Whether you’re a seasoned professional or a beginner, it’s clear that the main challenge in filmmaking is the cost of video production. Filmmakers simply cannot afford to buy a fancy camera or a new lens for every shoot.
If you’re managing a video production company, then you’ll likely be on different types of projects from narrative films to corporate video marketing. Each and every project requires a different type of camera, a different set of lighting, and a different set of audio equipment. It’s just not possible to buy new production gear for every project.
This is why filmmakers must rely on film equipment rentals. By renting video production supplies, videographers can fulfill the unique needs of every project they take on at a reasonable cost.
In today’s world, almost anything can be acquired via a rental:
Film lighting gear
A set of camera lens
Production gear (i.e. grip supplies)
In this article, we’ll go over the reasons for renting your video production equipment, and where to get the best deals on camera package rentals and film supplies.
Where to Rent Film Equipment
There are two options to choose from- you may decide to deal with your local rental house, or you can opt for the online option. You can always explore online if you need gear that your local rental doesn't carry.
Here are the top 6 online gear rental sites:
Fat Lama offers industry standard videography and photography equipment at the most realistic prices. It operates on a lending and borrowing basis. Camera hire is risk-free for both parties. All the cameras and lenses are covered on damages and theft. Whether you're looking forward for a tripod, camera, lens or rig hire, Fatlama has you covered.
For a rental discount at Fat Lama and get $25 off, use "2BRIDGESRENTALS" as a coupon code!
Since you're renting out from fellow filmmakers, you get to earn new collaborations with other professionals alike. Renting helps beginners to learn new dimensions of understanding with more professional gear. Additionally, Fatlama offers professionals a platform to access wide range equipment that suits any production. If your output is missing the right kind of aerial perspective, Fatlama offers comprehensive drone options that you can choose from.
KitSplit serves as one of the best film equipment rental communities. They have unlocked a creative potential by enabling creators to get all the gear they require easily. It allows you to rent directly from other creators that are around you.
Other than getting the best gear, you also get the chance to share film tips as you find new friends along the way. The Insurance is accessible and affordable. KitSplit enables you to purchase insurance easily. If you have one, you can still use it.
KitSplit offers an enormous inventory of lenses, cameras, accessories and much more. Ranging from the rarest vintage to cutting-edge equipment, you can get it all! You don't have to limit yourself on one single source of gear.
KitSplit gives you the chance to browse nearby gear from rental houses, gear owners, and other production companies. This increases your such options to literally thousands. Get the best deals while saving money and time by ensuring the gear you rent is near your premises.
ShareGrid functions as a peer to peer renting marketplace. Thanks to this strategy, it has massively revolutionized the film rental industry. It functions just like the home sharing concepts of Airbnb.
You get an excellent opportunity of trying out the latest photo and film equipment without having to empty your bank. Find the perfect gear and equipment in a massive and trusted community rental organization. It gives you the chance to rent from other local creatives and your nearest rental houses.
All individuals using the platform are verified to ensure the safety of fellow platform users. Sharegrid provides the best prices within the industry that incorporates instant insurance reaching up to $750k. It allows you to use top of the line camera gear anytime you need it.
By partnering with the best insurance providers in the industry, ShareGrid enables you to cover the rental easily and instantly . On ShareGrid, you get to meet new people and pros alike. Through this experience, you'll receive tips and advice from high ranking people in the industry.
Parachut is a startup that wants to operate the rental industry like Netflix does in the Movie industry. Parachut enables its users to rent large gear quantities at a fix monthly fee.
By providing you with absolute convenience, manufacturers and other retailers will offer you direct access to all the filming equipment you need. Your high-quality gear is only a few clicks away. Use anything you want for as long as you may wish for a small monthly subscription.
Parachut helps you to clear all your storage while simplifying your lifestyle. Lead a life of incredible and responsible consuming at your convenience. Browse through a comprehensive platform and access anything you want.
Get it delivered to you and keep it as long as you need. When you're done, you can swap it for something else.
LensRentals is a mega online rental platform that has the domain authority, capacity, and size to operate on a large scale. They provide users with an incredible keeper program that enables you to try out various gear and cameras.
It can be eventually reimbursed with the retail fee from the initial purchase price if you decide on buying. The platform has a fantastic selection of the latest video and photo equipment from the leading industrial brands.
