Location Spotlight in association withLBB

Location Spotlight: Dubai and The UAE

Production Company
London, UK
NM Productions shares all the information needed to get shooting in Dubai and the UAE

From sprawling deserts to cosmopolitan cities, NM Productions sits down to discuss the best bits about shooting in Dubai and the UAE. 

LBB> How would you pitch Dubai/ The UAE to any production companies looking to shoot in your region? 

People have a preconception of the Middle East which can sometimes be off-putting. Dubai and the UAE is a rich and diverse place to shoot with so much to offer outside of just the city and desert. With amazing infrastructure, crew and kit on the ground for shoots both big and small, it really is an incredible place to work.  

LBB> What are the main qualities of your region? 

Great crews, consistent and reliable weather, easy travel links from all around the world. The majority of what you need is already on the ground.  

LBB> What would you say are the top Locations in Dubai/ The UAE, What is available - from mountains, to beaches, to rocky shore, to architecture, etc.

Of course with the Middle East comes vast and sprawling orange desert but this is not where it stops. You have the incredible mountains in Hatta, the beautiful white beaches of Abu Dhabi, incredible sports facilities, hotels, and incredible architecture all over.  

LBB> What Location would you say is most popular?  

It really depends on your project and what you are hoping to achieve but by popular demand it has to be the desert. 

LBB> Which Location would you describe as the biggest attribute to local production?  

They work incredibly hard and know their trade well. The organisation of the technical and Location departments is unparalleled.  

LBB> Explain the climate and the best/worst times to shoot in Dubai/ UAE? 

As you can imagine the weather is warm and sunny pretty much all year around. I would veer away from May - September as the temperatures can be too hot, especially if you are not used to it. The UK winter and spring months are the best time to shoot out here. 

LBB> What specific work permits/Visas are required to shoot in Dubai/ UAE? 

For Dubai you will need carnets to bring your kit in and visa on arrival, depending where you are coming in from.  

LBB> How is the infrastructure in Dubai/ UAE for supporting large productions? Access to high-level cameras and kit, casting, crews, studios etc.  

There are so many amazing and talented local DOP’s, Gaffers, Grips, Sparks, Underwater divers and so on, on the ground in Dubai, with extensive kit rental houses, which are the home to everything from Ultimate Arms, Heavy Lift Drones, Helicopters, even boats with ultimate arms pre-fitted. This incredible pool of talent helps our clients make decisions when there are challenging budgets or the need to keep the production’s carbon footprint to a minimum. 

LBB> What have been your biggest/most successful production in Dubai/ UAE to date?

Citi Bank was a three week long shoot with multiple unit moves and Locations in one day. We worked with 42 Paralympic athletes from all around the world. Our Location and unit team made the whole thing seamless from start to finish. The DOP and his technical team overcame  every challenge and the kit was readily available when last minute creative changes arose.  

LBB> As an outsider, what would you say are the biggest Dos and Don’ts in the region?

Dubai for example has a large expat community from around the world who happily live and work in Dubai. It is as simple as respect the culture and the rules, as you would in any country.  

LBB> What would be your number one tip to any coming to Dubai/ UAE to shoot a campaign/film?  

Build in a bit of extra time for forward planning. Most things are possible with a little bit of extra time to ensure all the ‘Is’ are dotted and the ‘Ts’ are crossed.  

LBB> Where would you suggest a foreign production stay while they are in Dubai/ UAE? 

Qasr al Sarab in Abu Dhabi has to be on of our favourite places to film and stay. The quiet and vastness of the desert is just breath taking - as are the sunrises and sunsets.  

LBB> Where are the best bars/restaurants? Any hidden gems you could suggest?  

Now that would be giving our secrets away. However, the Middle East has such a large diversity of incredible restaurants and culinary experiences it would be hard to pin-point only one, but we do have a very handy list for our clients to choose from when they come and work with us. 

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