When you’re on a major, professional video production, you have to make sure that you have the right equipment for the job. The problem? Equipment can get expensive. Should you buy your equipment outright, or should you consider renting it?
In today’s world, the demand for high-quality video production has never been higher. Clients want something sleek and sophisticated to go with their brand. While there are pros and cons of both purchasing and renting equipment, it ultimately boils down to what kinds of videos you’re making and what kind of needs you have for those videos.
Maybe you need something basic for a studio shoot or something more elaborate for shooting on location. Maybe you have a limited budget. If you’re shooting on location, maybe you’re doing a destination shoot. Maybe you’re shooting something that’s going to require a lot of special effects in the post. These are all things you need to consider when deciding whether renting equipment is for you or you want to invest in purchasing equipment.
Keep reading to learn more about the benefits of renting camera equipment for your next film or photography project:
Easy Access to New Equipment
One reason you should consider renting your equipment is that you can have access to the latest and greatest and most likely pay a fraction of the price. If you’re looking for that latest state-of-the-art camera or some other new piece of equipment, you can rent it and have it at your fingertips without having to shell out a ton of money for it.
If you’re purchasing new equipment, that’s great, but it can be costly and you’re most likely going to want to upgrade your equipment in a couple of years as technology evolves. Renting also allows you to try things out ahead of time before sinking money into a purchase. Not to mention, if you do purchase equipment, depending on your budget, you’ll have to cut corners somewhere, making your production less than what it should be.
If you work on a large range of projects, you would need a large range of equipment. This is incredibly expensive and probably not going to be worth your expense if you only use certain pieces of equipment occasionally. Renting provides the flexibility of getting equipment for whatever project you might be working on without the need to purchase pieces of gear that you might only ever use once.
If you do decide to rent, there are plenty of rental houses that are willing to show you how to use the gear and answer any questions you may have. They also take care of any maintenance of the equipment, meaning that even though you’ll take care of it when you’re renting it, you don’t have to worry about regular upkeep on the equipment.
Keep Control of Your Costs
There are several ways that renting can help you keep your costs under control:
It Reduces Your Overhead
With all of the different kinds of equipment you need for a shoot, including cameras, tripods, lights, lenses, and the like, there are a lot of costs that can add up and leave you with a huge bill. The problem is that to get exactly what you’re looking for in your production, you need to make sure you have the right gear to do the job.
Renting this equipment is a budget-friendly way to accomplish this. You also get to rent equipment for just as long as you need it. You don’t have to spend a fortune on something that you might only need for a short period.
It Cuts Back on Your Storage Needs
If you own your equipment, you need a place to store it. That can be costly and take up the space you need for things like sets and work areas. Renting your equipment means you have more room for the things you need and can save on storage space.
Your Insurance Will Cost Less
Most rental houses require that you also pay for insurance for your rental. While this is an extra expense, it’s still a cheaper option than paying for your own insurance for your equipment.
You Don’t Have To Worry About Maintenance
As we previously stated, since the rental house is in charge of maintenance, you don’t have to worry about the regular costs that come with it. If the camera breaks or becomes run down from normal wear and tear, you don’t have to worry about the cost. The rental company will take care of that, saving you money in the process.
Charge Your Client More
Another great reason to rent is that you don’t have to pay for it out of your own pocket. As part of the fee that you charge your client, you can build in the cost of equipment rental and have it be on your client’s dime instead of your own.
Under the 179 IRS tax code, renting equipment for your project is 100% tax deductible as an operational expense. We do recommend checking with your accountant on this one. Tax codes tend to change from time to time, so it’s worth double-checking.
It Can Save Money in the Long Run
Sure, the idea of buying your own equipment sounds great, but with changes in technology and trends, it can be costly and hard to keep up to date.
If you want to know how renting saves you money, do this thought experiment: think of a camera you would buy that could become outdated within a year, and then think of how many camera rentals you can afford with that same amount of money – and you’d be able to keep up with the latest and greatest in the process!
Makes It Easy To Travel
Renting is also a great option if you’re planning on doing a destination shoot, instead of dealing with the hassle of getting special permits and possibly running into issues in the process. If there’s a hold-up with customs, it can cost you time and money that eats into your production schedule.
It’s recommended that you check out the rental options in the areas you’re planning on filming in. You can save yourself some money by not having to pay to ship everything, and potentially save yourself a headache in the process.
You Can Rent Anything
Rental houses let you rent just about anything you need for production. Some of the most rented items include:
- Camera packages
- High-end cameras
- Grip supplies
- Production gear
- Lighting kits
- Specialty lenses
- Heavy-duty dolly mounts for large cameras
- Audio equipment
We recommend that before every shoot you check your equipment just to make sure it’s all working as it should be. This is also a good way to prevent being charged for damages done to the equipment.
Rentals are Easy
Renting equipment is pretty easy, and there are several ways you can do it. You can either go to a professional rental house in person and rent whatever equipment you need, or you can go online and rent equipment that way. There are many websites where you can rent equipment, including several professional rental houses. Even Craigslist will offer equipment rentals.
An in-person rental shop is a good way to get hands-on with the equipment before you rent it, and typically has staff who can show you how to use the equipment. Online can be less expensive but also doesn’t let you get hands-on. Many online rental companies offer video tutorials to show you how to use the equipment you’re about to rent, so you’re not left to fend for yourself when learning how to use it.
Renting equipment can keep costs down while working on different projects with different equipment needs. We recommend that you purchase some of the basics that you’ll use on most shoots, and then rent whatever you need based on the needs of each production. This way, you can achieve the best quality while only spending a fraction of the money.
What You Should Do When Renting
When it’s time for you to rent equipment, take a look at your production schedule to figure out what you need and when. This saves you money because you’re only renting equipment for the days it will actually be used, and it’s not just sitting around costing you money for rental days when it won’t be used. If you’re not sure about a piece of gear before you reserve it for rental, do your research first. Google is your friend in a situation like this.
Make sure you allow time for a learning curve to get the hang of the equipment if you’re not super familiar with it. Also, be sure to shop around for the best prices on the best gear before committing to renting something. Someone might have the same camera for less money or have it as part of a full kit you can rent and potentially save you money on other things you might need to rent.
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