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Filming in Rio De Janeiro for the 2016 Olympic Games

Written on August 3, 2016

Locations and Permits

The Rio de Janeiro 2016 Olympics, Brazil’s first time hosting the event, will take place from the August 5th to August 21st, 2016. Olympic venues are located in the geographically segregated Olympic clusters of Barra, Copacabana, Deodoro, and Maracanã. Several of the venues will be located at the Barra Cluster Olympic Park. Estádio do Maracanã will serve as the official Olympic Stadium, hosting the opening and closing ceremonies as well as football finals. In addition, five venues outside Rio de Janeiro will host football events, in the cities of Brasília, Belo Horizonte, Manaus, Salvador and São Paulo.

Permission to film at Olympic venues is generally restricted to approved broadcasters and sponsors. Filming inside Olympics venues requires accreditation from the IOC. Filming outside of Olympic venues is more doable, particularly if you have a small crew with minimal equipment.

Iconic Non-Olympic locations such as Christ the Redeemer and Sugarloaf Mountain are very difficult and expensive to get permission to film. Last minute permits are difficult to get, but still possible. The process can generally be expedited at extra cost. Note, copyright issues apply to usage of Christ the Redeemer images. Other famous locations one typically associates with Rio de Janeiro, such as Ipanema Beach or the favelas are much easier to film in. Small crews filming b-roll around Rio de Janeiro can usually get away without permits.

Getting In

Citizens of the United States, Australia, Canada, and Japan who are planning on traveling to Brazil for the Summer Olympic Games 2016 will have a visa waiver for the period from June 1st to September 18th, 2016. The visa waiver will be valid for a period of 90 days. Citizens of countries that are not included in the joint decree and of countries which do not have a permanent visa waiver agreement with Brazil must obtain a visa in order to visit Brazil.

The is no special waiver for crews bringing in film equipment. The rules remain the same. Bringing in gear requires a carnet-like process via a dispatcher. Our Rio de Janeiro fixer arranges this for a fee.

Health & Safety

Zika Virus concerns have been a major news item in recent months. The government has taken extra measures by spraying insecticide and working to eradicate mosquito breeding sites. Although the chances of contracting the virus are very low, sensible precautions such as applying plenty of mosquito repellent and wearing long-sleeved shirts and pants are a good idea. There are also clothes on the market containing pyrethrin, a repellent extracted from Eucalyptus leaf, that’s said to ward off mosquitoes.

Crime concerns are another issue. The Brazilian government has considerably stepped up security for the Olympics. Additional police will be in force to guard visitors, particularly in the corridors connecting the airport to hotels and event locations. As we saw with the successful 2014 FIFA World Cup, the chances of something bad happening are low. That said, there are bound to be some bad elements looking to take advantage of the influx of visitors, so as in any other major city around the world, take a common sense approach: Don’t leave valuables out in plain view. Don’t go wandering around neighborhoods you don’t know, especially late at night. Don’t go exploring in the favelas, unless you are accompanied by someone who knows the locals.

Premium Pricing

Despite devaluations in the Brazilian Real against major world currencies, filming during the Olympics is expensive. Hotel rooms and home apartment rentals are in high demand. Prices are high. Same goes for the cost of last minute flights to Rio de Janeiro. Booking vans and other transport services are also very expensive during the Olympic period, with many fully booked months ahead of time. It’s also worth noting that traffic congestion is even worse than usual, so allow plenty of time to get between locations.

Book Local Crew

Many local film crews and fixers are already fully booked through to the end of the Olympic period. Prices are on the high side for those still available. If you’re looking for local production support or shooting crews in Rio de Janeiro or anywhere else in Brazil, please contact us.