Jump to content


Photo

Rental in United Kingdom rocketing


  • Please log in to reply
14 replies to this topic

#1 Joseph Dudek

Joseph Dudek
  • Basic Members
  • PipPip
  • 30 posts
  • Other
  • United Kingdom

Posted 28 November 2012 - 04:56 PM

Is it just me or is renting a film camera about to get extremely expensive in the UK for amateur filmmakers? I'm not completely aware of all the options in the UK, partly the reason I made this thread, but the main companies who rent with reasonable prices seem to be Arri, Panavision, Movietech and Take2. What made them reasonable was that they had an agreement with Fuji and Technicolor London that when you purchased even a single can of film you would receive a discount of 60% on film cameras and some equipment. Unfortunately, with the steady demise of Fuji's european operations it is stopping this arrangement at some point in early 2013 (taking the avg. price of S16 rental from £512 a week to £1280, based on SR3).

Very disconcerting, especially when you consider that the alternative film quality digital cameras are more expensive to rent.

Any people around this part of the world have any information they can share?

{edit = the site was getting buggy and instructed to refresh, which has appeared to have created numerous topics, my apologies, ADMIN}
  • 0

#2 Alex Birrell

Alex Birrell
  • Basic Members
  • PipPip
  • 55 posts
  • Student
  • London, UK

Posted 28 November 2012 - 06:16 PM

As a film student in the UK I have to say that the situation here is ridiculous. The prices are so excessive and when it comes to film, most companies only offer the latest equipment at the highest prices. In the US for example if you want to shoot 35mm you can rent Arri BL3s or 4s all over the place at a fraction of the cost of the latest Arricam or Panaflex, here in Britain you can't even find such a camera. Prices in the rest of Europe are also much more favourable, have a look at the rental costs at Panavision Alga in Paris or Panavision Belgium and you'll see what I mean. I used to think it was a UK conspiracy to force people to shoot digital but now it just seems like a conspiracy to stop everyone except the largest companies from shooting at all!
  • 0

#3 Phil Rhodes

Phil Rhodes
  • Sustaining Members
  • 11937 posts
  • Other

Posted 28 November 2012 - 07:33 PM

It has ever been thus.


The most hardline film purists are almost invariably people who don't have to deal with the downsides anyway - big-name DPs who neither know nor care what any of this stuff costs. It's a little difficult to stomach being told how to do one's job by people who wouldn't have any idea how to operate on a small UK shoot without the massive support that goes without saying in Los Angeles.

Even more than that, it has always been enormously cheaper to shoot film there, if only because of the scale of things - it's easier to do giveaway deals if your basic level of normal trade is as enormous as it invariably is outside the UK. As regards stock, for more or less the entire time I've been aware of the concept there has been effectively no availability of short ends in London, especially 16mm (I gave up checking two or three years ago). There simply aren't the productions shooting film to create them. Add to that the fact of much, much lower taxation in the US, and I don't think it's excessive to estimate that shooting film costs at least twice here what it does in the states, and this is not a new situation.

If you look through the history of this forum you will invariably find that the people who are the most vocal advocates of film are invariably:

a) Not the people who pay for it, and
B) American.

P
  • 0

#4 Joseph Dudek

Joseph Dudek
  • Basic Members
  • PipPip
  • 30 posts
  • Other
  • United Kingdom

Posted 29 November 2012 - 07:55 AM

It has ever been thus.


The most hardline film purists are almost invariably people who don't have to deal with the downsides anyway - big-name DPs who neither know nor care what any of this stuff costs. It's a little difficult to stomach being told how to do one's job by people who wouldn't have any idea how to operate on a small UK shoot without the massive support that goes without saying in Los Angeles.

Even more than that, it has always been enormously cheaper to shoot film there, if only because of the scale of things - it's easier to do giveaway deals if your basic level of normal trade is as enormous as it invariably is outside the UK. As regards stock, for more or less the entire time I've been aware of the concept there has been effectively no availability of short ends in London, especially 16mm (I gave up checking two or three years ago). There simply aren't the productions shooting film to create them. Add to that the fact of much, much lower taxation in the US, and I don't think it's excessive to estimate that shooting film costs at least twice here what it does in the states, and this is not a new situation.

If you look through the history of this forum you will invariably find that the people who are the most vocal advocates of film are invariably:

a) Not the people who pay for it, and
B) American.

