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#1 Ben Matthews

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Posted 03 March 2015 - 07:22 AM

Hi to all, 

 

I am in the throes of setting up my own rental company to run along side my production company. I will be directing my first feature through Jan/Feb 2016 and the thought behind the rental company is to give support to this shoot and any future productions of my own, but first and foremost to create a turnover and return from the equipment resource hire, and of course the hope or a profit.

 

I already have in my mind what cameras I will inverts money in for the rental company, but with regard to lenses I have a clear vision of the look I want from my film where I will be combining Arri Alexa and Cooke S4i or possibly Cooke Anamorphic's (if they are ready in time). So some of the budget for equipment investment is already in those lenses and both will be available to go out on hire through the rental company. 

 

My question to all here is if you were in my position what would you invest your money in with regards to lenses, heads, tripods, etc?

Most in particularly lens manufactures and sizes? (I know what most of you will say) "Its really comes down to the DP using them or personal preference". So I'm not really looking for a definitive answer, but more of a calculated safe bet or ball park really.

 

I hope you will be kind enough to share with me your thought, thank you for reading. 

 

Many Thanks

 

Ben Matthews


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#2 Phil Rhodes

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Posted 03 March 2015 - 09:56 AM

if you were in my position what would you invest your money in with regards to lenses, heads, tripods, etc?

 

In the UK, I wouldn't.

 

P


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#3 Tyler Purcell

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Posted 03 March 2015 - 04:27 PM

Heck, here in So Cal I wouldn't either. 

 

You've gotta offer a very unique service that nobody else does and renting Alexa's and Cooke lenses… that's plain out normal stuff. 

 

The most successful shop I know focuses on cheap rentals, blackmagic camera's and stuff for low-budget productions. Instead of spending a half a million on two bodies and a few lens kits, they spent quarter of a million and got 15 camera bodies and more-than 50 lens options. They're constantly booked, they never have anything in-house because their prices are good. 

 

The best way to start a rental business is to acquire one which is going out of business, then add some flair to keep it in business. Maybe move or down-size so it's not as big. 

 

Finally… owning equipment for feature productions isn't smart because every DP you hire, will want to use what they want and not necessarily what you have. It's one thing if you're a DP and you're building a kit for smaller productions. But even those guys, tend to rent on bigger shows. 


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#4 Bill DiPietra

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Posted 03 March 2015 - 08:25 PM

Hi to all, 

 

I am in the throes of setting up my own rental company to run along side my production company. I will be directing my first feature through Jan/Feb 2016 and the thought behind the rental company is to give support to this shoot and any future productions of my own, but first and foremost to create a turnover and return from the equipment resource hire, and of course the hope or a profit.

 

I already have in my mind what cameras I will inverts money in for the rental company, but with regard to lenses I have a clear vision of the look I want from my film where I will be combining Arri Alexa and Cooke S4i or possibly Cooke Anamorphic's (if they are ready in time). So some of the budget for equipment investment is already in those lenses and both will be available to go out on hire through the rental company. 

 

My question to all here is if you were in my position what would you invest your money in with regards to lenses, heads, tripods, etc?

Most in particularly lens manufactures and sizes? (I know what most of you will say) "Its really comes down to the DP using them or personal preference". So I'm not really looking for a definitive answer, but more of a calculated safe bet or ball park really.

 

I hope you will be kind enough to share with me your thought, thank you for reading. 

 

Many Thanks

 

Ben Matthews

 

Hi Ben.

 

I'm in a similar situation in that I am in the final stages of setting up a rental company.  My production company has been set up for years, but now, like you, I'd like to try to turn a profit.

 

Since the camera realm is ever-changing, I have focused on renting out grip & lighting equipment.  I'm aiming at renting to thesis students and low-budget indie filmmakers.  I never really purchase any equipment that I wouldn't use myself and I'm trying to keep my prices lower than the cheapest game in town.  So that's my advice to you.  We'll see how it goes.


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#5 Phil Rhodes

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Posted 03 March 2015 - 08:40 PM

Since the camera realm is ever-changing, I have focused on renting out grip & lighting equipment.

 

Couldn't agree more.


