I applied for a student visa because it seemed to be the easiest way. It is valid for one year and can be extended for at least another year. A list with all the necessary documents you find on the homepage of the embassy. At the Embassy you first have to got to the Lady at the desk. You tell her what you want and she will tell the other people. After that you will be called to the people working behind the glass things.
Concering the money: I first went to the embassy having my work contract plus my bank statement and was send home. The embassy sort of wants a assurance that one will will have at least 600EUR per month for the whole duration of the visa time. So I talked to Frau Steinhauer from the TU Berlin. After some discussion she wrote me a letter which was accepted by the embassy lady. I already told Frau Steinhauer that there might be more people coming with exact the same request. So I guess you could just contact her.
After having all the necessary documents it took about four days until the visa was ready to be picked up.
However, in a first version of the info for stays in Brazil I read that the visa has to be registered in Brasil, within 30 days I think. So arriving in Recife I went straight to the Policia Federal, which is located at the other end of the airport. It is open till 17:00 but you have to be there at least at 16:00 because the whole registration thing took a while. When I was there there was a lady that knew some english, I knew some portugues and it worked out very well. However, you have to pay something like 200$R to get the registration. You pay the money next to the Policia Federal in a Lotto-Shop or something. Finally, you get a small piece of paper which is supposed to be your brazilian passport. However, after that no one ever wanted to see it again.
For the registration you have to take a couple of documents which I can’t recall right know. However, I just took all the things that were mentioned in the “info for stays…” and that worked well. Or ask again at the Embassy in Berlin when applying for the visa.
I put the exact same text in sharepoint (where I finally got access to :-)). You may find some more useful information for your stay in Brazil there.