We all know that offering gear on craigslist for low rent does not pay the bills, and forces you to come across some pretty shady gigs. Video camera rental companies have competitive rates that keep them in business for a reason.
The reality of renting a Red Epic or Red Dragon is $1,000 minimum after it is completely loaded. Once you have a feeling of what camera and grip equipment really cost, start including those cost into proposals. It doesn't matter if you are buying or renting camera equipment, this will allow you to separate the camera operator time from the equipment cost efficiently.
The benefit of separating equipment from operator time comes into play when deciding to purchase or rent video camera equipment.
Here are 3 benefits to video camera rentals over purchasing equipment.
#1 - Endless Video Equipment Choices
With the combination of a few strong resources at hand, the amount of equipment you have at your fingertips is endless. Although a lot of independent filmmakers collect gear for their respected craft of the trade, it would be very hard for any single person to collect a comparable inventory. Working with any of the video equipment rental houses over time establishes credibility for lower rates. Both video production companies and independent contractors have High rates for newcomers and Lower rates for repeat business. Keep in mind, it never hurts to ask if they can work with your budget .... as long as you have a budget!!
#2 - Lower Insurance Rates
Any contractor who owns their own gear is responsible for obtaining insurance to protect that gear. To rent video camera equipment, a professional will need a C.O.I. as well. Insurance for owning gear vs. insurance for renting gear are two completely different ball games. But there is no denying that the cost to be insured as an individual camera operator for up to X amount of dollars is far lower then the costs associated with insuring ownership on gear + operating this gear in public. Either way, GET INSURED for your own protection rather it be Independently, Union or Employee based.
#3 - No Depreciation
Depending on which way you look at it..... the sound of Depreciation can turn anyone away. Although there are plenty of perks for equipment depreciation when it comes to taxes, depreciation ultimately holds someone back when it comes to growth. Depreciation is absolutely horrendous with digital gear. The Red Epic body is now going for as low as 10 grand on eBay!!! That use to be a $40k + body that several people purchased less than a few years ago! This subject should be discussed with your accountant a bit closer to weigh out the pros and cons for your personal situation.
#1 - Make sure you can afford the gear first!
#2 - Protect your self and your video equipment rental!
#3 - Make money before you loose money!
None of these 3 reasons have kept me from buying new gear constantly. In fact, we have even written it into our business plan so we have a yearly budget devoted to buying fun new toys! It is surely a love/hate relationship at times. But technology and understanding every piece of gear to its fullest potential is very rewarding and leading us further. Even if it means purchasing some gear I can actually affordhere and there.
But when someone is first starting out, consider looking into renting the gear you want to buy at least a few times to fully understand the commitment you are after. Because in 2 years when something new and better has come out and you decide to sell your camera for a few hundred dollars less than you paid for it, please do not be the one who gets offended to a real fair market value offer! Equipment degrades in value the moment you purchase it -- so enjoy it or do not buy it!!!
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