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#6 Stuart Brereton

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Posted 04 March 2015 - 12:19 AM

If you're setting up shop in Bristol, you're up against two established companies, who between them have most of the market tied up.

 

That said, if you're buying glass, then the obvious choice is Ultra Primes. S4i s will cost about the same, but last I heard there was a significant waiting list for them. Master Primes or Leica Summilux are too expensive for all but the richest productions. You should also have a budget option, so Zeiss Superspeeds or Standards would be a good choice.

 

Tripods and heads should be Ronford Baker sticks with O'Connor heads, with maybe some smaller Sachtler heads for lower budget shows.

 

I would echo other's sentiments and say concentrate on G&E.


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#7 Ben Matthews

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Posted 04 March 2015 - 04:44 AM

If you're setting up shop in Bristol, you're up against two established companies, who between them have most of the market tied up.

 

That said, if you're buying glass, then the obvious choice is Ultra Primes. S4i s will cost about the same, but last I heard there was a significant waiting list for them. Master Primes or Leica Summilux are too expensive for all but the richest productions. You should also have a budget option, so Zeiss Superspeeds or Standards would be a good choice.

 

Tripods and heads should be Ronford Baker sticks with O'Connor heads, with maybe some smaller Sachtler heads for lower budget shows.

 

I would echo other's sentiments and say concentrate on G&E.

Thanks for your reply,

 

Our offices are near Uxbridge close to Pinewood, for logistical reasons. Bristol doesn't have a big enough market to be sustainable, plus as you have touched on, what market there is in Bristol are well saturated with the existing rental companies.

We are in contact with both Arri and Cooke and with regard to there lead time on lenses, its very reasonable. Within 3-6 months on both.

With regard to camera bodies, we have contracts in place for productions which demand both Arri and Red so they are relatively covered.

 

I really do want to support the more independent film makers as some of the people one here have said. We are working on a project with some universities to run a scheme where students will get filming time with Arri and Red, and there is a possibility of running a competition where the students will compete to get the chance to shoot a short on industry standard equipment. They will also get the chance to visit a live studio set and a get some advice from industry professional before the develop and shoot there own short. This is difficult to put together but the signs are very promising and it seems to gather more support every day. So there is a lot of hope we will start this next year. Thank you for your advice on Lenses, Zeiss supperspeeds do look like a good option for lower budget.

 

Ben 


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#8 Ben Matthews

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Posted 04 March 2015 - 05:02 AM

 

Hi Ben.

 

I'm in a similar situation in that I am in the final stages of setting up a rental company.  My production company has been set up for years, but now, like you, I'd like to try to turn a profit.

 

Since the camera realm is ever-changing, I have focused on renting out grip & lighting equipment.  I'm aiming at renting to thesis students and low-budget indie filmmakers.  I never really purchase any equipment that I wouldn't use myself and I'm trying to keep my prices lower than the cheapest game in town.  So that's my advice to you.  We'll see how it goes.

Thanks for the advice,

 

Lighting is something we are looking into. We have had some reasonable quotes on lighting allowing us to keep or prices low and a health margin. So its a route we want to go down.

What are your thoughts on steady cams such as DJI Ronin and the movi systems? I know there is a big price difference between the two but difference in usability between them is marginal. Rental cost on Ronin a lot lower than Movi due to cost.

 

Ben


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#9 Phil Rhodes

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Posted 04 March 2015 - 05:18 AM

One thing you can do for indies and students is to package in affordable insurance and generally make it easy.

 

P


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#10 Ben Matthews

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Posted 04 March 2015 - 05:21 AM

 

In the UK, I wouldn't.

 

P

You sound like Thatcher...

 

If everyone in the UK had the attitude that we have nothing to offer then we would be in a worse state than we are now.

 

The British Film and Television industry is growing year on year with new investors and more money for productions due to investment from home and overseas. In fact it couldn't be a better time to put a footing in the industry here as it will only get stronger and far too competitive for start up companies in the future.

 

So go and get yourself a Union Jack, give it a good old wave and give a bit of support.

 

Ben


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#11 Ben Matthews

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Posted 04 March 2015 - 05:33 AM

One thing you can do for indies and students is to package in affordable insurance and generally make it easy.

