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Australia

Australia Film & Photography Production Services.

Are you a media company, brand, ad agency or production company looking for film / photography production support or shooting crew in Australia? We have fully vetted, locally based fixers, service producers, directors, DP’s, videographers, cameramen, photographers, sound operators, production drivers, and a range of other film crew. Contact us for referrals, questions, cost estimates and references.

Want to know more about shooting in Australia? See below for an introduction to Australia locations, permits, when to shoot, costs, talent, crews, fringes, premiums, equipment, art department, studios, tax incentives, post facilities, visas and work permits, film friendly hotels, transport, communications and safety advice.

Film Locations. Australia has an abundance of unspoilt beaches, tropical islands, national parks, rainforests, rivers, vineyards, rural and desert landscapes, roads and bridges ideal for car commercials, coastal looks, sand dunes, modern architecture, urban and suburban looks, and much more. Uniquely Australian locations such as Sydney Harbour, Uluru, Great Barrier Reef, Kakadu, and the Great Ocean Road, make for popular backdrops.

Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane are the main film production centres. Sydney doubles for generic US city looks and Melbourne doubles for generic European looks.

Australia is a popular destination for productions seeking opposite season looks.

Australia Film Location Permits. Saturday afternoon and Sunday are the best times to film in Sydney’s downtown business district. All other times are much more restricted. Most inner city locations requiring exclusive use of public space require at least 7 days to process permits. Tracking shots and road closures require up to 10 days. Locations outside of major cities are easier to permit. Please contact us for location specific information.

Australia also administers territories including Ashmore and Cartier Islands, Australian Antarctic Territory, Christmas Island, Cocos Islands, Coral Sea Islands, Heard Island and McDonald Islands, and Norfolk Island. Lord Howe Island is under the care of the New South Wales Ministry of Environment. Please contact us if you’re looking for fixers in any of these places.

Insurance. It’s also important to note that most locations require proof of public liability insurance of at least $20 million.

When to shoot? The Australian climate varies considerably depending on the time of year, latitude, proximity to the sea and the altitude. Australia is made up of three climatic zones; the tropical north, the dry and arid desert central region, and the temperate southern areas. Winters are mild with only some snow falling in the Snowy Mountains area (five hours drive from Sydney or three hours drive from Melbourne). Summers can be very hot and either dry or humid depending on the location. In parts of the country the warmer temperatures can be experienced well into the winter months. For monthly weather statistics please see here.

Famous events of interest to filmmakers and photographers include:

• Sydney New Years Eve celebrations are famous for the fireworks that light up the harbour.
• The Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras is a colouful spectacle held in February / March.
• The Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race, held in December, is one of the world’s top sailing events.
• The Melbourne Cup, held in early November, is the horse race that stops a nation.

Public holidays may affect timing, availability and costs. See here for public holiday dates in Australia.

Costs. Recent devaluations in the Australian dollar have made filming in Australia a more cost competitive option. Distance is a major expense. Both in terms of getting to Australia as well as getting around Australia (the country is roughly the size of the US Lower 48). Australia is a very well established and sophisticated production centre so factors of production cost accordingly. Post production is one area that remains a cost saving attraction with high quality post 30-40% less expensive than in the US. Ultimately, whatever the project, our locally based fixers and service producers will negotiate deals and provide the appropriate level of production support to match every budget.

Talent is union and non-union. Talent buyouts are negotiable since the Offshore Agreement expired. For more information about the talent union please visit MEAA.

Australia boasts a very large and experienced pool of multicultural talent. The country’s large population of Asian actors and models makes it a popular destination for visiting productions from Japan, Korea, China and India.

Heading outside of the cities, filmmakers and photographers can find a wealth of aboriginal cultures.

Australia also offers unique animals for filming including kangaroos, crocodiles, koalas, wombats, emus, and a wide variety of birds, bugs and reptiles.

Crews. Australia has a very good experienced pool of directors, directors of photography and stills photographers, several being of the highest international standard. Australian professional and technical crews have had decades of experience servicing long and short-form projects from all over the world. The result is a very deep pool of well trained crew with a great attitude and a world-class reputation.