P


Whether or not that is true, film is still the best technology in regard of quality. I don't believe that makes me a film purist, it is just reality - I'm not one of these film enthusiasts who believes digital projection, DI's and CGI is the death of cinema.
It's not as though renting a high-end digital camera is a cheaper alternative either. When you mount up the costs of all the auxiliary memory, it is actually, price wise, fairly even when compared to S16 - in the UK - in most other notable film producing countries S16 would be a cheaper alternative to high-end digi. At least from what I've seen on foreign prices.

@Alex, I agree with your sentiments. The rental prices, whether digital or film, are ridiculous. It was only a year or so ago that every pomp in the BBC was talking about the revival of the UK film industry, that not since the 60s' have British films been of such quality and popularity. Well that may be true for those already established, but where is the UK independent film industry? It's fine having films like the King's Speech which the government institutes throw money and appraise at, that appeals the American Anglophiles who like pomposity of it, but what about the generation that is to replace the current? Are they expected to make films with unsatisfactory cameras intended for documentaries, making painful, overdone kitchen-sink dramas because that's about as much as the affordable formats will allow. There are no low-budget options for rental, the only affordable way to get your hands on professional film equipment is to work your way through the ranks of the film industry & studios, which are almost exclusively in or around London & the South East. Which are highly sought after jobs.

When you compare the UK independent industry to that of the States or France it leaves a lot to be desired. There is nothing wrong with making films which are profitable and appeal to tourists, but if you are to have a serious and thriving industry you need to look all stages of film-making, everyone is a indie film-maker at one point, unless you rise through the ranks. Simple things like dropping the price of rental would make a massive difference and probably pay itself back due to the number of quality films being cheaply made. Though I don't profess to know how such a drop in price can happen, the reason for prices being so high is most likely a complex economic combination of high taxation, welfare state and low demand.
The staidness of this country drives me half-mad sometimes.

Rant over.
  • 0

#5 Stephen Murphy

Stephen Murphy
  • Guests

Posted 29 November 2012 - 10:20 AM

My experiences have been very different. I've done several low budget jobs on film this year and the camera packages were always incredibly cheap. Both Fuji and Kodak offer package deals with the major rental companies for shooting S16mm and 2 perf 35mm, but even outside of that Ive found all of the rental comapneis very keen to support low budget film production in the UK.
Having said that you have to use some common sense and choose how you approach the companies and be flexiable with what you're asking for depending on whats available at that point in the year. This year for example almost all the major features shooting in the UK (and there were dozens) shot film, mostly 35mm anamorphic, so if for example you had asked for a 35mm anamorphic package for a low budget promo you might find the discount isnt as big as you'd like, or even available at all. If however, you asked for a S16mm package during the winter season when it was a bit quieter i can promise you it'd be a lot easier to rent and you'd get a far healthier discount on certain items. Panavision have a massive catalogue of older 35mm cameras that you could ask for (like a G2 or even a moviecam compact) but in my experience they've always tried to give me the newest kit available even when im only paying G2 rates if its within their power to do so. A lot of the deals you get will depend greatly on your relationship with the rental company in question too - it helps if you've met these guys before so they have a face to put to the name. You cant blame a rental comapny for not giving you a 90% discount the first time you call them up. Get to know them, show them that youre keen to build a relationship with them. They want you to shoot film and they want to meet new customers. Ignore the "online" rate card prices - no one pays those - call them up, ask if you could come in and meet one of their reps when they have a spare minute and discuss your projects needs with them and see what they can offer. Dont expect the newest toys for nothing but if youre reasonable with what youre askign and offering they will always do their best to try and help out whenever they can.
  • 0

#6 Phil Rhodes

Phil Rhodes
  • Sustaining Members
  • 11937 posts
  • Other

Posted 30 November 2012 - 06:09 AM

The problem is that it becomes a sort of chicken-and-egg situation. I'm a nobody, and I have no idea why anyone would ever want to give me a deal. I wouldn't give me a deal. There are thousands of people like me running around in this situation and the overwhelming majority of them aren't going anywhere (kickstarter notwithstanding), so you're never going to give them a discount. On that basis I will never have the opportunity to build any form of relationship with a rental place because I use them so rarely. If you are already an established and successful director of photography, great, I'm sure it works really well, but it is something of a closed shop otherwise.

In any case, my interest is not so much in camera gear - when most of the stuff I do can happily be shot on a 5D or similar - as it is in lighting and grip. And nobody's ever going to give you a break on that stuff.

P
  • 0

#7 Freya Black

Freya Black
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 4161 posts
  • Other
  • Went over the edge... Central Europe

Posted 30 November 2012 - 02:05 PM

.

the reason for prices being so high is most likely a complex economic combination of high taxation, welfare state and low demand.


