Can I expect to get crew for all aspects of production?
D-Seven Motion Pictures can arrange for a crew regarding all aspects of production. However, we recommend to book your shoot sufficiently in advance to ensure the best crew are available.
Is the internet fast enough for video content?
The ever-improving, well-developed and technologically advanced telecommunications infrastructure in the UAE is more than capable of handling any video content. The UAE’s service providers propose superfast 1 Gbps broadband among packages with various download and upload speeds to choose from. 3G is standard across the region and 4G dongles are available in most of the urban areas. Dubai is a Smart City and frequently offers free and “video-friendly” WiFi access in various locations.
Is it possible to perform a live feed out of Dubai?
The UAE’s infrastructure and service providers are extremely advanced. Live feed and live streaming services have been available in Dubai for several years now, and it’s possible to access the latest technologic features meeting the requirements of expert users.
Can I get crew to work with me on a freebie?
Dubai doesn’t have a large number of professionals available to do things on volunteer-basis, and it’s very difficult to find any crew working for free.
I do not speak Arabic. Will this be an issue?
English is the business language in the UAE. In addition, D-Seven Motion Pictures can assist you with specific language requirements: a multicultural company, we speak Arabic and a few other languages.
Can I shoot in a different location within the Middle East?
It is very common for crew based in Dubai to work across the Middle East and GCC region. Dubai has a strong expat contingent and a wealth of international experience.
Do crew charge overtime?
As a rule, yes.
Local environment and cultural insight
• The filming of local women is strictly prohibited unless they have given you confirmation of their permission.
• The filming of alcohol is prohibited unless you obtain a permit. This extends to the filming of people drinking alcohol, people who are clearly drunk, or anything else of this nature.
• The filming of pornography or nudity is strictly prohibited under any circumstances.
• The proselytizing of other religions, or defamation of Islam is not tolerated.
• The filming of government property and military bases or palaces requires strict permission.
• Any filming without a permit is prohibited.
A local crew will be able to guide you if you are unsure of any of the local sensibilities. Do your best to respect the local customs as you are in a conservative culture.
In Dubai and the UAE, the weekend is Friday and Saturday. Please note that Friday is like a Sunday in Europe and the US, and it’s difficult to complete any production work as this is a holy day in Islam. In some parts of the GCC the two-day weekend is Thursday and Friday.
Holidays in Islamic countries depend on the sighting of the moon, as the year runs according to the lunar calendar. Some of the following dates are therefore estimates and subject to changes. Please note that it is very hard to provide any production services around the Eid holidays.
Eid Al Adha
21 or 22 August 2018 (TBC)
11 September 2018 (TBC)
UAE National Day
2 December 2018
Mouloud – Birth of the Prophet
20-21 November 2018 (TBC)
Leilat al Meiraj (Ascension of the Prophet):
13 April 2018 (TBC)
15 May to 14 June 2018 (TBC)
Eid Al Fitr
14 to 16 June 2018 (TBC)
Is it possible to film during Eid and other Islamic holidays?
It is possible but it would involve the same difficulties of trying to arrange a shoot on Christmas Day in a Western country. Our advice would be to avoid it if possible.
Is it possible to film during Ramadan?
It is possible to film during Ramadan however there are many restrictions that you should be aware of. Eating, drinking and smoking are all forbidden in public during daylight hours. This is a strict rule and punishable by law. Even the drinking of water in public is strictly forbidden and local organizations operate within reduced hours. Again, our advice would be to avoid it if possible.
How restricted is the Internet in Dubai?
You will quite often see a ‘site blocked’ message from your provider if the content you are trying to view has material that is against Islam and the security of the UAE. In that respect, there are more restrictions than in the rest of the world however none more than a ‘safe search’ mode.
My film contains nudity scenes in private settings, will it be ok to shoot?
How do I prevent the sand from getting into my equipment?
There is no real way to prevent this when filming in certain areas or conditions. Equipment needs to be protected accordingly and cleaned and checked every night after use.
Will full grip equipment be available?
Dubai offers state-of-the-art facilities and you can find the latest equipment for almost all requirements; however, we recommend checking with your local contacts sufficiently in advance to ensure the best equipment are available. Also make sure to book or bring the team able to use the equipment.
Do you have the equipment for me to work in NTSC?
Most of the systems in the Middle East are PAL and therefore the cameras used in the region tend to be geared up to be compatible. Modern HD and HDV cameras can shoot at an NTSC frame rate but there is less availability in SD.
Will the heat have an effect on my equipment?
During the summer, it can get extremely hot in Dubai so naturally this can have an adverse effect on any technical equipment. Moving equipment from an air-conditioned studio outside into direct heat and vice versa can cause condensation. This can hold up a shoot for hours. There is little to do to avoid this although storing your camera outside with the bag slightly open and camera switched on will help.
Is it easy to fix equipment in Dubai?
There are not many spare parts available in Dubai, so equipment is shipped overseas for repair. There are some local service centers but reliability can be mixed, even if branded from a global company.
Will I be able to purchase equipment in Dubai?
Not so many outlets stock high-end technical equipment and it is difficult to get advice from technical expert in stores. D-Seven Motion Pictures has Canon cameras and lenses and can use this equipment for your shooting needs. In addition, we can avail technical advice from Canon Middle East experts.
What equipment is available?
Apart from specialist cameras such as Phantom, etc., there is pretty much everything you will need here, including RED Epic, RED Dragon, Arri Alexa, 35mm, Sony and Panasonic HD and everything else can be rented out. D-Seven Motion Pictures can also use Canon equipment for your shooting needs.
Does the UAE have Carnet?
