View Full Version : Dubai Filming Advice

Scott Brown
09-28-2010, 02:54 PM
Hi everyone
Our Scottish Red is badly in need of some sunshine so we're coming to Dubai:party:

This is our first shoot in Dubai so any advice on do's and don'ts would be appreciated. We're working our way through the filming permits at the moment and plan to shoot for three days w/c 18th October.

We actually have only one set up to shoot for a corporate client and this is on Jumeirah beach but beyond this we're looking to capture enough generic footage to give a flavour of Dubai so any tips on good sexy filming locations would be greatly appreciated.

Many thanks.

Best wishes


Richard Fox
09-28-2010, 04:45 PM
One of the many reasons I have no interest in visiting Dubai for work or pleasure


Shane Kelly
09-28-2010, 05:49 PM
Hi Scott,
check out this piece that I shot there about 2 years ago.
it'll give you some ideas.
I had a "fixer" who smoothed over a lot of the potential issues that come with shooting there and my one piece of advice would be to be careful who you shoot as some of the people that are there do not necessarily want to be seen to be enjoying themselves in a bar. Do check out the indoor ski slope and don't miss the old part of the city with the spice market.
If you want I can find out the fixer's number. I think he operates out of beruit but shoots in Dubai quite a bit.

Ketch Rossi
09-28-2010, 06:08 PM
One of the many reasons I have no interest in visiting Dubai for work or pleasure


Simply Plain Stupidity and out right Ridiculous Believes and laws, of some of this Countries lost in uh knows what World, haha LOL, but I should be crying, since I do travel there hehe.

Scott Miller
09-28-2010, 06:11 PM
Funny, I started to reply with:

Using the term "sexy" and filming in Dubai will probably get you arrested:)

09-28-2010, 09:34 PM
I live in Dubai, and boy you chaps do have some very silly ideas about Dubai.
Try not to believe everything you read in the papers guys, this is not KSA.
Like anywhere you will need permissions to shoot and for that you will need a trade licence, but that is very easy just use a local location or production manager who will either have their own or the use of one. Just like America you need permissions
If you need contact details pm me.
"A little knowledge is always a dangerous thing"

Scott Brown
09-29-2010, 03:36 AM
Thanks everyone for your input...so NO drugs and I'll be careful about describing our quest for "sexy" footage. :emote_happyhappy:

We're keen to investigate the work situation in Dubai with a view to possibly setting up an office there. Dubai's taxation system is somewhat more "friendly" than the UK's and they seem genuinely keen to attract business to the area.

Rikki, any suggestions of good location for elevated night time filming? Looking for a spectacular view over Dubai for some time-lapse filming. Have you shot from the Burj Khalifa?

Best wishes


Christian Edwards
09-29-2010, 04:24 AM
One of the many reasons I have no interest in visiting Dubai for work or pleasure

Well Thats too bad because this is the Dubai prision


Scott Brown
09-29-2010, 06:29 AM

Enjoyed watching your Dubai footage...looking forward to my trip now!

Best wishes


Andrew clemson
10-03-2010, 12:09 AM
Like Riki Im based in Dubai, and I'm sure between us we can help answer questions if you get stuck. You will 110% need shooting permissions for filming ANYWHERE. Especially with a RED, otherwise its confiscation!

Like anything here its all about your attitude, people are often understanding if you don't push them.

My one big bit of advice, get your customs clearance sorted. Its a total ballache here.

Feel free to drop us line if you need anything whilst youre here.

+971 4 390 1966



Andrew clemson
10-03-2010, 12:12 AM
Oh and Re: the Burj, good luck getting those permissions. We shot all the interior video displays for it and have a 5 day shoot there next week. And even with the developers permission, (who is also the client BTW) its still a nightmare. Logistics here often are.


richard cook
10-03-2010, 01:16 AM
Dear Scott,
I have filmed in Dubai many times.
Give me a call.
Regards Richard Cook 07787518662
www.cameramanscotland.com (http://www.cameramanscotland.com)

Richard Ramos
10-03-2010, 05:51 AM
Hi Scott,
I am also based in Dubai. If I can help in any way, please give me a call on +97150 4534893. Dubai is a "cool" place to shoot if you do things right. There is no end of locations, spots, etc.



10-03-2010, 09:50 PM
Hi Scott.There are actually only a few great spots for shooting the city at night, also you are no longer able to shoot from a helicopter at night...very boring, but there is a lot of stock footage around. If you visit my website you can see many shots of Dubai especially in Dubai Tourism. If you need any help finding a local fixer let me know, but by the far the best location manager is another Scotsman called Johnny White, who is really experienced in the region and extremely helpful, you can PM me for his number.Unfortunately I am in the UK for the next 2 months on a feature film but Andrew and Nick from Alchemy are very helpful and knowledgable. Kindest Regards Rik

Andrew clemson
10-03-2010, 11:05 PM
Thanks for the nod Riki, good luck on the feature. I hear you're taking toyota to the uk with you?

10-04-2010, 01:01 AM
Hi Andrew

Yes he is one of the 4 focus pullers :)

Scott Brown
10-04-2010, 06:27 AM
Hi Guys

Thanks for the information. I spoke to Johnny White earlier and he's going to help us with the LAS filming permits.

We're trying to keep weight down during our travels so it would be useful to be able to hire batteries and a charger in Dubai + we may need some other bits and pieces - Andrew can you assist or perhaps you can point me in the direction of a good hire company?

Regarding customs in Dubai, what's the process for brining in kit? I understand they don't recognise the Carnet system and so we're using the Duplicate List system where customs in the UK check out kit list and stamp this going out and upon our return. Any advise of safely navigating through Dubai customs?

Still looking for a really good vantage point to shoot some evening time lapse sequences. The higher the better with a fab view...any suggestions?

Best wishes


Andrew clemson
10-06-2010, 10:46 PM
Atlas television have an office in the next building over from us, I know they have IDX batts the same as the ones we use with our REDs, you could give them a try. They dont carry any red kit though, so the other bits might be tricky depending on what they are, companies here rarely rent accessories on their own outside of a package.

Customs here is a freakin nightmare. Make sure you have all the invoices and values of your kit, also it helps to bring a letter from the company you are shooting for here stating that you are filming for them in dubai on letterheaded paper etc. We always have it say something like :

"dear sir, (production company) have been commissioned to shoot a corporate film for (client) in Dubai, will be flying in on (date, flight) and leaving on (date, flight) with all equipment. Please kindly assist them Blah blah blah......."
If you have studio city shooting permissions sorted having a copy of them helps also.

Its all down to who is on the customs desk on the day. Not having gear in handluggage helps too, as scary as that may be, as they pull you over after xraying your handluggage, if that doesnt get them interested, then theres just the security guards at the exit who just pull over people who they dont like the look of....

On the way back to the uk they wont give a toss.

In terms of locations, Jonny will sort you out, dont worry.

Best of luck, jonny has our info if you guys need anything whilst youre here.