For ease and convenience, they ship all the equipment directly to more than 4000 pickup locations. LensRentals gives you the quality you can trust. They inspect, clean and carefully package all the gear before it comes you. This ensures that all equipment arrives at your doorstep in the perfect condition.
If you have any questions, LensRentals has extraordinarily friendly support. All the videographers and professional photographers are ready to answer all your questions. Their knowledgeable staff is highly instrumental in offering you the best of the best.
Borrowlenses serves as one of the biggest players in the market. Borrowlenses allows you to rent out the highest quality gear.
They have an extensive collection that boasts the most celebrated and latest equipment that you can easily rent out. Browse the comprehensive inventory until you get the best gear that suits your need. They ship orders right to your doorstep.
Which is the best video production equipment rental service?
I have personally used both KitSplit and Fat Lama. In fact, I have my own equipment listed in KitSplit.
Fat Lama is great because you can rent film equipment, as well as various different items. You can even rent bicycles and other items like Playstation and furniture. It's an all-you-can, buffet style rental place. Definitely, check them out.
For a rental discount at Fat Lama and get $25 off, use "2BRIDGESRENTALS" as a coupon code!
Benefits of Renting Filming Equipment
How many times have you gotten enticed by new gear or a brand new camera release?
During this time you're ready to blow massive cash that you've saved up for days or even months only to get your hands on the "in vogue" gadgets. With technology changing and developing by the day, it isn't viable to buy each latest release. We are at a point where technological advancements are faster than we can even take advantage of. Taking into account the high acceleration of technology, it is safe to say that renting film equipment is the most practical way of keeping up.
Getting up to date with latest advancements
The film rental industry is highly competitive. It incites others to up their game and provide current generation products and machines that make work more efficient and fast.
By utilizing rental sources, you are always assured of the best and most recent gear. In your advantage, you don't have to break the bank for the newest equipment. Imagine having to buy a RED camera every time a new model comes out. Some of these cameras cost over $40,000!
It’s not feasible business model to keep buying the newest release on RED cameras. It’s much better to find the best RED camera package rental. It’s more economical and makes more sense for the layman videographer.
Specialized needs Clients
Let's say that you've just gotten a new client. He/she commissioned you to projects that require a whole different set of equipment from yours. You're extremely under-equipped. Do you head on and buy new filming equipment all together?
No, this isn't a business-savvy decision to make. You might impress the client, but all the costs you are going to incur are on your tab. It's obvious that the simplest and most cost-effective way to go about it is renting all the equipment for a couple of dollars.
Lower maintenance and insurance costs
Most rental contracts cater for the maintenance of their equipment. Such include repairs, record keeping and everything else that goes into it. In addition to making high savings, you don't have to worry about such costs. The rental companies and houses are in charge.
Finally, there’s the insurance aspect of things. The more video production equipment you have – the more likely you’ll need more insurance to protect it. By having a lean film equipment inventory, then you have less carrying cost in terms of insurance.
Indeed, you may require temporary insurance for your film equipment rental but….
Pass on the cost to clients
With video production equipment rentals, you can pass on the cost to your client. Usually, a client will find your film company via the Internet, social media or a referral. They will often ask for a quote for a specific project.
As a seasoned videographer, you’ll know exactly what you need to produce stunning videos for your client. If you’re lacking any equipment, then you can just search for the rental cost and pass on that cost to the client.
Often, the client will ask for itemized cost for the video production. You can list your proposed production gear rental costs and comment on why it’s necessary.
It’s much easier to convince a client of a $300 a day for an Alexa camera package rental versus asking the client to purchase a brand new $20,000 camera. This is why film equipment rentals are great –
You can pass the cost to the client!
It’s simply not feasible to ask a client to purchase a $20,000 camera (unless they’re Disney and you’re making a Star Wars movie).
Great for startups
If you are a startup, your funds are probably low. You don't have adequate capital to get full filming production equipment such as lighting, expendables, audio gear, etc. All these can probably take up more than tens of thousands of dollars depending on your level of production.
It goes without saying, when you're starting out, you need to be strict with your expenses. You don't have to spend a ton of cash to get the latest gear in the market to impress the client. In such a situation renting out some professional video equipment is your surest bet to high video production on a budget.