The ATA Carnet is an international customs document that permits duty-free and tax-free temporary importation of goods for up to one year. ATA Carnet cover almost everything including commercial samples;
professional equipment; and goods for use at trade fairs, shows, exhibitions, events. For example, ATA Carnets cover photographic and film equipment. The fees vary for each country and are determined by the value of the goods, the number of countries to be visited and the costs for security, insurance or other services. The carnet in Dubai is under the responsibility of Dubai Chamber. Please feel free to contact D-Seven Motion Pictures if you need help on the same or further information.
Do I need a permit before entering the UAE?
If you are bringing in specialized/oversized equipment on your flight into the UAE, the customs could hold it until you bring back a permit to release the equipment. This is more for commercial sized work and not a hassle with, for example, 2 or 3 DSLRs and some lens. The permit ensures you are not bringing all this equipment to resell and that you will take it back once your work is complete
Are the media shooting requirements the same for all the Emirates across the UAE?
The Dubai Film and TV Commission arranges permission for local production companies, and has the authority to get permits for all Emirates except Sharjah & Abu Dhabi. Abu Dhabi Film Commission handles permissions there, which can take 5 working days, and even longer for aerials. For permission to shoot in Sharjah, a letter needs to be taken to their Media Council for approval, which can take time. D-Seven Motion Pictures can approach them and give you further information if required. Please feel free to contact D-Seven Motion Pictures if you need help on the same or further information.
What do I get with my permit?
Your permit entitles you to shoot on the dates of the locations you have asked for. As you are our guest, we will appoint an account manager that will be with you on the days of the shooting to ensure you are not burdened with dealing with officials to show permits when you are losing valuable shots. By arranging the permits through D-Seven Motion Pictures, we ensure faster operations and hassle-free shoots.
Is it possible to film inside iconic buildings or locations (Burj Khalifa, Malls, Airport…)?
Hotels, malls, iconic buildings are owned by private companies and major attractions by the government. Location fees for private areas can be exorbitant, but D-Seven Motion Pictures has long-standing relationships with mostly all locations as we have filmed there many times and we guarantee our rates cannot be beaten.
What are the chances of having my permit rejected?
It’s very unlikely to face rejection when it’s for a commercial shoot; news and documentaries though can be subject to additional checks. Generally, it’s fine as long as you keep to the morals and standards of the United Arab Emirates, and your shoot is generally positive about the UAE and GCC area.
How often is my permit checked?
As in any country this depends on whether you’re noticed by anyone in authority – it does happen but is never an issue as long as you have the permit on you. It’s best to ensure the cameraman holds a copy. In private locations, security staff are systematically controlling permits.
I want to film in a mosque.
You can film in mosques, but ensure that you have all the permissions you need, and talk to the Imam of the mosque beforehand. Ensure that you are somewhere discreet if filming anybody praying, it is rude to disturb them.
What will happen if I am caught without a permit?
We are privileged to be in a country with great surroundings, low crime rate, and great sense of security. The purpose of the permit is to ensure we do no harm to the environment, public, and/or our crew and avoid unnecessary hassles if checked. In the event you are caught, your equipment can be confiscated and all footage could be asked to be deleted (the officials do know how to format camera cards) and your passport confiscated, depending on the circumstance.
What is the turnaround time for obtaining a permit?
The whole process takes from 3 – 5 days if there are no special circumstances or events overlapping government processes. Aerial permits do tend to take longer and shooting with drones requires a license, and specific process and permit.
Am I able to close roads and buildings for example?
This is possible but you will need to plan this far in advance and obtain full permission from the government. Any shoot involving road closures would be best arranged on a Friday morning.
Can I film on Dubai Metro?
Yes, but only with permission from the Roads and Transport Authority (RTA). They have guards on every train so, you will be noticed and asked for your permit.
Can I just bring a little camera and film guerilla-style?
We wouldn’t recommend it. We know where the ‘red lines’ are about shooting here and won’t be able to help you if you’re caught shooting something you shouldn’t.
Can D-SEVEN Motion Pictures arrange permissions for me to shoot in the UAE?
It would be our pleasure to assist your production and make the arrangements necessary to carry out smooth operations, please contact us through email with the following details:
- Purpose of shooting
- Production license from country of origin
- Dates and locations of shootings
- Crew members names and passport scans
- Possible equipment required
What is cost of the filming / photography permit?
The fees depend on the locations, number of days and size of your production. We try to ensure you get the lowest rates with our years of experience in the industry.
Can I film in the airport?
Yes, you can, but the location fees can be very high for commercial purposes, regardless of which area of the airport you are filming in. When scheduling, remember that all crew and equipment have to go through security checks just as if you are boarding a flight, and it is the same on exiting. Ensure that you schedule a lot of time for this as it can really eat up your shoot day.
Is it really sunny all year round?
It rains approximately 8-10 days a year, and has occasional sandstorms, but apart from that it’s sunny all year-long.
Is there a danger to filming in the heat?
The mercury level goes above 40 and remains there during the summer months of June to September so the heat should not be underestimated. However, much filming takes place incident-free in the UAE during summertime. The basic rules of avoiding heat exhaustion apply, if you do not take regular drinks you will definitely get ill. You should drink at regular intervals even if you do not feel thirsty. You need to drink approximately 2 liters of water a day if you’re outside. You also need to take on board rehydration salts to help counteract the effects of this. Sun cream lasts for about 2-3 hours regardless of factor. Equipment breakdowns are rare, but do ensure you have enough shade for your kit as well as your crew.
Can I film in the summer?
Yes, you can, but there are rules that you need to stick to in order to ensure that crew remain safe in the high temperatures. Try to schedule days that are mostly inside with a few bits outside in the early morning and late evening.