Filming in Dubai FAQs
We get a lot of questions about filming in Dubai and Dubai filming permission processing. Do feel free to contact us should you have any specific questions or if there's anything you think needs adding to this list.
Dubai Filming Permission
Can you arrange Dubai filming permission for me?
Yes we can, but we need some documents from you first, including a letter from your end client saying you are commissioning us to work with you, and passport copies of all crew coming to Dubai. Getting the passport copies tends to take the longest time so start getting those in now, and we'll also send you the wording for the client letter. Permissions processes can change a bit so please contact us for the latest information. Have a good idea of your locations as these need to be specified on the permit.
Do I need Dubai filming permission to enter at the airport?
Generally no, but if you have a permit it's best to have it printed out and with you when you enter Dubai, and keep the permit with the cameraman at all times. Abu Dhabi airport can require the permit before allowing equipment to enter.
How long does Dubai filming permission processing take?
It takes a minimum of 3 working days once all documents are with us and you have confirmed the shoot and submitted payment. Processing is started straight away, as long as the application is received before 12 noon Dubai time. Note the payment is not refundable so we can't start the process until we've received this from you.
Can you arrange Abu Dhabi filming permission for me?
Yes we can, much like Dubai filming permission we would need passport copies of all crew and various other documentation, drop us a line and we will go through it with you.
Can you arrange Dubai Aerial filming permission for me?
Yes we can, this does however take longer than Dubai filming permission (around two weeks), and requires permission from each location that you are directly filming. A UAE government liaison will be in the helicopter with you to ensure that no restricted areas are filmed, and all footage must be supplied to them on landing on a hard drive.
Can you arrange Abu Dhabi Aerial filming permission for me?
Yes we can, but this can take up to a month to complete and has similar restrictions to Dubai aerial filming permission.
How much does a Dubai filming permit cost?
For up to 30 days of filming the Dubai government cost is 2500 dirhams for public areas, plus a Dubai Film and Television processing fee of 500 dirhams. We charge for this process as well due to the administration involved.
Can you arrange Dubai filming permission for me as an agent?
No. Any shoot that happens on our trade licence is our responsibility, and we therefore have to have our staff working with you on a shoot to do the application.
How much does it cost to film in Burj Khalifa?
All private areas in Dubai require permission from the land owners themselves to film. Burj Khalifa, Dubai Marina, the Springs, the Greens, Emirates Hills and many others are owned by Emaar; The Burj Al Arab, Emirates Towers, Madinat Jumeirah and many other Dubai landmarks are owned by Jumeirah Group. Both require full Dubai Filming Permission before they will be able to permit you to film on their property. Costs can vary and they may deny your request depending on their schedule, your content, and the benefit of the shoot to their brand.
Does Dubai have Carnet?
Yes it does, there is a carnet processing area just to the left when you enter customs at Dubai International Airport T3, or on the right opposite baggage reclaim in T1. This has opening times, and an additional fee to process outside these times.
Can I bring my medication in through Dubai Airport?
Make sure that you have every prescription for any medication that you are bringing into Dubai airport, and that you have nothing that is on the list of banned substances for the UAE.
Can we just get a 5D and film guerilla-style?
We wouldn't recommend it, the UAE has strict media laws, and filming without permission is not a good idea.
Dubai filming equipment
So, honest answer, what equipment do you actually have in-house at Film Me?
In-house we have an Arri Alexa Mini with multiple accessories, 3 v-mount batteries and 5x128 gig CFast 2.0 cards. We also have 3 5D MkIII cameras with tripods, as well as a number of GoPros and accessories. We also have 3 laptops with FinalCut Pro. Lighting-wise we have portable battery-powered LED interview lighting that is perfect for corporate videos. We have the Carl Zeiss EF Lens set, plus an array of Canon lenses.
What kit can we hire in Dubai?
Dubai hosts international film crews from everywhere, from filming Tom Cruise jumping around Burj Khalifa to Captain Kirk in Star Trek, there's just about every kind of grip, camera and lighting kit you can think of. Drop us a kit list and we'll source everything you need.
What crew are available in Dubai?
We have 3 videographers in-house and 5 freelance videographers we work with regularly. Crew can be limited during the busy months of October-March, it is best to book early to ensure we can supply who you need.
Do you have sound recordists available in Dubai?
Yes, but they are quite limited in numbers so ensure you book early if you require a soundman on your shoot.
Can you arrange an all-female crew?
Sometimes for cultural reasons we require an all-female crew, all the way to editing and delivery. There are no female sound recordists in Dubai, so this has to be arranged by the camera crew.
What is Frame.io and why have you invited me to it?
