No matter how shiny and high-tech it looks today, there is only one guarantee for your freelance video production gear: It will be old news someday. The eternal question for film crews, production houses, and freelance camera people is whether to rent the latest technology or purchase grip, lighting, and camera equipment outright.
We solved that eternal question—with more questions! After chatting with Pierre Habib of Dunia Rentals, we came up with five things to consider when deciding whether to rent or buy your next piece of gear.
1. Freelance video production gear maintenance comes with a cost.
You can buy great gear and get quality images without having to spend an arm and a leg. But when film equipment is built cheaper, it also has a tendency to get beat up more quickly. Video production is vigorous. Reputable rental companies can provide a replacement if something happens to your gear—a guarantee you may not be able to make yourself.
2. Not all DSLRs are created equally.
Entry-level DSLR cameras depreciate in a couple of years. High-level ones have a much longer shelf life. The camera that starts out filming high-budget films may be more appropriate for indies and TV commercials after a couple of years, but that still gives you time to ride the wave. If you buy something entry level, consider selling before it depreciates completely and using that money to invest in your next piece of gear.
3. Grips are forever…
Grip gear has been the same for the last 100 years and will remain so for the foreseeable future. You may upgrade your camera 35 times before you need a new jib. It maintains its value forever. That said, if you don’t want to haul your stuff around when traveling and spend big bucks checking an extra bag at the airport, you can rent grip gear for about $4 a day versus $130 buying new.
4. …but lighting isn’t.
Speaking of hauling crap around—LED lights are big, bulky and rapidly evolving. Like DSLR cameras, their value depreciates instantly. The second you walk out of the store with a new piece of lighting equipment, there will be something better and cheaper available. Keep this in mind as you determine how to best invest in your freelance video production company.
5. A camera is never just a camera.
Cameras, with all their promise and sparkle, are really fun to buy. But you need a lot more to make a good image. If you can’t afford the accessories, you can’t afford the camera. It’s that simple.
Interested in learning more about the nuances of renting freelance video production gear? So were we. In this article, Habib talks about the business model for traditional equipment rental companies versus renting online.
Enjoying our series on how to invest in your freelance company? With almost three decades in the industry, we have a lot of tips—and connections. Sign yourself up on Crew Connection for free and let our international clients come to you. Want to talk to one of our coordinators? Contact Us here or call us anytime at 303-526-4900.
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