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Knowledge a first time film maker should have before renting


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#1 John Kelver

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Posted 25 July 2017 - 07:50 AM

Hello!

 

I have reached out to some camera renting companies, to ask whether I can rent ARRI 416 PLUS. The response I get is that you need to be more competent than just reading the manual of the ARRI 416 PLUS camera, for an example electronics, mechanics, lenses etc. I believe that I have a fair grip on the lens part.

 

But I just wonder where can I gather more knowledge that enables me to rent this film camera, and also your own experiences when you have rented a film camera. What is it that is usually required to know during a film shoot, I understand this varies, but I would appreciate if you could say where I could read more about this matter.

 

Best regards, John

 

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#2 Brian Drysdale

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Posted 25 July 2017 - 08:21 AM

Spending time with the kit at the rental company is the usual method for learning, practicing setting it up and loading the magazines. There are also a number of books that will give you the basic knowledge that's expected from a film camera assistant and applies to all film cameras. . .


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#3 Phil Rhodes

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Posted 25 July 2017 - 08:37 AM

I guess these people would be your first port of call.

 

You may struggle to find anyone still working who's done a traditional film finish. We had a chap called Steve Farman on the forum a few times - he's a negative cutter and one of the last of the breed, since so few productions cut neg anymore. You might try looking him up.

 

P


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#4 John Kelver

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Posted 25 July 2017 - 09:08 AM

One more question, have any of you (or someone else) had the issue where the rental company only rent cameras to companies, because some say that they only rent the film camera if you are a company. Do I have to start one on my own, or does anyone know this procedure?

Thanks in advance!


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#5 Phil Rhodes

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Posted 25 July 2017 - 12:29 PM

Damn, my response went in the wrong thread. I am an idiot. Overlook me.


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#6 Phil Connolly

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Posted 25 July 2017 - 02:33 PM

Generally companies want to rent to people that know what they are doing, won't break the kit and will pay on time. 

 

I've never been asked to be a company to hire, but normally on an initial personal Hire I've been asked to provide references and pay a security deposit, plus ID's and proof of address are needed. A company would have to provide the same information to get on the books. It can be a bit of pain to sort out all the documentation - but once you are on the companies books your good. I don't have a company now but I am rep'ed as a Director by a company and thats streamlined the process - by getting them to handle kit bookings even on personal projects.

 

Generally a trust worthy freelancer would be looked upon in the same way as a company. To be honest in someways not being a limited company might be better for a hire company because it would allow them to come after you for debts. With a limited company you can walk away from debts sometimes by winding up the company. 

 

As others have said you could spend time at the Hire company learning the camera or just hire a 1st AC that can load it for your project. So if its a project your Directing or DOPing then just hire in the camera side skills you need. Years ago I did a personal project on the prototype Arri D20 - I think there were about 2 in existence at the time - in order to make them happy I needed £400k of insurance and they needed to meet my 1st AC. But they are just protecting their investment and every issue can be resolved. 


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#7 aapo lettinen

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Posted 25 July 2017 - 02:41 PM

 

Hello!

 

I have reached out to some camera renting companies, to ask whether I can rent ARRI 416 PLUS. The response I get is that you need to be more competent than just reading the manual of the ARRI 416 PLUS camera, for an example electronics, mechanics, lenses etc. I believe that I have a fair grip on the lens part.

 

But I just wonder where can I gather more knowledge that enables me to rent this film camera, and also your own experiences when you have rented a film camera. What is it that is usually required to know during a film shoot, I understand this varies, but I would appreciate if you could say where I could read more about this matter.

 

Best regards, John

 

 

 

you must have some experience shooting with film cameras before renting one. it does not need to be from the same type of camera from the same manufacturer but you need to have the skills of actually shooting on film. for example shooting with bolex or eclair cameras or SR series etc. so that you are very confident that you can handle the "film aspect" of the production correctly. 

