Filming on the snow against a sunrise
Photo by: Angel Films

Filming Lapland Wilderness - Rental Equipment for Extreme Conditions

Film and TV equipment rental company Angel Films has more than 25 years of experience in working in the Finnish conditions and working with international crews.

Filming in Lapland can involve extremely cold weather, snow, ice, and darkness. Vast landscapes and quiet wilderness are inherently Finnish.  However, even sparsely populated areas in Finland can be easily reached thanks to good road network and flight connections, and a well-oiled system of maintaining the roads open even during hardest blizzards. The cost level is relatively cheap compared to other similar countries such as Sweden and the overall safety of working in Finland is first-rate. In addition, Finland has a 25 % cash rebate for production costs.

Gaffer and Partner (previous CEO) of Angel Films, Ville Penttilä, is well-versed in the different challenges involved in filming outdoors in Finland.

Obviously there is the cold weather. However, experience has shown that film crews from abroad are usually very aware of the risks of cold weather as working environment for humans.

— Sometimes they are even more cautious of the cold than the crews from Finland, Penttilä says.

Many states of water

In some ways, working in temperatures near the freezing temperature of water can be more difficult than working in cold weather. Water comes down as rain, but can freeze very rapidly once it hits the ground. Protecting the equipment from water is very important, and if the water freezes, even more damage than usual can occur.

But even in cold weather, the battle against water wages on. Extremely cold air is extremely dry. Yet snow is always present and in cold weather the snow blown around by wind seems like dust in the air.

— You have to remember that snow that seems dry is still made out of water. Sometimes our clients can be surprised that we go inside a tent to change the lenses of the cameras. That is to prevent water from getting into the camera. Everybody knows what would happen if even a drop of water gets onto the sensor chip.

A typical scenario is also that small snow particles gets inside a fan of lighting equipment. The warmth of the unit melts the water immediately.

Cold and warm

Another risk for equipment is found in temperature differences. If a lense is used in extremely cold weather, the shock of bringing it inside to warm room temperature can even break it.

There are simple ways to prevent this, and the experienced staff of Angel Films is glad to help with these sorts of issues.

— This is true for cameras as well. Today’s high-end cameras are usually well-protected against water condensation, but you have to be careful in any case.

Condensation buildup in lenses can sometimes occur in the field. Even in the field there are ways to deal with it. Penttilä says that this is the sort of advice that everyone at Angel Films is used to giving on a daily basis.

Nothing is impossible

So, there are risks and there are extreme weather conditions. However, Penttilä will not say that something is impossible.

— No. Our job is to bring up the possible challenges in the situations and come up with solutions how to deal with them. We discuss these ideas with our clients.

Twenty-five years of experience has also given Angel Films a strong sense of what sort of equipment works in the difficult conditions.

— Our inventory is world-class. We have found which brands make equipment that survives and is operable in the rugged conditions.

Everything has to be taken into account. For example, Angel Films makes sure during the autumn that all of its vehicles and other diesel equipment is equipped with the best appropriate fuel grade for cold weather.