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Malaysia

Malaysia 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 Malaysia? Contact us for trusted fixers, producers, directors, DoPs, videographers, photographers, and full shooting crews tailored for the specific needs of your project.

Filming in Malaysia

For an introduction to shooting in Malaysia 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.

Malaysia Film Locations

Malaysia is a Southeast Asian country that consists of Peninsular Malaysia, East Malaysia, and hundreds of surrounding islands. Offering a great depth of impressive locations, Malaysia is best known for its beaches, national parks, rainforests, caves, British colonial architecture, mosques, temples, museums, palaces, mansions, modern buildings, markets, and shopping malls. Malaysia has a wide biodiversity of unique fauna including Asian elephants, Indochinese tigers, Borneo orangutangs, proboscis monkeys, and Sumatran rhinoceros.

Agricultural film locations include plantations of tea, rubber trees, palm oil, rice, mangosteens, durians, bananas, coconuts, and pineapples. Industrial locations include electronics and automobile factories, as well as oil and gas facilities. Kuala Lumpur is a large financial hub. Energy locations include coal, oil, and gas fired power plants, as well as hydroelectric power plants.

Malaysia has played host to productions such as Edge of the World (2021), Crazy Rich Asians (2018), Marco Polo (2014-2016), Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation (2015), 24 (2001-2010), Entrapment (1999), as well as a long list of Bollywood films.

Film locations of interest to visiting productions can be divided into the following regions:

Peninsular Malaysia

Peninsular Malaysia includes the Federal Territories of Kuala Lumpur and Putrajaya, as well as the states of Johor, Kedah, Kelantan, Malacca, Negeri Sembilan, Pahang, Penang, Perak, Perlis, Selangor, and Terengganu.

Kuala Lumpur is the capital and main film production centre. The city is an interesting cultural melting pot where Malay mosques, Chinese joss-houses, Christian churches and Hindu temples stand next to bustling markets and towering modern skyscrapers. Film locations of note include the famous Petronas Twin Towers, Kuala Lumpur Tower, Sultan Abdul Samad Building, National Palace, Jamek Mosque, National Mosque of Malaysia, National Museum, Islamic Arts Museum, Tugu Negara, Merdeka Square, Perdana Botanical Gardens, KLCC Park, Suria KLCC, Pavilion Kuala Lumpur, Central Market, China Town, Kuala Lumpur railway station, Planetarium Negara, Thean Hou Temple, and Sri Mahamariamman Temple. Carcosa Seri Negara is a mansion that featured in Crazy Rich Asians (2018).

Outside of Kuala Lumpur, there are many Peninsular Malaysia locations of interest to filmmakers and photographers.

Putrajaya is known for Putra Mosque, Tuanku Mizan Zainal Abidin Mosque, Seri Wawasan Bridge, and Putra Square. Seri Perdana is the official residence of the Prime Minister of Malaysia.

The Perhentian Islands offer untouched paradise looks with white sand beaches, turquoise waters and reefs with impressive underwater photography opportunities.

Penang National Park has beautiful coastal locations and tropical forests.

The Khoo Kongsi is a large Chinese clanhouse in Penang.

Kek Lok Si Temple is a Buddhist temple located in Penang.

Penang doubled for the Himalayan foothills in Channel 4’s period drama Indian Summer (2015-2016).

Langkawi is an archipelago of 99 islands known for its beaches, rainforest, mountains, mangrove estuaries and unique nature.

Redang Island is known for its upmarket paradise island locations.

Taman Negara National Park is a beautiful natural location in Kelantan.

The city of Ipoh is known for its British colonial architecture and Perak Buddhist Cave Temple.

The Colmar Tropicale French Theme Resort in Pahang has been used to double as a small village in Alsace.

Tioman Island is a paradise location in Pahang.

Endau-Rompin National Park is also located in Pahang.

Rawa Island is located in Johor.

Istana Besar, Istana Lama, and Istana Tasik are palaces in Seri Menanti.

Melaka city is known for Melaka Sultanate Palace, Christ Church Melaka, Cheng Hoon Teng Temple, Jonker Street Night Market, Melaka Straits Mosque, and Malacca Submarine Museum.

The Batu Caves are Hindu cave temples.

The exquisite Crystal Mosque made of steel and glass is located in Terengganu.

Langkawi Sky Bridge is an impressive curved bridge over mountainous jungle terrain.

The Cameron Highlands offer picturesque tea plantations.

Resorts World Genting is a resort located in the Titiwangsa Mountains.

Legoland Malaysia Resort is located in Iskandar Puteri.

Kellie’s Castle is located in Perak.

Pangkor Island is a paradise island in Perak.

Teluk Intan, also in Perak, is known for its leaning tower.

As far as unusual film locations go, the Gurun Electric Converter Temple is a building designed like a Chinese temple that operates to connect the power grid.

East Malaysia (Malaysian Borneo)

Malaysian Borneo includes the states of Sabah, Sarawak and the Federal Territory of Labuan.

Kota Kinabalu city is known for Sabah State MuseumKota Kinabalu City Mosque, Sabah State Mosque, Night Food Market, and Tanjung Aru Beach. Mount Kinabalu and Tunku Abdul Rahman National Park are located outside of the city.

Sepilok Orang Utan Rehabilitation Centre is located in Sabah.

Sabah paradise islands of note include Mabul, Sipadan, Kapalai, Bohey Dulang, Lankayan, Mataking, Mantanani, Pulau Tiga, and Sapi.