This bit seems slightly bonkers. Taxation is generally higher in France than in the UK. The idea that the welfare state has much of an effect on camera rental prices is, well, quite weird. Low demand would probably lead to a fall in prices, according to the idea of supply and demand economics.

Think you just got a bit carried away there. I do think you have a valid point about Fuji having been a strong supporter of film-making in the UK and that the loss of Fuji here, is very much not a positive thing as they have been the driving force for needed changes in the way business has been done here in the UK, so there you are onto something...tho I don't think we can assume the conclusions you have reached about the future.

love

Freya
  • 0

#8 Bill DiPietra

Bill DiPietra
  • Sustaining Members
  • 2339 posts
  • Cinematographer
  • New York City

Posted 30 November 2012 - 02:39 PM

If you look through the history of this forum you will invariably find that the people who are the most vocal advocates of film are invariably:

a) Not the people who pay for it, and
B) American.

P


Phil,

You and everyone else in this forum know my views on film. And every penny I've spent on it has always come out of my own pocket. But you are correct in that there a decent amount of deals over here in the U.S., whether they be between student discounts or camera rental/film stock package deals.
  • 0

#9 Joseph Dudek

Joseph Dudek
  • Basic Members
  • PipPip
  • 30 posts
  • Other
  • United Kingdom

Posted 30 November 2012 - 03:08 PM

.

This bit seems slightly bonkers. Taxation is generally higher in France than in the UK. The idea that the welfare state has much of an effect on camera rental prices is, well, quite weird. Low demand would probably lead to a fall in prices, according to the idea of supply and demand economics.

Think you just got a bit carried away there. I do think you have a valid point about Fuji having been a strong supporter of film-making in the UK and that the loss of Fuji here, is very much not a positive thing as they have been the driving force for needed changes in the way business has been done here in the UK, so there you are onto something...tho I don't think we can assume the conclusions you have reached about the future.

love

Freya


I wouldn't look into it that much; it was written as tongue-in-cheek as I thought was implied when I signed off with 'Rant Over'. Perhaps I came off a bit Daily Mail. Though there are some odd paradoxes in the UK when it comes to pricing. When you consider all the elements to how price is calculated then a relationship between government spending (in turn taxation) and consumer, even rental, prices does exist. I'm not knowledgeable as to the differences in taxation between the UK & France, but you say France has higher taxation then the UK (corporate tax you are referring?), and another poster mentioned that rental prices in France are much cheaper. It would take a much smarter person than me to understand why this would be, but I do know that companies as successful as Arri & Panavision aren't in the habit of making pointless obtuse prices for their products - there must be a economic reason for such a difference in price between the two countries of similarly unfavourable economic climates. High damage rate? Land prices? Taxation? Transport costs? High labour costs? Your guess is as good as mine; we are not economists after all.

As for conclusions about the future - I don't believe I made any. I was only trying to outline the unenviable situation many aspiring cinematographers/film-makers in the UK find themselves in and I can only attest to my own experiences - but from the posts, I am clearly not alone. I didn't start the thread just so I could whine on about it, if anyone knows any alternatives to the high rental prices I'm more than willing to listen.

Edited by Joseph Dudek, 30 November 2012 - 03:10 PM.

  • 0

#10 Freya Black

Freya Black
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 4161 posts
  • Other
  • Went over the edge... Central Europe

Posted 30 November 2012 - 03:12 PM

My experiences have been very different. I've done several low budget jobs on film this year and the camera packages were always incredibly cheap. Both Fuji and Kodak offer package deals with the major rental companies for shooting S16mm and 2 perf 35mm, but even outside of that Ive found all of the rental comapneis very keen to support low budget film production in the UK.


To be fair tho, it's always been Fuji leading these deals. Kodak didn't put anything in place until after Fuji had. In this way it was Fuji that were the positive driving force behined the package deals. Of course it's possible to arrange your own package deals I'm sure, as people have always done.

A lot of the deals you get will depend greatly on your relationship with the rental company in question too - it helps if you've met these guys before so they have a face to put to the name. You cant blame a rental comapny for not giving you a 90% discount the first time you call them up. Get to know them, show them that youre keen to build a relationship with them. They want you to shoot film and they want to meet new customers. Ignore the "online" rate card prices - no one pays those - call them up, ask if you could come in and meet one of their reps when they have a spare minute and discuss your projects needs with them and see what they can offer. Dont expect the newest toys for nothing but if youre reasonable with what youre askign and offering they will always do their best to try and help out whenever they can.


