on Apr 4, 2022. Posted in Interviews

Shooting in Canada: in conversation with Jim Edward from CoPilot Productions

From untouched lakes and wild rivers to ice-capped mountains and rocky caverns, Canada presents a variety of fascinating options for the international production community. The Location Guide caught up with Jim Edward, founder of CoPilot Productions, to understand what makes the region an attractive proposition for incoming filmmakers.

Hello Jim - what have you been working on?

We production serviced several Olympic athlete biographies for the Olympic Channel in Canada. This work was done for a UK client, encompassing both the Beijing 2022 Winter Games and the Tokyo 2020-21 Summer Games.

And we also produced a Youtube Originals and Google UK project, filming on British Columbia’s glaciers last fall. In collaboration with Silverback Studios from Bristol, we filmed on location across five days with 13 cameras and an FPV drone to follow the action.


Can you tell us a little bit more about shooting in the glaciers?

The collaboration with YouTube and Google was really exciting - but it also had an important message. This was part of a series called Climate Games, matching professional skier JT Holmes with a YouTuber and science expert known as Physics Girl. In turn, the programme communicates in layman’s terms the effects of climate change for broader, non-specialist audiences.

The experiment in this particular episode asks: how much of an Olympic-sized swimming pool would be filled with glacial meltwater in the time it takes to ski down a glacier? I believe Physics Girl describes the experiment as Man vs Meltwater! The project was for the benefit of the COP26 climate conference in Glasgow, UK - and we are really proud of the outcome. Being able to shoot on the glaciers really showcases what this part of the country offers for foreign producers.

Part of this work was also included in another, longer YouTube campaign called Dear Planet Earth. Our contribution to this 100 minute video follows a segment a segment from Lil Dicky and Gata and preceded an address from President Obama at the COP26 climate conference.


Feels like you have had a busy period. Have there been any other highlights for you and your team?

We also production serviced the Canadian portion of an international Heineken shoot with the spokesperson from Montreal, all while establishing a Gold Standard protocol for filming during Covid-19 times. At the same time, we were setting up QTAKE and Zoom with the producers in the UK, the director in Portugal, the agency in Milano, and the clients in the Netherlands, balancing lots of things while making everything was as safe as could be on set.

What does the Gold Standard protocol mean?

The government did a great job in terms of establishing very strict Covid-19 laws in place. And then from our side of things, as producers and service providers, it really is just about being very careful and very safe, looking after our clients and staff. We make sure people get tested very frequently. In keeping with the Olympics theme over the past 2 years, there are different zones on set: GOLD (for 3 weekly tests including those in and around the talent) and SILVER (twice weekly) or BRONZE (once a week). Access to these different zones requires less frequent testing. It is very strict and thorough - even administrative staff need testing - but this why the rating is the Gold Standard. This really is the safest way to keep going.


How do things look for the Canadian industry right now?

For Canada, it is business as usual at the moment. For a good time, Americans couldn’t enter the country, but now these partners have returned too. Of course, you must be double vaccinated, and this helps to sustain our strong reputation for professionalism and safety on set. We are open for business, and look forward to more collaborations with our international partners. Canada is in a good spot right now!


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