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.
Australia Film Locations
Australia is a popular destination for productions seeking opposite season looks. The country 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. Locations in Australian states are territories are as follows:
New South Wales. The Premier State. Sydney Harbour is the reason the city is often voted the most beautiful in the world. Australia’s largest city, Sydney doubles well for American and modern Asian city looks. Outside of Sydney, NSW has plenty to offer. Locations of note include the Blue Mountains, Hunter Valley wineries, Jenolan Caves, Mount Kosciuszko, several ski resorts and miles of untouched beaches. Wollongong and Newcastle have industrial looks. Byron Bay and Nimbin are more laid back towns. New South Wales has hosted a long list of major motion pictures including The Matrix, Moulin Rouge, Star Wars II & III, The Wolverine, Unbroken, Babe, Australia, Muriel’s Wedding, and Priscilla, Queen of the Desert.
Queensland. The Sunshine State. Beautiful one day… Perfect the next. Brisbane is the largest city. Sitting on the banks of the Brisbane river, it is known for its modern city skyline, diverse neighbourhoods, Story Bridge, museums and galleries, as well as the man-made inner-city Streets Beach. Known for its modern Surfers Paradise is Australia’s answer to Miami, only with better beaches . Cairns is the gateway to northern Queensland including the famous Great Barrier Reef, Daintree Rainforest, Barron Gorge National Park, Port Douglas, and Cape Tribulation. National Parks of note include Boodjamulla National Park, Lamington National Park, Springbrook National Park, Kutini-Payamu (Iron Range) National Park, and Great Sandy National Park. Other locations of note include Fraser Island, Whitsunday Islands (Whitehaven Beach), Moreton Island, Noosa, and the Glass House Mountains. Mt Isa is a remote mining town. Queensland has hosted a long list of major motion pictures including Godzilla vs. Kong, Thor: Ragnarok, The Thin Red Line, Mission Impossible II, Aquaman, Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales, The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, Crocodile Dundee, House of Wax, and The Lost World: Jurassic Park.
Victoria. The Garden State. Melbourne doubles well for European looks and modern city looks. National parks of note include Great Otway National Park (The Twelve Apostles and Great Ocean Road), Grampians National Park, Wilsons Promontory National Park, Dandenong Ranges National Park, Mount Buffalo National Park, Port Campbell National Park, and Alpine National Park. Bells Beach is where Point Break was filmed. Other locations of note include Phillip Island, Mount Buller ski resort, Apollo Bay, Port Phillip Bay, and the Gold Rush city of Ballarat. The Fire Services Museum of Victoria is another interesting film location. Victoria has hosted a long list of major motion pictures including Mad Max, The Dressmaker, Charlotte’s Web, and The Castle.
Australian Capital Territory. The Nation’s Capital. Canberra is Australia’s capital. Locations of note include Parliament House, Old Parliament House, Australian War Memorial, National Museum of Australia, National Gallery of Australia, Australian Institute of Sport, and Lake Burley Griffin. As the nation’s capital it is also home to embassies from all over the world.
Tasmania. The Apple Isle. Hobart is the largest city. The Musuem of Old and New Art has been described as a “Subversive adult Disneyland”. Launceston is a pretty, riverside city. The Overland Trail, connecting Cradle Mountain to Lake Sinclair is considered to be one of the most beautiful hikes on earth. Other national parks of note include Mount Field National Park, Franklin-Gordon Wild Rivers National Park, Southwest National Park, Maria Island National Park, Mount William National Park, Narawntapu National Park, Freycinet National Park, and Hartz Mountains National Park. Other Tasmanian locations to consider include the Dolerite Columns, Wineglass Bay, Bruny Island, and Flinders Island. Lion and The Hunter filmed in Tasmania.
South Australia. The Wine State. Adelaide is known as The City of Churches. Coober Pedy is the opal mining capital of the world. South Australia is world-famous for its wines such as those produced in the Clare Valley and Barossa Valley. The Indian Pacific is a train service that connects Sydney, on the Pacific Ocean, to Perth, on the Indian Ocean. The journey goes through the Nullarbor Plain in what is the longest straight section of railway in the world. Another location of note in the Great Australian Bite are the spectacular Bunda Cliffs. National parks of note include Flinders Chase National Park, Coorong National Park, Mount Remarkable National Park, and Innes National Park. Other locations of interest to filmmakers and photographers include Kangaroo Island, Lake Eyre, Mount Gambier, Blue Lake, and the mighty Murray River. Maralinga was the site of the British nuclear tests in the 1950s. Anna Creek Station is the world’s largest ranch at 6 million acres and 160,000 head of cattle. Picnic at Hanging Rock and Shine were filmed in South Australia.