I think this is spot on! The trouble becomes if they aren't interested in building a relationship with you, not perhaps for the more rational reasons that Phil suggests, but because of the judgements they made about you based on whatever they have going on it their head. Theres nothing you can really do about this sort of thing. It's strange how some companies seem more prone to this sort of thing than others. Jerry at Fuji for example always seemed to be massively supportive to whoever came his way and took an interest. Fantastic! The same however can not be said about other companies and some companies seem to take it even further and seem to embrace the lemming approach to business relationships.

This isn't just limited to film companies either. I noticed one major technology company that makes great products seemed to spend the entirety of BVE North hiding from people. (Not an exaggeration)

I think you kind of have to do the same. Meet up with these people, find out who is actually interested in doing business with you, and focus your attention there!

love

Freya
  • 0

#11 Stephen Murphy

Stephen Murphy
  • Guests

Posted 30 November 2012 - 03:22 PM

The problem is that it becomes a sort of chicken-and-egg situation. I'm a nobody, and I have no idea why anyone would ever want to give me a deal. I wouldn't give me a deal. There are thousands of people like me running around in this situation and the overwhelming majority of them aren't going anywhere (kickstarter notwithstanding), so you're never going to give them a discount.

P


Yes but most of those people you refer to ring the rental companies, or worse yet email them, and in a misguided effort to try and look professional, ask (or in many cases demand) the latest cameras/grip/lenses - ive seen this happen dozens of times. They have a terrible attitude and EXPECT a discount instead of having a little humility and asking for some help with the rates. Anyone who speaks to you for more then 5 minutes knows you're not like that so you've got an advantage straight away. You might not be shooting the latest bond movie but you are a paying client and you're not asking for the newest stuff so why wouldn't they want to do business with you? Trust me Phil they want your business. They want you to come in to look at their stuff and they want to impress you with their kit and their service, even if you're only renting a few bits of grip kit this time because next time you could be renting a slightly bigger camera package. Same goes for lights, at least in my experience with Panalux.
  • 0

#12 Freya Black

Freya Black
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 4161 posts
  • Other
  • Went over the edge... Central Europe

Posted 30 November 2012 - 03:23 PM

I wouldn't look into it that much; it was written as tongue-in-cheek as I thought was implied when I signed off with 'Rant Over'.


I thought you were just getting a bit carried away! ;)

As for conclusions about the future - I don't believe I made any.


I think you will find you did! ;)

You predicted that rental rates would sky rocket when Fuji went away, (the very title!) but of course we don't know that for sure.

It could be that Kodak will come to their senses and make a grab for new business (okay not that likely) or the fall in demand for film cameras will lead to cheaper deals. I can see why you would come to that conclusion based on the discounts you have now, but you can't know for sure if there will be newer deals and newer discounts in the future, at least as regards rental pricing.

I was only trying to outline the unenviable situation many aspiring cinematographers/film-makers in the UK find themselves in and I can only attest to my own experiences - but from the posts, I am clearly not alone. I didn't start the thread just so I could whine


Nah I could relate to that bit, overall your posts in this thread were an interesting mixture of good point, and WTF! ;)

on about it, if anyone knows any alternatives to the high rental prices I'm more than willing to listen.


I may be selling an eclair NPR in the new year if you are looking for a 16mm sync camera?

love

Freya

Edited by Freya Black, 30 November 2012 - 03:25 PM.

  • 0

#13 Freya Black

Freya Black
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 4161 posts
  • Other
  • Went over the edge... Central Europe

Posted 30 November 2012 - 03:55 PM

want to impress you with their kit and their service, even if you're only renting a few bits of grip kit this time because next time you could be renting a slightly bigger camera package. Same goes for lights, at least in my experience with Panalux.


I take it you've had a good experience with Panalux in particular! :)

It's strange to say it, because we aren't really led to think of things in this way but I think you just need to have a chat with a few rental companies and see who you get on with! In fact I actually ran into Guy Thatcher recently and got to chatting to him based on your recommendation Phil and definitely got a positive impression. :)

Basically I think it's also about who is right for you. I realise that kind of thinking has all kinds of implications because in some ways it's more restrictive than the candy store model we like to think and talk about things in, but it's just a much more pragmatic way of dealing with things in the reality of the situation in the UK.

love

Freya
  • 0

#14 Joseph Dudek

Joseph Dudek
  • Basic Members
  • PipPip
  • 30 posts
  • Other
  • United Kingdom

Posted 30 November 2012 - 04:09 PM

@Freya: Ah, I thought you were referring to the post you quoted, but to be fair to the original post - I posed a question about rental prices, not a fact, then went on to outline that I was unaware of all the options, implying I was looking for help in reaching such a conclusion. Apologies if you have interpreted my concerns as trying to be matter of fact, I could see how the topic title could have implied so (perhaps a question mark was needed), but if you read my posts it is quite clear I didn't intend it to be that way.