The city of Kuching in Sarawak is known for its colonial architecture, Sarawak State Museum, Sarawak State Legislative, Kuching City Mosque, Fort Margherita, Borneo House Museum, and Borneo Cultures Museum. Bako National Park, Kubah National Park, and Semenggoh Nature Reserve are located outside of the city.

Gunung Mulu National Park, in Sarawak, is known for the impressive otherworldly Pinnacles of Gunung Mulu as well as Deer Cave.

Niah National Park is known for Niah Caves.

Malaysia Film Location Permits

In general, Malaysia has a film friendly and streamlined permitting process. There are no extraordinary restrictions or rules. Shooting inside the Petronas Towers is difficult to permit but not impossible. It’s easier to get permission if it’s a Bollywood production due to the Indian connection. Please contact us for location specific information.

When To Shoot?

Generally speaking Malaysia has a tropical climate with warm, humid days and cool nights. The west coast Malaysian peninsula has a dry season from November to April, light rains from April to August and a wet season from September to November. The east coast Malaysian peninsula has a dry season from April to October and a wet season from November to March. Malaysian Borneo receives high rainfall throughout the year with heaviest rains from October to March. Visibility for underwater photography is best during the dry season on the Malaysian peninsula and good all year round on Malaysian Borneo. For monthly weather statistics please see here.

Malaysia’s cultural diversity is on display in several interesting festivals and events including:

• Chinese New Year in January / February.
• Thaipusam Hindu Festival in February.
• Malaysian Formula 1 Grand Prix in March.
• Diwali (Festival of Lights) in October / November.

Malaysia’s majority Muslim population observe Ramadan. Many services still remain open during this time. There are also sizeable Buddhist, Christian, and Hindu minorities.

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

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. On the whole, Malaysia is a cost competitive country to shoot in. It is roughly around the same price point as Indonesia, which is less expensive than Singapore but more expensive than Thailand or the Philippines. Our Malaysian fixer / service producer will negotiate local deals and provide the appropriate level of production support to match every budget.

Tax Incentives. Malaysia offers a 30% tax rebate for qualifying foreign feature films, TV productions, documentaries, animations, post-production and TV commercials.

Film Crew & Talent

Crews. Malaysia has a small but good pool of local directors, directors of photography and stills photographers. Malaysian crews are hard working and experienced in servicing international productions. Department heads speak fluent English. Most projects do not require key crew to be brought in from abroad. If additional crew needs to be brought in this can be easily sourced in nearby Bangkok and Singapore.

Contact us if you are looking for a Kuala Lumpur 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 for your shoot in Malaysia.

Talent day rates and buyouts are negotiable.

Malay and English are the official languages.

Bumiputras, made up of Malay, Orang Asli, and indigenous groups of Sabah and Sarawak, are the largest ethnic group. Minority groups include Chinese, East Indian and Pan-Asian. There is also a pool of younger Middle Easterners who are studying in Malaysia. Malaysian Borneo has several interesting indigenous tribes including Sea Gypsies. All other talent needs to be cast abroad.

Malaysia Film Equipment

Equipment. Malaysia is Arri based. All the standard camera, lighting and grip equipment is available locally. Specialized equipment is easily brought in from Singapore or Bangkok. Singapore is connected to Malaysia by a land bridge and is a 4 hour drive to Kuala Lumpur. 

For productions looking to bring in film equipment Malaysia is an ATA carnet country. Bringing in gear for non-carnet member countries is a quick and easy process once visiting crews have work permits.

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 and set construction is of a good standard. Set construction is particularly good. Malaysia is known to have very good riggers.

Studios and backlots. Pinewood Iskandar Malaysia Studios have a large studio complex offering 5 state-of-the-art sound stages, TV studios, post production services, production offices, a 14 acre backlot, 30 acres of natural forest, interior and exterior water filming tanks. KRU Studios also offer a variety of studios specializing in TV productions. Malaysia also has a French theme park with a design based on a small village in Alsace.

Post Production. Some good post facilities. Telecine is lacking. Best to use graders in Bangkok or Singapore.

Visas & Work Permits

Malaysian film work permits must be applied for through a FINAS licenced company or approved government agency. Work permits can take up to 8 weeks to process but this can be expedited in some circumstances. Additional permits are required if filming in Malaysian Borneo. National Parks also require additional permits.

Crew travelling on Western passports that enter as tourists can stay visa-free for up to 90 days.

The eastern states of Sabah and Sarawak (on the island of Borneo) have special entry requirements.

Transport & Accommodation

Transportation Infrastructure. Traffic congestion can be bad in major cities so allow plenty of lead time to travel between locations, particular during peak hours. Roads on the Malaysian peninsula are paved. Roads in more rural areas are in a poorer condition and may become impassable during the rainy season. Our Malaysian service producer / fixer organizes safe and reliable 4WD transportation. Helicopters are available but are very expensive in more remote areas. Several domestic carriers offer low-cost flights around Malaysia. Many international airlines service flights to Kuala Lumpur.

Accommodation. Recommended film friendly hotels in Kuala Lumpur include:

Mandarin Oriental
Shangri-La
The Piccolo
Boulevard Hotel

Please contact us for corporate rates.

For longer stays we can also organize serviced apartments.

Final Notes

Safety. See here for up to date travel advice.

Down Time. Malaysia has delicious street food with its strong Malay, Chinese, and Indian influences. Dishes of note include nasi kandar, nasi dadang, nasi kerabu, and chicken perchik.

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 Malaysia, please see below:

Hire Malaysia Production Support & Shooting Crew

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

If you are looking for a shooting crew for your shoot in Malaysia, 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.