Northern Territory. The Top End. Darwin is the largest city in the vast, wild territory. The Northern Territory is home to many otherworldly natural wonders including Kakadu National Park, Tiwi Islands, Uluṟu-Kata Tjuṯa National Park, Litchfield National Park, Nitmiluk National Park (Katherine Gorge), Watarrka National Park, Keep River National Park, Limmen National Park, and Karlu Karlu (Devils Marbles). Alice Springs is the gateway to film Uluru (Ayers Rock), Lake Amadeus, Kata Tjuta (The Olgas) and West MacDonnell National Park. Larapinta Drive is a spectacular stretch of road. Jabiru and Tennant Creek are mining towns. Crocodile Dundee, Tracks, Australia, Ten Canoes, Priscilla, Queen of the Desert.
Western Australia. The Golden State. Western Australia is Australia’s largest state taking up one-thrid of the country’s landmass. It boasts over 12,500 km of coastline. The southwest corner is green but much of the rest of the state is uninhabited desert. Perth is the largest city and main production centre. The port city of Fremantle is a short drive away. Western Australia has many national parks including Purnululu National Park (Bungle Bungle Range), Kalbarri National Park, Cape Range National Park, Cape Le Grand National Park (Lucky Bay), Windjana Gorge National Park, Yanchep National Park, William Bay National Park, Nambung National Park (The Pinnacles), and Torndirrup National Park. Mitchell Falls is a beautiful four-tiered waterfall located in the remote north of the Kimberley Region. Pink Lake Hillier and Pink Lake Kalbarri are spectacular locations. Lake Lefroy is a salt lake in the Goldfields-Esperance region of Western Australia. Mining and industry centres include Port Hedland, Kalgoorlie, and Geraldton. Talbot Bay is known for its two horizontal waterfalls. Other locations of note include Rottnest Island, Margaret River, Broome, Ningaloo Reef and the Birridas of Shark Bay. Busselton has the longest wooden jetty in the world. Films of note shot in Western Australia include Breath, Australia, Mad Max 2, Rabbit-Proof Fence, and Wolf Creek.
Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane are Australia’s main film production centres.
Australia Film Location Permits
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 & Tax Incentives
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.
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. Some states have additional tax incentives.
Film Crew & Talent
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.
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. Australia also has talent minorities of Pacific Islander and African decent.
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.
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.
Australia Film 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, Studios, Backlots, & Post Production
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. Mill Films is a VFX studio in Adelaide. Australia also has many boutique specialist studio facilities.
Post Production. Australia offers a variety of high standard post facilities including VFX, animation, editing, and film labs.
Visas & Work Permits
Short stay visa for visits under three months or business visas (meetings) are the most expedient way of gaining entry to Australia. Please note that you cannot attend meetings through the Tourist stream and may be turned around at the airport if there is suspicion in relation to your motives whilst in Australia. In addition, the business holiday visa can only be to attend meetings, sign contracts or undertake (limited) training. Any activity that would normally attract remuneration would need a work visa.
Productions that intend to stay longer than 3 months require Entertainment Visas, unless the production is not being shown in Australia, then a subclass 400 visa will be required.
For international crew to enter into Australia for work purposes, they must be covered by a subclass 408, Entertainment Visa. The local service company sponsors each visitor. For a 408 application the service company also needs to get approval from MEAA, the local Entertainment Union. 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. Given recent changes to Australian immigration policy we would only advise travelling to Australia as a tourist if you intend to only undertake genuine tourist visa activities. Anyone found working on the wrong visa will be deported from Australia and face an immediate three-year ban from applying for temporary Australian visas.
Our local service producer / fixer can assist with organising Australian visas, including turning around last-minute applications.
Transport & Accommodation
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.
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:
Hire Australia Production Support & Shooting Crew
If you are looking for a film or photographic production service company, line producer or fixer for your shoot in Australia, please contact us.
If you are looking for a shooting crew for your shoot in Australia, such as a director, DoP, photographer, videographer (cameraman / camera operator), camera assistant (focus puller), sound operator, grip, gaffer, stylist, hair and makeup, PA / runner, production driver, please contact us.
We are able to provide you with answers, references and bids quickly.