Welcome To Dubai!

Thank you so much for sending us your production requirements for your upcoming shoot in November. We love facilitating international teams and showing them that Dubai is a world-class production hub. We have been based out here for over 10 years, but still get excited when we get to share our home with people from abroad.

And what a shoot yours looks to be! We aren’t afraid of big ideas, complicated projects, or taking on difficult briefs. The most daunting shoots are the ones that get us out of bed in the morning.

The film and photography production capabilities in the United Arab Emirates are getting stronger every year. With feature films like Fast and the Furious, Mission Impossible and Star Wars filming in our back yard, the quality of talent and production facilities have become quite impressive!

As you mentioned that you had not been to the UAE before, I wanted to include as part of our pitch as much information about shooting here as possible so you can persuade your client to choose Dubai as a filming location!

What To Expect

Weather

Dubai enjoys an arid subtropical climate, with blue skies and sunshine almost all year! November is the start of our shooting season, with daytime temperatures in the low to mid 30s, and in the low 20s in the evening. We experience few rainy days year round, and the likelihood of a sand storm is low at this time.

Language

Though Arabic is the official language, English is widely used due to the massive size of the expat community. Other commonly spoken languages are Hindi, Urdu, Farsi and Tagalog.

Culture

Dubai is an incredibly cosmopolitan city that welcomes visitors from around the world. The UAE is an Islamic country, but is open to people from all religious and cultural backgrounds to live and work here. Visitors should remember that a more modest code of behavior is required, however we feel that this rarely differs as to how you would behave in front of a client professionally on set. The same goes for dress code. Women are allowed to show their hair, shoulders, knees… etc. (we aren’t in Saudi Arabia!) but we wouldn’t recommend dressing in any way that would be seen as “unprofessional” in the West.

Safety

According to the World Economic Forum, the UAE is the second safest country in the world — just behind Finlnd! With the fewest number of crimes related to assault and theft globally, 98.6% of UAE residents feel a sense of safety and security, even at night!

Visas

If you are a passport holder of the below country or territory, no advance visa arrangements are required to visit the UAE. Simply disembark your flight at Dubai International Airport and proceed to Immigration, where your passport will be stamped with a visit visa free of charge:

Andorra, Argentina, Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Hong Kong, Ireland, Japan, Kazakhstan, Malaysia, Mauritius, Monaco, New Zealand, China, Russia, San Marino, Singapore, Ukraine, United Kingdom, United States of America, Vatican City, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Seychelles, Slovakia, Slovenia, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Uruguay.

It is sometimes frowned upon at immigration to have an Israeli visa stamp in your passport - there is no official rule against this, but there are rumors of it being problematic.

If you need assistance for visa application for any crew member that is not from any of the countries that enjoy visa on arrival, please let us know!

Behind the scenes images from our last shoot at Fossil Rock, September 2018

Occasionally camels come to visit us on set!

Location

Situated only about 45 minutes outside of Dubai is Fossil Rock in the Emirate of Sharjah. It is our favorite desert to shoot at for a few reasons. At the base of the mountains is a hard gravel area where we can set up our base camp. Because the sand dunes are actually raised so high above where this is, it in fact hides any production village from your shooting location. To get into the dunes, there is a road passable by 4x4 pickup, which makes access for gear straight to location very efficient.

We have shot here previously with Apple, Intel, Condé Naste and Toyota.

In November, you are looking at approximately 11hrs of daylight, though the sun rises from behind the mountain, which keeps the light beautifully soft in the mornings. If more direct sun is required, we can shift our shooting location slightly more into the desert which avoids this.

On hand, we will have a team of expert 4x4 drivers to make sure we can ferry people and equipment in and out of the desert to base camp safely and efficiently.

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Unit Resources

We are working with the same team that has facilitated for many of the major feature films here in the UAE, including Fast and the Furious. Upon discussing your requirements, we think it best to arrange a large, segmented marquis tent village that keeps us all of your departments under one roof. We believe this to be the best way forward, as it means we have…

  • More efficient flow of people in, out and around the space, and closer proximity for different departments to interact with one another if required.

  • More manageable for security.

  • The ability to put in transparent panels for some walls, which allows in natural light, creating a better working environment for people inside.

  • Better protection against the weather, if there is to be an unfortunate case of wind or sand storm. Or even with a light breeze, keeps equipment, food, hair & makeup and wardrobe out of the dust completely.

  • More efficient ways of keeping everyone cool - anyone who has been in a trailer or an easy-up under the sun for several days knows that even the strongest AC has a hard time keeping up against the elements and the natural body heat of everyone inside! We can manage the temperature inside our tent with mobile AC units that will cool the entire space.

Our Unit Team has sent us a rough diagram of a layout they are suggesting with your list of requirements in mind.

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Production

As requested, we will make sure our team is inclusive of the requested items:

  • Producer, Production Manager, Production Coordinator, 5 Production Assistants/Runners

  • 2 x Unit management teams - one for film, one for photo, in case you are not always shooting at the same location.

  • Tailor with sewing machine and kit, Local stylist assistant with Rails, Hangers, Steamers and an Iron

  • Manicurist, Hair stylist assistant, Makeup assistant

  • Night and Day Security

  • A Ballpark range for photo, digital & grip equipment that will be refined once a specific list is provided

  • Catering, craft & refreshments for your crew of 60 people, plus the local Dubai team

  • Transportation for all crew to and from Dubai

  • 4x4 drivers for off-roading in the desert sand to get crew and equipment transported between base camp and set efficiently.

  • Carnet support for equipment and items coming in and out of Dubai Airport

If you would like for us to add on any technical crew to your project, we have excellent local technical crew to work with in both film and photo capacities.

Other Things!

You have asked the following questions:

  • The cost for preparation lunches at the hotel , how much should I consider per person per lunch?

    • Usually we try to negotiate a full board rate with the hotels here, inclusive of breakfast, lunch and dinner. With some partners, we are able to get them to include two coffees per day, and a few pieces of free laundry per person. If you are interested in us reaching out to hotels this week to try to negotiate this sort of package for your prep days, and perhaps only a dinner package for the shoot days, I think this is the most efficient way to manage the budget for such a large crew. I would also recommend renting out a meeting room as a production office for the duration of the time that you are there, which can also be used for fittings before the shoot starts.

  • How much should i consider for lunches around outside the hotels, per person per lunch?

    • I would say you should budget approximately 30USD per person, but again, I think you could get a great all-inclusive package from the hotel for most of the time we are working there.

  • How much should i consider for dinners per person per dinner?

    • I would say about 30-50USD, which would not include alcohol, as it can be quite expensive here (about 17-20USD for an average glass of wine, for instance). Again, would recommend an all inclusive package with your hotel so there isn’t too much variety on this cost. We find it is often even more cost efficient than giving per diem to our crew when we travel to places like Abu Dhabi!

Please let us know if you have any questions on the above — we are always happy to help!

Thank you and all the best,

GOOD