Video Production in Toronto: Why We Never Film the CN Tower
We film a lot of branded video content in Toronto. But there is one thing you will never see in our productions. It just happens to be the hardest thing to avoid, because it’s one of the tallest freestanding structures in the World.
The CN Tower.
When filming in Toronto, we expend a lot of time and effort avoiding the CN Tower. It must remain unseen. It is distinct and recognizable, which is exactly why we can’t show it. We love Toronto, but in the advertising / marketing / PR world, it is “too Toronto.”
Advertising is about oneness. And the work we do is seen in other Cities, Provinces, Countries. While people in Toronto might feel comforted with the sight of a local landmark, people in Calgary or New York might not.
So, while the industry as a whole films a lot of national and international footage in Toronto, that footage is most often de-Torontofied.
Here’s what else production companies like ours tend to avoid:
- Transit – Especially the iconic red of the TTC
- Especially subways – Not all communities have subways
- Signage that might hint at Toronto-specific industries
- Infrastructure – Not all cities have 16-lane highways
This avoidance sometimes results in a generic look and feel. Our goal after all is to make most video content look like “any city.”
On a shoot I was directing in LA, we had to avoid all palm trees and make it look like it could be Chicago.
This is ultimately about oneness. Brands want desperately to be inclusive. And customers want to feel those brands are close to home.
These rules can be broken of course with the right execution. Think Apple’s “Designed in California” or Chrysler’s ‘Imported from Detroit.’
We recently shot in Brooklyn and we put Brooklyn proudly on the screen.
But these are exceptions. All you have to do is turn on your TV, or fire up YouTube and try to guess where branded video content was filmed.
Good luck with that.
Mike Edgell directs and produces branded video content.