Portugal 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 Portugal? Contact us for trusted fixers, producers, directors, DoPs, videographers, photographers, and full shooting crews tailored for the specific needs of your project.
Filming in Portugal
For an introduction to shooting in Portugal see below notes on film locations, permits, when to shoot, unique local stories, costs, tax incentives, crews, talent, fringes, premiums, equipment, communications, art department, studios, post facilities, visas and work permits for filming, transport, film-friendly accommodation, and safety advice.
Portugal Film Locations
Portugal is a small country that offers a rich variety of locations a short drive from each other. You can drive the length of the country in 5 hours. Film locations of note include beautiful beaches, picturesque villages, pastoral countryside, palaces, medieval castles, manor houses, contemporary homes, forests, lakes, rivers, mountains, roads ideal for car commercials, spectacular lighthouses, and filming out at sea including big wave surfing. Portugal is known by filmmakers as having excellent light for filming.
Agricultural film locations include olive groves, vineyards, timber, cork plantations, cattle farms, cheese production, as well as wheat, barley, corn, and sunflower fields. Fishing boats are available for filming. Factories produce textiles, machinery, electronics, automobiles, and ships. Portugal mines copper, tin, tungsten, and uranium. Energy locations include hydroelectric dams and wind farms.
Portugal has hosted productions such as The Man Who Killed Don Quixote (2018), The Promise (2016), The Girl Who Played with Fire (2009), The Ninth Gate (1999), On Her Majesty’s Secret Service (1969), Thunderball (1965), as well as a long list of TV commercial productions.
Film locations can be divided into the following regions:
This region includes the district of Lisboa.
Lisbon is Portugal’s hilly, coastal capital city. It is the main film production centre where film crew and equipment are based. Locations of note include Jerónimos Monastery, Carmo Convent Ruins, Rossio Square, Supremo Tribunal de Justiça, Panorâmico de Monsanto, Santa Justa Elevator, and Belém Tower. Lisbon’s modern architecture of note includes the MAAT (Museum of Art, Architecture, & Technology), Parque das Nações, and Lisbon Orient Station.
There are several interesting locations a short drive from Lisbon.
The historic town of Sintra is known for its Moorish mansions, beautiful parks and gardens. Monserrate Palace doubled for Ottoman Turkey in The Promise (2016). Chalet Biester and Praça República featured in The Ninth Gate (1999). Within a 20 minutes of Sintra you can find Quinta da Regaleira, Pena Palace, and Castelo dos Mouros.
On Her Majesty’s Secret Service (1969) filmed in Cascais.
The Palace of Mafra is another location of note. The Library was used in Gulliver’s Travels as the Great Chamber of War for the Emperor of Lilliput.
This central region includes the districts of Leiria, Coimbra, Aveiro, Viseu, Guarda, and Castelo Branco.
There are several impressive locations that can be reached within a 2 hour drive from Lisbon. Obidos is a beautiful historic walled town famous for the Castle of Óbidos. Impressive monasteries of note include Alcobaça Monastery and Batalha Monastery. Nazaré is famous for its monster waves. Coimbra is a riverfront city and Portugal’s former capital. The beautiful University of Coimbra is known for the baroque Biblioteca Joanina. The Bussaco Palace Hotel is one of the most impressive hotels in the world. The Convento de Cristo in Tomar featured in The Man Who Killed Don Quixote (2018).
This central region includes the districts of Santarém, Setúbal, Beja, Évora, and Portalegre.
The Alentejo region is known for its cork plantations, wheat fields and vineyards.
Other locations of note include the fortified town of Elvas, and Évora, the hilltop villages of Monsaraz and Marvão, and the marble towns of Estremoz and Vila Viçosa. Mina de São Domingos is a deserted mine offering post-apocalyptic looks. Praia da Comporta, Praia Galapos, and Porto Côvo are beautiful white sand beach with turquoise waters. All locations are a 2 hour drive from Lisbon. Arrabida National Park featured in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service (1969).
This northern region includes the districts of Viana do Castelo, Braga, Porto, Vila Real, and Bragança.
Heading north, Porto is Portugal’s second largest city. It is known for its stately bridges, narrow cobbled streets, cafe culture, and port wine production. Locations of note in Porto include São Francisco Church, Palácio da Bolsa, Livraria Lello Art Nouveau bookstore, and the Cruise Terminal of the Port of Leixões.
