Rovaniemi, Finland, city by drone
Photo by: Jani Kärppä
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Drone Filming & Permits in Lapland

Lapland and Finland have liberal drone flying regulations. Here’s a brief overview of your responsibilities, how to use drones in cold Arctic weather, and Lapland aerial photography services.

Drone regulations

Since 2015, Finland has had extensive regulations on operating drones. While the following list is by no means comprehensive, it should give you a good idea of what to expect and what is expected of you when flying a drone.

  • No license or permit is required*
  • You must inform the Transport Safety Agency before flying your drone for the first time in Finland
  • Insurance is mandatory
  • Drones must be marked with contact info
  • Logs must be kept
  • All accidents or incidents must be reported

* New regulations will come into effect regarding drone permits in July 2020.

Permits and written permission are required for some drone flying. Examples include a drone that weighs more than 25 kg (55 lbs) or flying over 150 meters (492 feet) high. Flying beyond visual line of sight (BVLOS) and operating near airports or other restricted areas also have more stringent requirements. If you need details or help obtaining a permit, Film Lapland is always happy to help.

DroneInfo and Trafi (Finnish Transport Safety Agency) are the best resources for information on drone regulations in Finland. Aviamaps is a real-time aviation map platform that includes flight planning tools.

Drones & Cold

the Finnish sun in winter, captured from drone
Photo by: Jani Kärppä

Operating temperatures for drones vary, depending on make and model, but when flying at subzero temperatures, here are a few things to keep in mind from aerial DPs Ilmari Mannermaa, Joonas Mattila and Niko Juntunen and drone pilot Markku Rytinki from Flatlight Creative House.

“In winter, the cold is your biggest enemy. It freezes yours fingers and propellers. Always keep your gloves on and avoid flying in moist air. Believe it or not, your mind will also function slower, making decisions more difficult. This happens to people who doesn’t have experience in the cold environment, and they’ll use a lot of energy to keep warm.”

“Up north, everything is covered in snow. That’s what you’re looking for, but have you thought about how to move to your dream location? It usually requires local knowledge and transportation tools like snowmobiles and snowshoes to get your drone equipment to the location in one piece.”

Drones are mechanical beings, and at low temperatures, propellers can freeze, servos might lock up, or sensors can frost over or give false readings. This is especially true on foggy or snowy days. (Fog and snow also limit your visibility, so watch where you’re flying.)

Finally, battery performance can drop in cold weather, so it’s a good idea to carry along lots of extra batteries, keep an eye on the battery indicator, and be skeptical. Estimated flying time and battery life can off by 10% or more in subzero temperatures.

Drone Services in Lapland

Drone lifting off against Finnish sunrise
Photo by: Flatlight Creative House
Flying a drone in winter
Photo by: Flatlight Creative House
Canoeing in Finnish Lapland, filmed by drone
Photo by: Juha Kauppinen | Lapland Material Bank
Drone filming a running wolf, during production of Ailo's Journey in Lapland
Photo by: MRP Matila Röhr Productions, Courtesy of Ailo's Journey
Farm by a Finnish river, filmed by drone
Photo by: Jani Kärppä
Keminmaa center and highway, filimed by drone
Photo by: Lapland Material Bank

The easiest way to get great aerial cinematography of the seven sister fells of Pallastunturi or the snow-capped forests of Salla is with Lapland’s production service providers. They know the laws, the best practices, and have the experience and expertise to get you the best shots possible.

Angel Films is a full equipment rental company, offering production equipment for close-range aerial cinematography.

Flatlight Creative House offers comprehensive aerial cinematography services and the latest technology. Their combination of experienced pilots, Arctic expertise and high-quality drones and cameras captures Lapland at its most spectacular.

Kota Collective combines a full-service ad agency with a video production team. Specializing in quality outdoor video- and photography, they offer an array of production services, including aerial.

Photokrafix offers a wide range of video services, and their light and easily transferred equipment–including aerial equipment–allows them to adapt quickly to changing conditions.