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Vietnam

Vietnam 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 Vietnam? 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 Vietnam? See below for an introduction to Vietnam locations, permits, when to shoot, costs, talent, crews, equipment, art department, studios, post facilities, visas and work permits, film friendly hotels, transport, communications and safety advice.

Vietnam Film Locations

Vietnam is a vibrant, colourful country known for its bustling cities, sleepy villages, floating markets, beautiful white sand beaches, coral reefs, mountain rainforests, waterfalls, red and white sand desert looks, pristine countryside, rice paddies, coffee plantations, French colonial architecture, and ancient ruins.

Vietnam has hosted films such as Kong: Skull Island, Heaven & Earth, Indochine and Cyclo.

Film locations can be divided into the following regions:

Northern Vietnam

Hanoi is the administrative and cultural capital with Southeast Asian, Chinese and French influences. Locations of interest include the One Pillar Pagoda, Temple of Literature, Hoàn Kiếm Lake, Opera House, St. Joseph’s Cathedral, Ho Chi Minh mausoleum, and Hoa Lo Prison (also known as the Hanoi Hilton). Train Street is an interesting film location of a train that passes inches from homes in Hanoi’s busy Old Quarter.

Halong Bay is known for its emerald waters and thousands of towering limestone rainforest islands.

Sa Pa is a town in the Hoàng Liên Son Mountains. Hill tribes, such as the Hmong, Tay and Dao, make up much of the town’s local population. The area is known for the terraced rice fields of the Muong Hoa Valley. Hoàng Liên National Park is home to many native animal species.

Tam Cốc-Bích Động in the Tràng An Scenic Landscape Complex is a magnificent river location surrounded by rice fields and limestone towers. Ninh Bình is the closest city.

The Mù Cang Chải District is also known for its picturesque rice terraces.

Hoang A Tuong Palace is an impressive location in this region.

Cát Bà Island is known for its floating villages.

Central Vietnam

Hội An has a well-preserved Ancient Town with wooden Chinese shophouses and temples, colourful French colonial buildings, ornate Vietnamese tube houses, and an iconic Japanese Covered Bridge and pagoda.

Imperial city of Hué is famous for the Đại Nội Citadel.

Da Nang is a coastal city known for its sandy beaches. Just outside of the city you can find the Bà Nà hills, and its impressive Golden Bridge which is held up by giant hands.

Son Doong Cave is one of the world’s largest caves.

Buon Ma Thuot is the heart of Vietnam’s thriving coffee industry.

Ke Bang National Park is known for its caves, rivers & waterfalls.

Southern Vietnam

Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon) is Vietnam’s business capital. The city is known for its French colonial landmarks, including Notre-Dame Cathedral, made entirely of materials imported from France, and the Central Post Office. Food stalls line the city’s streets, especially around bustling Bến Thành Market. Other locations of note include the War Remnants Museum, Independence Palace, and the Jade Emperor Pagoda.

The Mekong Delta is a vast maze of rivers, swamps and islands, home to floating markets, Khmer pagodas and villages surrounded by rice paddies.

Phú Quốc is an island known for white-sand beaches and resorts.

The red and white sand dunes of Mũi Né offer interesting desert looks.

Vietnam Film Location Permits

A Vietnamese Film Permit is required to shoot in Vietnam. To apply for film permits, our Vietnamese service producer / fixer will require a project synopsis, final list of locations, visiting crew and talent information, complete schedule and script (if applicable). Permits can take up to 10 business days to process. Additional location permits may be required for filming in national parks, historic sites, public infrastructure or with drones. Please contact us for location specific information. Note, the government may assign an on-set Press Officer to your production.

When To Shoot?

The climate in Vietnam varies greatly from north to south. Highland and northern areas tend to have cooler conditions. Tropical monsoon rains occur from October to April in the centre, and from May to September in the north and south of the country.

Given the complexity of the local climate, there is no one particular time that is perfect for filming. December to February are the driest and coolest months if looking to film all of Vietnam. April and May are the hottest months in the south and an ideal time to film on the beaches and in the highlands. June and July are the warmest in the north, making that a good time to film the mountains.

For monthly weather statistics please see here.

Vietnam is home to many interesting festivals and events throughout the year. Most are based on the lunar calendar, so dates change each year. The Hội An Lantern Festival is a colourful experience during Tết (Vietnamese New Year), which takes place in January or February. Otherwise, Vietnam shuts down for Tết, so it is best to avoid filming for a two week period around this holiday as most crews return home to families and government offices close. Other festivals and events of interest to filmmakers and photographers include the Lim Festival, Hung Temple Festival, Whale Festival, Tet Trung Thu, and the Oc Om Boc Festival.

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

Costs & Tax Incentives

Costs. On the whole Vietnam is a cost efficient place to shoot. Our Vietnamese 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 films shooting in Vietnam.

Film Crew & Talent

Crews. Vietnam has a small but good pool of local directors, directors of photography and stills photographers, with both Vietnamese and expat options available. Supporting crews are hard working and quickly gaining experience in servicing visiting productions. Key crew is best brought in from abroad. Vietnam’s close proximity to Bangkok and Hong Kong allows easy access to those crews should you ever need to look further.

Contact us if you are looking for a Ho Chi Minh or Hanoi 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 Vietnam. 

Talent is non-union and buyouts are negotiable. Vietnam is home to 54 recognized ethnic groups of which the Viet (Kinh) is the largest. All other talent looks need to be brought in from abroad.

Vietnam Film Equipment

Equipment. All the standard camera, grip and lighting equipment is available locally including some aerial photography gear. More specialized equipment needs to be brought in from abroad. Vietnam is not an ATA Carnet member country.

Communication. Web posted casting, scouting and videoconferencing. Some websites are blocked from access. Fast internet is available in the cities.

Art Department, Studios, Backlots, & Post Production

Art department beyond traditional Vietnamese looks is very basic. Set construction crews are skilled, hard working and inexpensive.

Studios and backlots. None exist at present.

Post Production. Some basic facilities exist. Bangkok is the closest production center with a lab and sophisticated post facilities.

Visas & Work Permits

Some Western nationals are required to apply for a visa prior to travel. Others can enter visa-free or via the e-Visa program. Journalists are required to apply for a PV2 visa. For visiting film crews, once the above mentioned Vietnamese Film Permit is approved (see Location Permits section for application information), the Ministry of Foreign Affairs will request that the Immigration Department grant visas to each crew member. Our local fixer / service producer will send you a scanned copy of this document which you will need to present upon entry to Vietnam to obtain your visa on arrival. Note, on departing Vietnam, footage may be examined at customs, so make sure to allow extra time for this, just in case.

Transport & Accommodation

Transportation Infrastructure. Road quality varies considerably. Major roads are of a good standard. Most other roads are slower going particularly during the monsoon season. Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City have heavy traffic congestion. Several international airlines service flights to Vietnam.

Accommodation. Recommended film friendly hotels in Vietnam include:

Hanoi:
InterContinental Hanoi
Oriental Central Hotel
Hanoi Elegance Ruby

Ho Chi Minh City:
Park Hyatt Saigon
InterContinental Saigon
Hotel Nikko Saigon

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. Phở.

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 Vietnam, please see below:

Hire Vietnam Production Support & Shooting Crew

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

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