THEN, learning to use a new type of camera is very easy and you don't necessarily need that much practicing with one before the actual shoot, especially if having an AC to maintain the camera on set.

 

the rental companies are more than happy to arrange you couple of hours with the camera at their place so you can learn how to use it and practice loading the magazines if that can be done when they don't have very busy day and asked beforehand.

 

If you need to test the lenses beforehand and compare them and get to know them thoroughly this can be done with digital cameras, for example a Micro4/3 camera with a PL adapter. 


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#8 Jon O'Brien

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Posted 25 July 2017 - 10:34 PM

Having a camera with a certain proprietary lens mount on it, which was advertised as having a PL mount and then I decided to keep it as it came all the way from USA ... plus it was pretty cool .... well, I made a sincere inquiry last year to a local office of a major international rental house on the Gold Coast here as I was genuinely considering spending some money with them at some point in the future. Or at least I was ignorant enough at the time to think I might. I ended up with no price-list or any particular offer of practical help that I can recall, at least not before I could supply them with definite dates. I guess that is fair enough. I definitely didn't have any actual dates and it was all a bit pie in the sky. They are a big company and it is the way they run their business and I understand that. If I owned the inventory they do I would no doubt run my business in the same way. It's all part of the learning process. But I understand smaller rental companies are much more open to helping out budding filmmakers, and I do hope to work with a smaller rental company at some point reasonably soon (not, it must be said, with that particular camera).


Edited by Jon O'Brien, 25 July 2017 - 10:43 PM.

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#9 Jon O'Brien

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Posted 25 July 2017 - 10:59 PM

I had a bit of a cry into my beer actually. I briefly had a naive picture of them saying "Great. Pop on in and we'll happily show you around. Would be great to meet you. So, you want to film in 35mm, fantastic." I learn fast, which is good.


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#10 aapo lettinen

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Posted 26 July 2017 - 09:18 AM

here the rental houses are happy to introduce customers to their gear if they don't happen to have a very busy day with lots of gear going in and out. here the Mondays and Fridays are generally quite busy days but in the middle of the week it is quite easy to arrange testing if the camera/lens set is not on a shoot at the moment. you generally need one employee to show you the gear, help to set it up and answer questions and help with different configurations and menus, so it is best to ask beforehand when they would have time for this type of training. it can take something like 2 - 3 hours if the camera is new to you.

 

sometimes I have gone to the rental house without prior notice just to buy tapes and lens tissue and got an opportunity to practice with for example Alexa at the same time because they had already set it up for a customer who was going to prep it for a shoot later that day  :lol:


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#11 Jon O'Brien

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Posted 26 July 2017 - 04:46 PM

Apart from not realizing the enormous cost of hiring a small anamorphic lens for half a week from this firm, I thought this business was still 'film based'. No way. All totally focused on video. However they still very much advertise the film side of their business on their website for this local office but this seems to be out of habit or to add lustre to the business by making association with the romantic history of their film past. But as the manager explained their money all comes in from video gear hire here. The video people want to use anamorphic lenses which to me seems a bit of a fad for lens flares and things like that but there's a lot I don't know. It's great that it keeps these rental companies in business. Still, can't but help to think that a friendly offer of 'come on in and take a look around at what's possible' would have been nice. After a while might approach them a second time and see what happens. The situation could be very different in other countries.


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#12 Brian Drysdale

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Posted 26 July 2017 - 06:04 PM

Rental companies will be making most of their money from the digital side of the business these days,  The PL mounted lenses can often be used on both film and digital cameras and may well be older glass used that was used on their film cameras (assuming they have none now).

 

Major rental companies can be very helpful, although it may come down to the local manager, but in the past Panavision Ireland has done deals on shorts. 


Edited by Brian Drysdale, 26 July 2017 - 06:08 PM.