Anyway.
Currently, the conclusion which you thought I had arrived at is on course to be true, unless, like you stated, Kodak introduces a similar deal. Which we all hope they will. Overall, we can at least agree, that there is a severe amount of ambiguity over an already unfavourable situation.

NPR: thank you for mentioning it, I will certainly keep that in mind for the future. Assuming the rental prices go the way we hope they won't, buying a 16mm camera and converting it may be the cheaper & more efficient way to shoot S16.

Yes but most of those people you refer to ring the rental companies, or worse yet email them, and in a misguided effort to try and look professional, ask (or in many cases demand) the latest cameras/grip/lenses - ive seen this happen dozens of times. They have a terrible attitude and EXPECT a discount instead of having a little humility and asking for some help with the rates. Anyone who speaks to you for more then 5 minutes knows you're not like that so you've got an advantage straight away. You might not be shooting the latest bond movie but you are a paying client and you're not asking for the newest stuff so why wouldn't they want to do business with you? Trust me Phil they want your business. They want you to come in to look at their stuff and they want to impress you with their kit and their service, even if you're only renting a few bits of grip kit this time because next time you could be renting a slightly bigger camera package. Same goes for lights, at least in my experience with Panalux.


I will first state that I have not yet received a response from Panavision & Arri regarding their policies on renting to unaffiliated amateurs, so I cannot chastise them on that.

From the research I have done and from your post it seems that a lot of the more acceptable rates are dependant on building a relationship with these companies on the basis of honesty, which is fair. But looking at their site, you would have no reason to come to that conclusion. Their enquiry forms alone require you to state company affiliations and places like TakeTwo require industry vouches. Their catalogues state explicit prices (which are high), so you can forgive individuals for not feeling valued as potential customers. You mention 'going in' and meeting representatives of these companies, which is fine if you live anywhere near their offices - but for everyone else outside of their range, such a relationship would need to be established through phone and email out of circumstance. Good customer service and the requirement for customers to be humble, while fair in this situation, are not necessarily compatible; so I can understand why it might not be the first thing to run through people's minds to approach them this way, after all, an amateur money is as good as a professionals.
Thanks for the responses Phil, very helpful in my understanding of how to successfully approach these companies.

Edited by Joseph Dudek, 30 November 2012 - 04:12 PM.

  • 0

#15 Freya Black

Freya Black
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 4161 posts
  • Other
  • Went over the edge... Central Europe

Posted 30 November 2012 - 04:43 PM

Anyway.
Currently, the conclusion which you thought I had arrived at is on course to be true, unless, like you stated, Kodak introduces a
similar deal. Which we all hope they will. Overall, we can at least agree, that there is a severe amount of ambiguity over an already unfavourable situation.

I think the situation can only be considered ambiguous at the moment for the reasons I stated. I also seem to remember that Kodak also has a complete16 style package deal that they launched in response to the Fuji deal. So I think there are other options out there.

NPR: thank you for mentioning it, I will certainly keep that in mind for the future. Assuming the rental prices go the way we hope they won't, buying a 16mm camera and converting it may be the cheaper & more efficient way to shoot S16.


The NPR is the 16mm camera with the cheapest S16 conversions. You can get a PL mount included in the price of conversion too so it's a nice option.

You mention 'going in' and meeting representatives of these companies, which is fine if you live anywhere near their offices - but for everyone else outside of their range, such a relationship would need to be established through phone and email out of circumstance.

You could make a one off trip. How far out of the way are you?

love

Freya
  • 0


Media Blackout - Custom Cables and AKS

CineTape

Wooden Camera

Gamma Ray Digital Inc

Technodolly

Aerial Filmworks

Tai Audio

FJS International, LLC

The Slider

Opal

Visual Products

rebotnix Technologies

Willys Widgets

Abel Cine

Metropolis Post

Ritter Battery

CineLab

Broadcast Solutions Inc

Paralinx LLC

Rig Wheels Passport

Glidecam

CineLab

Opal

Abel Cine

Aerial Filmworks

FJS International, LLC

Ritter Battery

Tai Audio

Technodolly

Broadcast Solutions Inc

Willys Widgets

Wooden Camera

rebotnix Technologies

Metropolis Post

The Slider

Glidecam

Paralinx LLC

Media Blackout - Custom Cables and AKS

CineTape

Visual Products

Gamma Ray Digital Inc

Rig Wheels Passport