Pre-Production: How To Lease Film Equipment

Today's generation of filmmakers may have more choices in terms of film production equipment, but the prices still remain high. Most independent and student filmmakers choose to rent film equipment over purchasing as renting costs less. There are numerous sources where filmmakers can rent equipment. Follow these steps in order to find the needed equipment for the right price.

1.  Plan ahead

Consider the amount of time and budget available for use with the project. When making a movie, you will need equipment and manpower, both of which cost time and money. When working on a small budget, hiring students or new graduates to play as actors or as part of the crew may be a better option as they are often willing to work for smaller wages in exchange for experience or exposure. Think of where you will do the actual shoot as this can also affect the amount of money you can allocate to renting equipment.

2.  Research

There are a variety of sources for renting film equipment. You can start by searching through Google using the terms "rent film equipment." The US and Canada have companies in each state or region which offer film equipment rentals. When looking for equipment, try to contact your local film commission office or its counterpart in your area. They may be able to provide you with a list of companies that offer services and goods in relation to film production. Another great place to spot good deals on rentals is schools or universities which have their own film departments or programs. These types of educational facilities often have state-of-the art movie or film equipment available for rent. There are also other filmmakers which are knowledgeable and willing to help out. Ask where they rent their film equipment and other supplies. It is also a good way of determining which companies are reputable. An additional alternative is hiring people who already have their own equipment. As you will be getting both the services and the goods, the cost may be cheaper than renting equipment and manpower separately.

3.  Haggle and Compare Rates

Do not go for the first rental company that you come across. Retailers involved with renting cameras and other film equipment will be willing to drop their prices if asked. Some can give as much as a 50% discount, payable with cash, credit card or in installments. Ask numerous rental companies on what they can offer before settling on one.

4.  Check the Contract

Contracts are a good way of knowing what is included with the deal. Read the terms carefully. See if the price includes insurance for the equipment or if the company is requiring you to acquire one before renting.

5.  Check Equipment

Come with your crew at least a day before the shoot to check and test the equipment. It may also be the last time you will get to talk to the retailer prior to starting the shoot. Ask for a contact number in case of emergencies with the rented equipment. Return the equipment in the same condition as it was when it was rented. Expect to pay for additional charges if the retailer finds any damages.