Outside of Porto you can find the Peneda-Gerês National Park (Portugal’s only national park), the Fortress of Almeida, Capela do Senhor da Pedra, Bom Jesus do Monte, and the historic town center of Guimarães which is also home to Plataforma das Arte e Criatividade and Guimarães Castle. The traditional village of Soajo is known for its impressive espigueiros (granite granaries built above the ground).
This southern region includes the district of Faro.
Portugal’s southernmost region, Algarve is known for sunny weather, beautiful Mediterranean beaches, whitewashed fishing villages, and rugged interior that attract productions from all over Europe and the world. Beaches of note include Praia de Tavira, Praia da Marinha, Praia de Odeceixe, Foz de Minho, Praia da Bordeira, and Praia da Figueira. The region has some beautiful modern homes such as Villa Escarpa in Luz. Galé featured in The Girl Who Played with Fire (2009).
The Azores, an autonomous region of Portugal, are an archipelago in the mid-Atlantic consisting of the islands of São Miguel, Pico, Terceira, São Jorge, Faial, Flores, Santa Maria, Graciosa, and Corvo.
Madeira, an autonomous region of Portugal, is an archipelago comprising 4 islands off the northwest coast of Africa. Cristiano Ronaldo Madeira International Airport is a dangerous airport known for its strong crosswinds.
Portugal Film Location Permits
City hall typically requires 6 working days for processing permits. Expo requires 1-2 days. It is not possible to shoot at Expo on weekends or public holidays. Beaches require 1-2 days for permits. The city does not require up front payment for locations so our local fixer / service producer is able to file for permission for several locations so that clients have options up to the final days before the shoot. Please contact us for more location specific information.
When To Shoot?
Portugal is one of Europe’s sunniest countries. Southern Portugal has a climate much like that of Southern California. Summer weather peaks from June to September with very good light for filming. Winter from November to March is rainy with some snow on the Serra da Estrela mountains. Spring through to fall (April to October) are the best months to film for weather. For monthly weather statistics please see here.
Carnaval celebrations take place in February.
Portugal is a predominately Christian country, so those holidays are observed.
Public holidays may affect timing, availability and costs. See here for public holiday dates in Portugal.
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. Portugal trades in the Euro. It is one of the least expensive service centres in Western Europe. Portugal typically comes in less expensive than Spain. Our locally based fixers and service producers will negotiate deals and provide the appropriate level of production support to match every budget. See here for the current VAT rate.
Tax Incentives. Portugal offers a cash rebate of 25-30% for qualifying productions. There are no tax incentives for commercial shoots.
Film Crew & Talent
Crews. Portugal has a small but good pool of local directors, directors of photography and stills photographers. Local crews are non-union. Crews speak fluent English and are of a high international standard as you would expect anywhere in Western Europe. There is a considerable depth of good local crews and in most cases there is no need to bring key crew from abroad. If you do need to bring in crews Portugal’s close proximity to other major European production centres makes that easy.
Contact us if you are looking for a Lisbon or Algarve 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 Portugal.
Talent is non-union and buyouts are negotiable.
Portuguese is the official language.
Portugal has a small but multicultural talent pool.
Fringes and Premiums. No hidden extras. Crews work a 10 hour day with 1 hour lunch included. Time and a half after 10 hours. Double time after 16 hours. Rest period between days worked is 8 hours. Saturday is time and a half. Sunday is double time. Models are an hourly rate after 10 hours depending on the agreement.
Portugal Film Equipment
Equipment. All standard camera, grip and lighting equipment is available. The Russian Arm, Flying Cam and high speed cameras can easily be brought in from larger nearby European production centres. For productions looking to bring in film equipment Portugal is an ATA carnet country.
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 very high standard in Portugal.
Studios There are some very good studios in Portugal, offering a range of facilities including motion control.
Post Production. Quality of post production is also good.
Visas & Work Permits
Portugal is a member of the Schengen Area. US film crews can enter visa-free for a period of up to 90 days. Only certain countries need visas and there is no need for work permits. Contact your local Portuguese embassy / representative for more information.
Transport & Accommodation
Transportation Infrastructure. The road infrastructure is of a high standard. You can drive the length of the country in 5 hours. Portugal is serviced well by many regional and international airlines.
Accommodation. Contact us for recommended film friendly hotels in Lisbon. For longer stays we can also organize serviced apartments.
Safety. Portugal is a very safe and reliable filming centre. 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 Portugal, please see below:
Hire Portugal Production Support & Shooting Crew
If you are looking for a film or photographic production service company, line producer or fixer for your shoot in Portugal, please contact us.
If you are looking for a shooting crew for your shoot in Portugal, 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.