 

P

Thats more like it.

 

We have a very good package put together. It was one of the first things we looked into as one of my investors is a high-street insurance company. We worked together to find out what competitors we offering and in which way we could undercut them. Your market research is your best ally!

 

Ben


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#12 Phil Rhodes

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Posted 04 March 2015 - 05:35 AM

Yaaaaay.

 

fluk.jpg


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#13 Ben Matthews

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Posted 04 March 2015 - 05:59 AM

Yaaaaay.

 

fluk.jpg

 

Very good, thats the spirit.


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#14 Bill DiPietra

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Posted 04 March 2015 - 08:50 AM

Yaaaaay.

 

fluk.jpg

 

LOL...Phil, you are hysterical.


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#15 John E Clark

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Posted 04 March 2015 - 12:40 PM

Yaaaaay.

 

fluk.jpg

 

Hey, well after last years vote in Scotland you can still have a flag with St. Andrew's Cross in it...


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#16 Phil Rhodes

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Posted 04 March 2015 - 12:45 PM

One more serious thought.

 

Consider renting out something other than Arri, Kino-Flo, or whatever brand. If I want price-no-object lights, there's a dozen places I can go. If I were instead to want one of those Chinese knockoff HMIs, which should be something like a third of the price to buy and therefore to rent, I can't actually hire one. Anywhere. It's just not an option. Nobody does it. I can rent Arri and probably Mole fresnels. I can't get anything else.

 

Not necessarily saying you should particularly aim to create a poor quality rental fleet, and there's the everpresent problem of perception, but it does make sense in a sheer fiscal sense. After all, if I buy a no-name and it breaks, I'm screwed. If I rent one, you send me another one, and you fix it.

 

P


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#17 Mark Dunn

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Posted 04 March 2015 - 12:49 PM

 

Hey, well after last years vote in Scotland you can still have a flag with St. Andrew's Cross in it...

We'd have kept that. It isn't the separatists' personal property.


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#18 Ben Matthews

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Posted 04 March 2015 - 01:17 PM

One more serious thought.

 

Consider renting out something other than Arri, Kino-Flo, or whatever brand. If I want price-no-object lights, there's a dozen places I can go. If I were instead to want one of those Chinese knockoff HMIs, which should be something like a third of the price to buy and therefore to rent, I can't actually hire one. Anywhere. It's just not an option. Nobody does it. I can rent Arri and probably Mole fresnels. I can't get anything else.

 

Not necessarily saying you should particularly aim to create a poor quality rental fleet, and there's the everpresent problem of perception, but it does make sense in a sheer fiscal sense. After all, if I buy a no-name and it breaks, I'm screwed. If I rent one, you send me another one, and you fix it.

 

P

Thats interesting, I will look into some low cost lighting. With our costs from vendor being so low we would be pricing rental costs at pretty much low budget lighting prices. So we would be able to encourage low budget indies/student to have top end lighting. 


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#19 Guillaume Cottin

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Posted 04 March 2015 - 07:35 PM

Yeah but... if you rent the cheaper versions of these lights expect no support from vendors, no spare parts, frequent defective units, or units that break during production (but the evil part is... you can charge for that hahahah!!!), lots of problems.
These lights are meant to be owned by a person, whereas rental gear gets used and abused... there's a good reason why rental companies stay away from these sub-standard products. I am not saying the Arri and Kinoflo are not overpriced. But on the long term, what's really more expensive?
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#20 Guillaume Cottin

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Posted 04 March 2015 - 07:41 PM

I'd say invest in the IT, rental management, website (on-line ordering), and flexible and included insurance.
Let people have automatic online quotes and for those who often rent can have an online account with a pre-determined discount. Also an automatic discount, the more you rent the bigger the discount.
Let them pickup equipment 24/7 using lockers.
Have a very clean website where all the items have an accurate picture and description, and you can order them with options (scrims, 2nd header, types of lamps or ballasts, etc...). And then a smartphone app that links to your website, and a pre-registered credit card so the gaffers can create pick lists on set and just crate an order in one click which is automatically sent to the PM and also exports a very readable PDF.

Do not just rent equipment, make people's lives easier.
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