Egypt Film & Photography Production Services & Camera Crews
Are you a media company, brand, ad agency or production company looking for film / photography production support or shooting crew in Egypt? Contact us for trusted fixers, producers, directors, DoPs, videographers, photographers, and full shooting crews tailored for the specific needs of your project.
Filming in Egypt
For an introduction to shooting in Egypt see below notes on film locations, permits, when to shoot, unique local stories, costs, tax incentives, crews, talent, equipment, communications, art department, studios, post facilities, visas and work permits for filming, transport, film-friendly accommodation, and safety advice.
Egypt Film Locations
Egypt, the land of the pharaohs, is home to a rich bounty of film locations.
Egypt has hosted films including Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen, Gallipoli, Syriana, and The Spy Who Loved Me.
Film locations can be divided into the following regions:
Nile Valley and Delta
Most of Egypt’s film locations can be found in this fertile region. The Nile Valley and Delta conjure images of ancient structures in desert landscapes and felucca’s gently sailing down the Nile River.
Cairo, the largest city in the Arab world is a bustling metropolis of 10 million people. It is Egypt’s capital and main film production centre. The Egyptian Museum houses the world’s largest collection of Pharaonic antiquities. Cairo’s old Islamic quarter is home to over 800 mosques including The Great Mosque of Muhammad Ali Pasha, Sultan Hassan Mosque, El Refaai Mosque, and Ahmed Ben Tulun Mosque. The Hanging Church is one of the oldest Coptic Orthodox churches in Egypt. Cairo is well known for its bustling markets including the famous souk Khan El Khalili. Ezbet El Haggana is Cairo’s largest slum. Manshiyat Nasser, also known as Garbage City, is another interesting slum film location. The Monastery of Saint Simon, also known as the Cave Church, is located in Garbage City. Tahrir Square saw significant protects during the Arab Spring. Other film locations of interest include Al-Azhar Park, Cairo Opera House, Baron Palace, Abdeen Palace, Manial Palace, Bab Zuweila, and Bab al-Nasr, and Bab al-Futuh.
On the outskirts of Cairo you can find the famous Pyramids of Giza and Great Sphinx, the sole survivors of the Seven Ancient Wonders of the World. The Giza Museum is a beautiful modern structure.
Other ancient locations of note in this region include Luxor (Karnak Temple, Luxor Temple), the Valley of the Kings (tombs of Tutankhamun and Ramses II), Valley of the Queens, Deir el-Medina, Saqqara, Philae, Kom Ombo, Abu Simbel, Abydos, Temple of Horus at Edfu, Dendera Temple Complex, and the Tombs of the Nobles. Faiyum is one of the country’s oldest cities. Wadi al-Hitan is known for its whale fossils located in a desert landscape. Wadi El Rayan waterfalls are a beautiful film location.
Alexandria, the city founded by Alexander the Great, is a Mediterranean port city known for Bibliotheca Alexandrina, Citadel of Qaitbay, Montaza Palace, Abu al-Abbas al-Mursi Mosque, and Ras El Tin Palace.
The Suez Canal connects the Mediterranean Sea to the Red Sea running from Port Said to Suez.
Much of Egypt’s agricultural locations are located close to the Nile River water source. Locations of note include cotton, rice, wheat, corn, sugarcane plantations.
Western & Eastern Desert
The desert east of the Nile River consists of a rolling sandy highland stretching to the Gulf of Suez and the Red Sea. The area is rich in natural resources including Egypt’s major oil fields.
The desert west of the Nile River is known for the desert oasis of Siwa, Fayyum, Bahariyya, Farafra, Dakhla, and Kharga. The White Desert is known for its chalk rock towers. The Black Desert is known for its spectacular black volcanic hills. The Saharan sands of the Great Sand Sea stretch for thousands of miles.
Sharm el-Sheikh is the main entry point to Red Sea Coast’s beautiful beaches and world-renowned diving locations. The End of the World Cinema is a post-apocalyptic abandoned outdoor movie theatre in the Sinai desert. Mt Sinai holds religious significance for Abrahamic faiths. Saint Catherine’s Monastery is one of the oldest working monasteries in the world.
Egypt Film Location Permits
Much depends on the nature of your shoot. Generally speaking a visiting crew will apply for location permits with their local Egyptian embassy including the name of the local fixer / service company that will service the shoot. The embassy then sends this on to the Press Office in Cairo. Once the locations have been cleared with all relevant authorities, location permits are granted. A government minder may be required to accompany the production. Permits for shooting b-roll are free but take about 3 weeks to clear. Individual permits are required for each antiquities site. Prices and timing vary depending on several factors including the type of shoot, special dates, extent of location control required, and whether or not there are any current excavations or public access. Most antiquities including the Pyramids of Giza cost $1000 / day from 9am to 4pm for a documentary shoot. A commercial shoot featuring a product costs $3000 / day. Filming outside of these hours is possible at extra cost. The Museum of Egyptian Antiquities costs $1000 / hour and $750 / hour after that. Long form projects such as films and TV dramas require extra permitting which can take up to 3 to 4 months to permit.
