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#1 Michael Collier

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Posted 29 August 2006 - 06:02 PM

I have been aquiring gear for a while since usually its cheaper to own light and gip up here than it is to rent (given the number of productions I do a year)

Soon I will be moving to california. I know there are substantial resources to get just about anything you need. My question is should I keep up my grip/light purchases.

On the pro side its a nice tax deductable item to buy. Also I tend to buy things that are cheap to maintain and I use a lot (IE reflectors, stands, boom arms, tungsten instruments) and rent the more expensive stuff I may only use a couple of days. Also testing days become much cheaper, since all that has to be rented is a camera and lens setup.

On the con side may I loose money, obviously.

So my question. Does it make sense to keep buying stuff and stockpiling it? I usually rent my gear with my work (they are the tools I use most often and were cheap) and I can up my rate a bit by including them (always cheaper than a rental house would be) and I generally make back my money within 2 or 3 productions. Would this same economy apply in california? Or are producers leary of also hiring my gip inventory, opting to go with an established house? I ask because I want to continue buying, I am almost to a 1ton grip truck.

So should I continue, or once I move just leave my package as set up and retire equipment as it becomes worn? I will be selling a bunch of (non-film) stuff when I move and was considering making a purchase with that money, but I am unsure weather I would see a return (I should note I plan on working small independents and student films to start with when I get to california, along with video ENG to fill in time between projects.)
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#2 Brian Wells

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Posted 29 August 2006 - 06:42 PM

I have always taken the position of only buying stuff that's too inconvenient for me to rent. Litepanels is a really useful device, but it's a huge hassle to rent when the closest shop that has one is four hours away. Likewise, nobody rents matte boxes or filters in my area. So, I bought my own complete kit. A future purchase will be a 6x6 Cardellini/Avenger frame because I like the way it folds up... and, because they aren't available for rental in my area. But, if I lived in LA, I would think twice about owning equipment that was easy to rent. It's all a matter of convenience and how much you're willing to pay for the convenience. In my case, I really had no other option. I had to buy the tools of my trade, otherwise I would not have access to them.
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#3 Dan Goulder

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Posted 29 August 2006 - 08:25 PM

Depending upon your volume of work, you may want to consider billing separately for both rentals and services. Just because you own the equipment doesn't mean you can't write it up as a rental.
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#4 Brian Drysdale

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Posted 30 August 2006 - 04:36 AM

You should only buy equipment that you know can make a return on the investment in a reasonable time scale. The equipment you're supplying should always be factored into how much you're charging the client. It's worth owning equipment that you're using all the time, however, if you're shooting with about 5 different video formats in the year chances are it's not worth buying the camera. Although, a MiniDv or HDV camera might be worth while given the rental charges v the purchase cost and you're getting enough work to pay them off quickly.

On the other hand it could be worth buying your own tripod, matte box, filters, monitor, main lights and other accessories, the rental of which could cost as much as the camera itself. That's also the equipment that will effect how efficiently you work.
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