Reduce storage needs
Large filming equipment usually takes up a whole lot of storage space. At times, you may have to store them in storage facilities when they are not in use. This by itself its can be a massive capital expense. If you utilize a rental company, you don't have to worry about how you'll store all your filming equipment. You just need to pick them up when you need them and take them back when you don't.
Reduce Transportation Costs
Sometimes, you are required to shoot at different destinations. If all your equipment is situated on the West coast, but your project is on the East, it might significantly dent your profitability when you decide to move them. The smartest option is to rent the equipment from a rental house near your project site.
Regardless of all the benefits of renting film equipment, it can be quite a daunting experience. To assist you throughout this process, here's a comprehensive guide on how to go about renting your next filming equipment.
Determine your video production equipment needs
After settling on where you'll get the filming equipment, you need to determine what you're going to rent. This is probably the most difficult step of the rental process. You need to choose between what you want vs. what you really need. Does the shoot call for highly priced equipment? If so, will it make any difference?
Before you settle on the equipment, there are numerous factors you should consider. The first and the most obvious step is to account for the gear you already have. While you always have the option of renting out more incredible up to date equipment, the gear you already have will efficiently influence your overall project budget.
Some videographers prefer to collect lenses and rent out cameras. A grip might have more grip supplies, so he’ll require a camera package rental if he/she wants to get involved in video production. Perhaps, the sound guy requires an extra Rode so extra film audio equipment needs to be rented.
I am a fan of the Sony a6500 camera but some clients feel Sony creates videos that look to much… “video-y”. They want something more grainier and have that “film look.” In these cases, I’ll either make the Sony more “grainier” or just rent out a Canon C100 (as recommended by other filmmakers in NYC).
Whatever is the case, assess what you have and don’t have and go from there.
The second step is to conduct thorough research on the gear. Any time you see a product being demonstrated online, chances are the person using it has had days or weeks of experience with it.
How long will that particular gear take you to understand it and get up to speed with it? Don't end up choosing equipment that might take days or even months to perfect the technique. However, don't let this discourage you. If you don't have adequate experience with the gear you want to rent, you can always bring in someone who has. A pro can always ensure that the gear is utilized to the maximum potential.
The last and most crucial step is to always give a thought to the end goal of your production needs. How will your viewers receive your film? Will it be on a big screen or compressed on computers and smartphones? This will efficiently assist your to determine what is necessary for you.
Now that you've reasonably identified and narrowed down to what you require, make a list and prioritize on it. Ensure that the most needed equipment is on the top of your list.
Set your Budget
Renting film equipment will be probably one of the most important upfront production expenses. Don't forget to consider small details such as storage requirements for the borrowed equipment and the salaries for your crew. Also, include the Insurance needs to the budget. Involve an insurance agent who can assist you in determining the types of coverage that you require. Once you get a general idea of the expenses, you can set an adequate plan on how to go about renting- which should eventually earn you a profit. Set a price range for the equipment rentals and go through the plan.
Different rental houses or platforms usually have different policies. Don't turn a blind eye to their plans. Ensure you read all of it before renting out with them. Most of them price out every equipment and rent it by the day. Be sure to note that this is from the time you pick up the equipment, and not when you decide to shoot.
After a while, they begin to charge you by the week- which is measured in 3 days. Therefore, if you decide to take the filming equipment for 3 days, you can eventually keep it for another 7 days at the same price. If you decide to go for your local rental house, most of them do not open on the weekends. This makes them count the whole weekend as one day. Thus, if you were to choose the pickup for Friday and return on Monday, it will only cost a single day rental- which is a pretty good deal. Before you settle on the best option, identify their base rental costs and if they suit your budget.
Rent around the schedule
Just like we've discussed on rental pricing, rental platforms or houses begin to charge once you've picked the equipment, not after you begin to shoot. Identifying your production rates and plan around it. Different platforms will offer different experiences. Always think strategically on your shoot days. Coming back to what we've discussed, some rentals provide three day weeks while others have one day weekends. Smart scheduling will probably save you a whole lot of time and money. Renting filming equipment offers significant flexibility. You don't have to pay for something you're not actively using.