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#13 Jon O'Brien

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Posted 26 July 2017 - 08:48 PM

Part of the challenge for new filmmakers is figuring out what is possible. You can only do so much research and book reading. It's good to meet with experts and just get shown a few things. Doesn't take long. This is I think especially important with film gear (as in real film). If people are shown what is initially possible, and what it costs (yes, hopefully with a deal that is reasonable and doable for both sides), then they can go away, get inspired, start saving and/or raising funds. I could have made a short film last year however it's probably best that I did save my pennies. Will have to wait for the next window of opportunity but at least I've learned a lot more now. It's good to know about Panavision doing deals for short films.


Edited by Jon O'Brien, 26 July 2017 - 08:56 PM.

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#14 Dom Jaeger

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Posted 26 July 2017 - 09:33 PM

Jon, no-one shoots film in this country anymore except for the very rare passion project or artists using Bolexes for experimental films. 35mm is effectively dead here. But in the US Panavision still provides gear for some of the prestige movies shot on film, so it's valid for them to advertise it.

 

The Gold Coast branch deals almost exclusively with big budget features using the Studios there, currently it's Aquaman. Their inventory is pretty much just to support those features, and they have a fairly small staff so they're not set up to educate or spend time showing gear to non-professionals outside the industry who are more curious than serious, if that's a fair description. They don't have the time or the spare inventory. Other Panavision branches might be more helpful, but it's worth remembering that their anamorphics in particular are very often out working, and in demand.

 

If you have a camera with a PV mount, it will be something that was either stolen or given as a memento gift. Panavision don't sell their equipment, so maybe that is an issue when it comes to renting lenses for it. If the camera is not set up correctly it could damage a lens. 

 

The rental houses in Brisbane tend to deal more with the local industry and smaller jobs. Maybe give Cameraquip a call since they still have a film camera inventory and sometimes deal with students.

 

I should also add that if you think the cost of hiring one lens for a few days is enormous, you may want to rethink your choice of hobby.. ;)


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#15 Jon O'Brien

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Posted 27 July 2017 - 04:39 AM

I disagree with some of what you write, Dom. Thanks for your valuable advice. Cameraquip looks like a great company. I won't talk about 35mm anymore on this website - but will confine my questions to 8mm and 16mm. I do have two Bolex cameras that I (seriously ... and not just curiously) might ask you to service sometime. Best regards, Jon 


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#16 Jon O'Brien

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Posted 05 August 2017 - 05:11 PM

Well, I might keep asking about 35mm but I will be more realistic about it from here on in. I do sometimes have a tendency to harp on.


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#17 Landon D. Parks

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Posted 05 August 2017 - 09:23 PM

I once AC'ed a small short film that was shot on a Arri 435. The reality is, you need more than 1 person to operate a film camera, especially a 35mm camera. These things are large, heavy, and fairly complex machines.

Basically, it's like going to a tool rental store and telling them you want to rent a large crane. The first question they will ask you is: does the operator have experience with it? If not, why would they let a multi-million dollar piece of machinery out the door?
 

Obviously, film camera's are very expensive pieces of fine machinery, and they require knowledge to operate. Unless you want to spend some time at a rental house getting to know these cameras, then your probably out of luck.

 

In fact, I have a question: Will there be anyone on this set who has worked with film before? The important thing to keep in mind is that film is less forgiving than digital, since you can't see what your getting until it's already too late. Unless you know in advance how to properly expose film, etc, then you're setting yourself up for a nightmare.

Why not shoot on a smaller format like 16/super 16? Not only are the camera's easier to get a hold of, but processing and stock is cheaper as well. It'll also give you a chance to practice with real film in a real film camera. And since 16mm is more of an indie format, more places are going to be willing to let out a camera to you. 35mm is basically the realm of large budget filmmakers working within the studio system, and is certainly not really a 'short film' format any longer.

 

You'll know when you have the budget and staff to support a 35mm production: You'll have someone on set that knows how to actually operate the camera.

 

Just my $0.02. 


Edited by Landon D. Parks, 05 August 2017 - 09:25 PM.

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