Drone filming is currently illegal in Egypt. Penalties for using a drone without a permit include arrest and confiscation of equipment. Although you will not be allowed to fly your own drone, one option to get aerial footage is to hire an Egyptian military drone operator (or helicopter and pilot). This costs around USD3000 for every 30mins of flight time.
The often quoted paradox of permitting in Egypt is that nothing is legal, yet everything is possible. As such, a crafty approach from a well connected fixer / producer is essential to save on costs and carve the best path through the bureaucratic Egyptian permitting process. Feel free to contact us us for permitting questions on specific locations.
When To Shoot?
The Mediterranean coast is mild and wet, while the Sahara in the south is hot and dry. Egypt has two main seasons, a mild winter from November to April and a hot summer from May to October. The shoulder periods from February to April and September to November are the best months to film for costs and weather. For monthly weather statistics please see here.
Most of Egypt’s festivals and events are based on the Islamic calendar. Mawlid an-Nabi parades and processions take place in cities across Egypt during the fifth month of the Islamic calendar. Leylet en Nuktah is celebrated in June. Ramadan is widely observed with many services limited or closed during this period.
Public holidays may affect timing, availability and costs. See here for public holiday dates in Egypt.
Unique Local Stories
Brands are looking for local stories that match their brand narrative. Our local teams are a great lead for sourcing those unique stories and characters.
If you are looking for stories for your next shoot, send us your brief and we will pitch you ideas.
If you have a unique story you would like to pitch to a brand anywhere in the world, pitch us your idea. We have well-established processes to ensure that your ideas are properly seen and protected.
Costs & Tax Incentives
Costs. Egypt has one of the least expensive shoot day costs in the Middle East. Our Egyptian fixer / service producer will negotiate local deals and provide the appropriate level of production support to match every budget.
Tax Incentives. At present there are no tax incentives for foreign commercials or feature films shooting in Egypt.
Film Crew & Talent
Crews. Egypt has a small pool of local directors, directors of photography and stills photographers. Key crew is available in Cairo and Alexandria. Working in Egypt can be a slow process so allow plenty of time to get all the shots you need.
Contact us if you are looking for a Cairo or Alexandria 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 Egypt.
Talent day rates and buyouts are negotiable. Talent costs are some of the lowest in the Middle East. In terms of local looks, nearly all citizens are ethnic Egyptians. Very small minorities of Bedouins, Berbers and Nubians also exist. All other talent needs to be cast abroad.
Egypt Film Equipment
Equipment. All the standard camera, grip and lighting equipment is available locally including Motion Control and Technocrane. More specialized equipment can be easily brought in from nearby European production centres or Dubai. Egypt is not an ATA carnet member country. You will need to have a permit to bring film equipment into Egypt so allow at least a month for processing this permit. Our Egyptian service producer / fixer handles safe import and export of your gear. To save you on costs they guarantee this with a local bank instead of working through a customs broker. For small projects it’s best to bring in gear as handheld luggage.
Communications. Communication is key. Our agility and global experience allows us to customise the right communications systems for every shoot.
Web posted casting, scouting, and videoconferencing.
For clients that are unable to attend set we offer a virtual video village solution. This dedicated and secure high-resolution video streaming platform allows clients from one or multiple timezones to view setups without compromise and to participate in real-time with the team on set. Separate systems can be set up for the discrete conversations that are required to make a job run right. Working remotely with our local teams reduces your content production costs, turnaround times, carbon footprint, and risks associated with unpredictable global events.
Art Department, Studios, Backlots, & Post Production
Art department beyond Egyptian looks is relatively basic beyond local looks.
Set Construction crews are skilled and inexpensive.
Studios and backlots. The Media Free Zone has basic but extensive facilities.
Post Production. Egypt has post production facilities but it’s generally best to post abroad.
Visas & Work Permits
Nationals from most western countries can get a visa on arrival which is valid for stays of up to 30 days. There is no special work permit required to film in Egypt. US passport holders who plan to get a visa before arrival, see here for more information. Contact us for notes on the best approach for your shoot.
Transport & Accommodation
Transportation Infrastructure. Intercity roads are up to international standards. Moving from location to location especially in Cairo can be a challenging and time consuming exercise so make sure to allow plenty of time to get all the shots you need. Heading into desert areas, heavy fog and sudden sand storms can slow travel. Several international airlines service flights to Egypt.
Accommodation. Recommended film friendly hotels in Cairo include:
Please contact us for corporate rates.
For longer stays we can also organize serviced apartments.
Safety. See here for up to date travel advice.
Down Time. The Red Sea has some of the best underwater photography in the world.
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 Egypt, please see below:
Hire Egypt Production Support & Shooting Crew
If you are looking for a film or photographic production service company, line producer or fixer for your shoot in Egypt, please contact us.
If you are looking for a shooting crew for your shoot in Egypt, 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.