The Canary Islands have emerged as an audiovisual destination after a year of remote advertising productions

Remote filming

Remote filming in the Canary Islands

Embracing remote filming supported by streaming platforms

Like many industries around the world, the Canarian audiovisual industry was forced to reinvent itself due to the pandemic, and it did this by embracing remote filming supported by streaming platforms.

By betting on this system, the Canarian audiovisual market became a pioneer in Spain and was at the forefront of Europe in this way of working.

Now a year in, this model has been proven to be a success. Shooting remotely is no longer a back-up option in the Canary Islands, but has become the norm, proving that quality does not need to be sacrificed, while the cost and environmental impact of productions can be greatly reduced.

Remote filming has strengthened the local industry in the Canary Islands, with specialised and highly trained teams permanently located on the islands

Jaime Romero, General Director of Macaronesia Films and project coordinator, explains that remote filming has brought opportunities to the Canary Islands: ‘Recording advertisements remotely has led to a significant increase in audiovisual technicians in the Canary Islands, which makes the islands an even more attractive production destination.

In addition, there has been an investment in specialised equioment such as underwater cameras and drones, which remain on the islands, making them readily available. All this results in savings for producers, increases the number of qualified local personnel, and makes the islands attractive for international projects’.

Carbon footprint reduction

Another significant benefit of the remote production model is the reduction of CO2 emissions. By having trained teams locally and allowing production management staff to follow the filming from a distance, unnecessary travel can be avoided. 

The Canary Islands, at the forefront of filming

Jaime Romero, Macaronesia Films, emphasises that it is ‘a true revolution that the entire process of pre-production, production and post-production of a shoot can be done remotely’. This way of working is pioneering in Spain and there are very few examples in the rest of Europe.

The ‘streaming’ format is a new way of filming and production in which the physical presence of the director or international team leaders is no longer necessary.

In this way, the creative agency, the clients or part of the technical staff can be in their regions or countries of origin, while they develop a shoot using interiors and exteriors of the Canary Islands, with local equipment, and complying with all health prevention protocols of risks detailed in the Ministerial Order of May 9, 2020.

Companies such as Vodafone, Decathlon, Lancôme, and Once have already tested remote filming

This revolutionary way of working also perfectly complements the varied outdoor locations that the Canary Islands offer. The advertising industry is already convinced.

Now, the Canarian audiovisual sector has another objective: attracting large-scale film productions. The challenge here comes from the size of the files to be transferred, but the possibility of shooting certain scenes outdoors is being considered.

Upcoming challenges

Security is also paramount, so the platforms used have an encryption option to prevent possible theft of the material. Carmelo Ramos, Director of Sonimac, explains that the technology is key for the audiovisual industry: ‘We are constantly exploring new options and have already adapted to 5G and to satellite communications. We can also provide quality 360º filming and the use of 12K cameras. But we know there’s more to do, and we must advance in the development of technology to pave the way for larger-scale filming’.

Carmelo Ramos highlights the possibilities of the Canary Islands as a filming destination: ‘We have an added value that is our nature as an outdoor set, but strategically-speaking we must facilitate the development of this technology to be able to compete with Europe’.

Canary Islands, first laboratory of remote filming

Remote filming has positioned the Canary Islands as an international destination, capable of supporting new filming models. Numerous local companies have adapted their production models through ‘streaming’ systems, thus opening the way to new filming formulas and creating opportunities for the audiovisual sector.

The audiovisual industry is a consolidated sector in the Canary Islands, by receiving a direct investment of 47.5 M € in 2019, more than 1,700 days of filming in the Islands and more than 2,500 direct hires – not counting suppliers and extras.