Contact us if you are looking for a Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Perth, Adelaide, Canberra, or Hobart based director, DP, photographer, videographer (cameraman / camera operator), camera assistant (focus puller), sound operator, grip, gaffer, stylist, hair and makeup, PA / runner, production driver, or any other film crew in Australia.

Fringes. Crew are either Company or Pay As You Go (PAYG). If the crew member is Company then they take care of their own superannuation and in some cases, workers compensation. Some crew members with Australian Business Numbers require workers compensation to be paid for them. If crew is PAYG then we must pay an additional 9% superannuation and 3% workers compensation. There is a 6% payroll tax.

Premiums. Australia has an eight hour shooting day, time and a half for the next two hours and double time after that. Shooting after 8:00pm is a 25% loading. Sunday is a 100% loading. The industry is currently campaigning for a 10 hour day.

Equipment. Australia offers both Panavision and Arri equipment as well as many boutique equipment companies. There is a great depth of standard and more specialised camera gear including digital cameras (Alexa, RED, Sony, Canon), film cameras (16mm and 35mm), high speed cameras (Phantom), Three-axis stabilized heads (Scorpio, Libra), Motion Control, and much more.

Unlike the US system most gear is provided by individual crew. Grip and lighting trucks are privately owned by crew who accompany them to set. Anything required in addition to this is outsourced. Crew charge a rate for the truck and then individually for lights and gripping gear, burn time and labour rates. Australia offers a great variety of standard and specialised grip and lighting gear including cranes (Technocrane, Phoenix, Giraffe), 3D camera rigs, car rigs, tracking vehicles, sea rigs, helicopter mounts, and underwater housing. Companies of note include Panavision, Red Apple, Brownie Grips, and Big Toys.

For productions looking to bring in film equipment, Australia is an ATA carnet country.

Art department and set construction. Australia has very experienced art department and set construction crews. An example of their work can be seen in international feature films such as The Matrix, Moulin Rouge, Mission Impossible II, and Star Wars II & III.

Studios. Facilities are extensive and state of the art. Both major international studios and smaller boutique studios are present. Purpose built studios with extensive facilities such as sound stages and water tanks include Fox Studios in Sydney, Docklands Studios in Melbourne, and Village Roadshow Studios in Brisbane. Australia also has many boutique specialist studio facilities.

Tax Incentives. No tax incentives exist for commercials at present. Feature films have tax incentives. There is an uncapped 16.5% rebate to films with a minimum qualifying Australian production spend. Also a 30% rebate for post and VFX work and 40% for official co-productions with Australia. State agencies may offer additional production incentives. For more information visit AUSFILM.

Post Production. Australia offers a variety of high standard post facilities including VFX, animation, editing, and film labs.

Visas and Work Permits. Short stay visa for visits under three months or business visas (meetings) are the most expedient way of gaining entry. Our local service producer / fixer can help organise this.

Productions that intend to stay longer than 3 months require Entertainment Visas. For international crew to enter into Australia for work purposes, they must be covered by Class 420 Entertainment Visas (for media buys in Australia) or Class 423 Entertainment Visas (media buys excluding Australia). Producers do not need visas. The local service company sponsors each visitor. For a 420 application the service company also needs to get approval from MEAA. To process the sponsorship visas, MEAA requires to see the deal memos between the overseas production company and each crew personnel. A similar thing has to be done with the cast’s deal memos as well.

Western passport holders travelling as tourists can an obtain an Electronic Travel Authority prior to departure. Passport holders of EU nations can enter under the E-visa program. Both allow stays of up to 90 days.

Transportation Infrastructure. Major roads are up to international standards. Some outback roads require 4WD transport. Australia is serviced by most major international carriers and several domestic airlines.

Accommodation. See here for recommended film friendly hotels in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Perth, Adelaide, Canberra, and Hobart.

Communication. Web posted casting, scouting and videoconferencing.

Safety. Australia is a very safe and reliable filming centre. Strict work place procedures also ensure safety on set. See here for up to date travel advice.

Projects. For an example of TV commercials, stills campaigns, online content, corporate videos, virtual reality 360 content, feature films, TV series and documentaries shot in Australia, please see below:

If you are looking for a film or photographic production service company, line producer or fixer in Australia, please contact us.

We are able to provide you with answers, references and bids quickly.