Involve a rental agent
Involving a rental agent throughout your rental process will assist you significantly on different levels. It will help you in nipping out any challenges that might occur during renting. You don't want to end up renting a light that you don't have an idea which power outlet it goes with. Don't be afraid of looking clueless when you ask too many questions. It helps the agent to have an idea of what you're about and what you're looking for.
Inform the agent on the type of vehicle you intend to pick your equipment with when using a local rental house. Specific equipment may not fit in a standard car. They might need a truck or even multiple vehicles. When the rental source offers to deliver the gear to you, the better.
Checkouts with the team
You always want to check the equipment before renting it. Hire the crew a day before and have them check what you're getting. This is to ensure that everything is functioning efficiently before the day of production. The worst scenario would be getting everyone to production only to find out that your equipment isn't working. It's a complete waste of money and time.
Additionally, once equipment leaves the rental house, it is always considered in perfect condition. Therefore, anything that appears damaged after will automatically be your responsibility. During this time, have the source of transport ready. This is to ensure that the crew can load up the equipment in readiness for the shoot.
Film Insurance Basics
It would be pretty catastrophic if you were to lose a whole truck containing equipment. You wouldn't be able to pay for it. Therefore, most rental houses demand that you have insurance coverage to take any equipment. Insurance comes at a high cost, be sure to incorporate it into your budget.
Moreover, insurance plans are different from one company to the other. Be vigilant of your overall deductibles. The rental house usually requests for the check in amounts of deductibles until all the gear has been returned.
Understand the company's policies on insurance of rental house or an online platform. If you are wondering where to get insurance for your whole production, you can quickly secure it from numerous providers online.
If you're not up to the whole Insurance idea, others forgo it. Nonetheless, you will still have to pay an additional price for the rental. For renters who don't have any insurance, there is a common 10% up-charge on the usual price. Besides, there are also other rental houses that give you the opportunity to rent in place of the insurance with a credit card deposit. When you return all the equipment as it was, the deposits are refundable.
Take Care of the Equipment
It goes without saying, the number one rule of all rented equipment is to take care of it. Carelessness has resulted in people losing their career and livelihood. When your name appears on the contract, ensure that all the equipment is within your sight at all times. Tread with caution when using any material until you are familiar with it.
If you're the team leader, take your crew through a thorough program on how to maintain and take care of equipment. You can keep someone in charge of supervising the rented gear at every location. Ensure that untrained personnel doesn't come close to the equipment. As protocol, any gear that isn't in use should always be returned to its case. You can also add the producer's name to the renting contract to ensure a hands-on approach to caring for gear.
Make good Returns
When making returns, always ensure to return the gear just as you had been given. Complete all the required paperwork to get a receipt. Check in with the rental house or online platform on their expectations during returns. If you may, repackage the gear the same way you received it.
Don't use any foreign equipment to clean up the gear without the proper go-ahead from your renting source. Most of them prefer to clean up their equipment themselves. As long as it isn't damaged, you're good to go!
By adhering to the policies and requirements from your rental sources, you're definitely going to earn a good name. This might eventually make you eligible for some of their discounts. Usually, the return process involves the quick return, actual return, and final check-in. If you can't find some gear, it isn't the end of the world. Most rental sources give you a grace period having a reasonable amount of time to help you retrieve the equipment.
Loses and Damages
When you can't retrieve a critical piece of equipment or something gets damaged, you can always contact your rental source for replacement. This is a high privilege- do not abuse it because it might spoil your relationship. At the end of the rental process, after all the gear has been returned, your rental house will inventory everything.
The will, later on, send a comprehensive list of all damages and losses that you're responsible for- such includes the costs of your deductibles. The process of renting filming equipment should be thoroughly planned out. Efficient maintenance and care will always keep costs down. It is essential to create the best relationships with your renting sources. They might end up as your long term renters
Renting Video Production Equipment is a Must!
If you are to become a viable video production company, it's a must that you have a strong film equipment rental game. Every client is different. Every project has its unique needs and requirements. Some jobs require an additional compact camera like the Sony a6500 or perhaps another RED camera. It's just not feasible to buy every equipment and pass it on to your clients.
You will have to know what you'll need for every job and find a way to get rent what you need. We've given you a list of places to find the best camera package rentals, the most affordable lens rentals and any other type of equipment you'll need for any video production project.
Finally, make sure to take advantage of the $25 discount at Fat Lama by using this discount code for film equipment rentals (and more!):