Frame.io is a collaborative tool that cuts out a lot of the middle man with edit changes and uploading files. Once you've been added to Frame.io, you can immediately view any video that we have uploaded to your project, and comment directly on the video. This cuts out the "I don't like the pink t-shirt somewhere around 0.57" e-mail issue, as you can pause and comment directly at that time code without having to e-mail us. They probably explain it better here:
How do you send files to us?
We will send you a link by WeTransfer, Hightail or Frame.io to download your final file. Do let us know how it will be finally used, so we can ensure it's the correct format for your usage.
Can you send us files on a hard drive or memory stick?
Yes, we are more than happy to copy files over to a hard drive or memory stick media for your usage. Please provide the hard drive, or we will purchase one and add it to the invoice.
Can we have the RAW footage?
Yes, just make sure you have a big enough hard drive to copy everything over.
You remember that shoot we did together back in 2006, do you still have it?
Maybe, but we don't guarantee keeping footage forever and cannot operate as a footage library.
What file sizes are we looking at?
For Arri Alexa Mini footage filming in 4K ProRes 4444, it films approximately 10 gigabytes per minute depending on content. A 4 minute video in 4K delivered to you will be around 20 gigabytes in H264 codec. Most 5D MkIII videos we film are around 3-4 minutes long, and 350-400mb in size in HD.
What are 4K, 1080 and 720 on the file names?
We normally deliver videos in 4K, 1080 or 720 resolution. 4K is the maximum resolution we film, which is 3840x2160 pixels and essentially 4x larger than HD. That movie you just saw at the cinema was likely in 2.5k. 1080 is 1920x1080 resolution, known as 'full HD', which is the size of your plasma screen at home. 720 is 1280 x 720 resolution, which is a lower resolution version of HD that you have seen on most YouTube and Vimeo videos released recently. We always send videos in 720 initially as it's a smaller file size. We generally suggest uploading files to Vimeo, Facebook and YouTube in 720 as they display videos in that resolution as standard.
Can you deliver in Flash format?
We simply don't like the quality that flash offers and don't send our videos out in flash format.
Can you deliver on a DVD?
Sorry, as DVD is lower than HD quality we don't have this service available, and don't actually have any computers with DVD drives anymore.
Billing and Invoicing
What's Film Me's legal name and address?
Film Me is a brand of Rupert Chesman FZ LLE. Note that it's FZ LLE, not LLC. We aren't sure what the E stands for. Our address is Rupert Chesman FZ LLE, PO Box 487177, Dubai, UAE.
Who is Rupert Chesman?
Rupert Chesman is our Managing Director and owner of Film Me.
Where is Rupert Chesman?
We have installed a tracking dot on Rupert Chesman and usually know where he is. He is always available to film in Dubai and the GCC, and flies around for projects multiple times a year.
Can you send us a paper invoice?
We work entirely electronically and do not send out paper invoices. As a rule we don't work with companies that require paper invoices, if you do need a piece of paper please download the invoice and print it.
Can you send us a cheque?
We succesfully managed to complete 2014 and most of 2015 by only doing bank transfers without any cheques. Just send us your bank details and we will add you as a beneficiary and inform you when we make payment.
How do we pay you?
Our payment details are at the bottom of every invoice, and please note our legal company name 'Rupert Chesman FZ LLE' is required for all payments. For larger shoots we require 50 percent upfront payment before shooting commences. Note you do not have the right to use any footage until we have received payment in full.
Can you send me a bank transfer?
Yes absolutely, that is how we make all payments. We bank with ENBD and love it when you do too as it's instantaneous. We can also make international transfers when needed.
Why haven't you paid me yet?
We endeavour to make all payments as swiftly as possible once the project is completed. Do ask if there's something we've missed, we never want any of our awesome suppliers to be out of pocket.
Working for Film Me
I'm about to film for you, what are you expecting?
We always want our videos to be artistic and interesting. Whatever the subject area, you can do something artistic with a macro lens or the 85mm 1.2, ensure you get the wides but then get fun and creative. Surprise us, don't just keep it safe.
Can I come and work for Film Me?
Much like any other production company, our workload grows and shrinks depending on commissions. There was one fairly busy week where we had to make 80 videos in 4 days, then some weeks in the summer where nothing is happening at all. We love to have staff who work hard during the busy days, then are happy to relax when it's not. Send us an e-mail to admin@ with your CV, but please note we do receive a lot of CVs and cannot respond to everybody.
Why haven't you replied to my e-mail with my CV?
We get a lot of CVs coming in from all around the world and cannot reply to every e-mail that we receive. We also receive a lot of messages from people who have no media experience who want to work in our IT department. We don't have an IT department.