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Does owning a camera help get work?


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#1 Eliott Ward

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Posted 10 August 2006 - 02:54 PM

Hello everybody-

I'm considering buying a camera - making a large investment $20K or so. Have people found that owning a camera contributes to more work?

I'm thinking about a S16 camera - I'm far more interested in feature work than music videos.

Of course in this day and age, perhaps the HVX is the better way to go. I'm certain it would help get me work, but perhaps not the kind of work i want.

Do folks have any thoughts or suggestions.

Thanks,
Elliott

Los Angeles
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#2 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 10 August 2006 - 02:59 PM

It may help, but a certain percentage of the work will be people hoping to get access to a free camera, with you as DP being a secondary issue.

It's always better to invest in expensive equipment to augment a KNOWN business model, i.e. you can accurately predict how much work you will be getting in the near future to know how long it will take for the investment to pay off.

In other words, if you've been shooting a lot of Super-16 lately for indie productions, you could consider buying a Super-16 camera and renting it to the productions that hire you. You'll just have to deal with the fact that a lot of camera rental houses will often cut their rates to get more business, and then you'll have to beat their rates.
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#3 Richard Boddington

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Posted 10 August 2006 - 07:29 PM

I don't think I would buy any gear unless you have the marketing down pat. I know so many guys who bought a Canon XL1, Mac, and FCP, then hung out a sign as a "Video Producer." Only one problem, they had no clue how to get and retain clients, so all of the gear was useless.

Marketing you and your gear is a key to success. Some guys are very good at it and work steadily with their equipment, others fail miserably and end up with a huge loan to pay.

As for how best to market your self, that is a very long thread indeed.

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#4 brooklyn

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Posted 11 August 2006 - 05:38 PM

A major issue in owning your own camera is the constant maintenance and care required to keep the thing running. If you do have even little problems and need repairs etc, you can very often find yourself going backwards. All it takes is one shoot under really harsh conditions and you'll be pulling out every screw and soaking it in CRC, or someone will be charging you an extortionate amount for the privilege . It's often better to establish a good relationship with someone at a rental company and save yourself the trouble.
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#5 Matt Workman

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Posted 11 August 2006 - 08:05 PM

I own a sub-10k camera package and I am glad I bought it. I have shot a feature, music videos, shorts, docs with it. I would not have been able to work without it.

I was looking into a 15k super16 package for a long time, but I have decided against it becuause of the stress of working with "your" equipment. Letting an AC handle my camera is always nerve racking and I shouldn't be distracted with that kind of stuff.

I agree that if you have a forseeable amount of work with the camera it makes sense. Otherwise save your nerves and rent.

Also I when shooting in other states/countries its a pain to lug it around, or feel stupid for renting the same camera in another location.

My 2 cents.
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#6 Wilkin Chau

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Posted 13 August 2006 - 09:55 PM

Hello everybody-

I'm considering buying a camera - making a large investment $20K or so. Have people found that owning a camera contributes to more work?

I'm thinking about a S16 camera - I'm far more interested in feature work than music videos.

Of course in this day and age, perhaps the HVX is the better way to go. I'm certain it would help get me work, but perhaps not the kind of work i want.

Do folks have any thoughts or suggestions.

Thanks,
Elliott

Los Angeles


I think it may get you more work but that's quite the investment. And like David Mullen said before, indie productions will try to hire you but not rent the camera (essentially a kit fee).

I'm beginning to notice more and more (in TO where I'm at) that a lot of indie productions don't pay kit fees or if they do it's like pulling teeth. And they use leverage in that they don't have to hire you. That's how I feel anyway. Productions can say to me "sure I'll hire you but no kit fee. If you don't like it, I'll find someone else". That's why I try not to spend much on equipment, although $2000 or so is a good chunk of cash.

Another issue is that not every shoot is going to use what you have.

IMHO, I don't think you should get the camera.
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Metropolis Post

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Broadcast Solutions Inc

Media Blackout - Custom Cables and AKS