Brick-and-mortar rental houses have been a staple of filmmaking since sliced bread became the greatest thing and George Washington rode his horse to….no, wait – we’re not talking about a period of time THAT far back. But, suffice to say, from the days that these services were first offered they have been mostly expensive and made available by companies inconveniently located and limited in terms of their operating hours.
Are you Insured?
Video equipment rental has also been notorious for requiring third-party insurance, which can make small budgets seem even smaller and can take days or even weeks to go into effect. Then, there’s the option of renting directly from local equipment owners which, on the surface, can seem like a cost-effective alternative… until you realize it’s a risky endeavor to rent equipment from strangers, especially if the gear isn’t insured in some way. If that equipment fails on you or is otherwise damaged, you could find yourself in an ugly legal conundrum.
We’re about to dig into some tips and important things to consider when renting video production equipment including shopping around, knowing your production specs, not being afraid to ask for help and reading the fine print so you know what you’re getting into. While these are some of the primary factors we ourselves are wholly knowledgeable about, there are certainly more that can be taken into consideration as you begin your video production equipment rental foray.
Beginning with the basics…
Let’s get some basics out of the way first: When a person needs a party tent for a wedding, a rototiller to dig up a garden bed or a cement mixer to lay some concrete, often the first avenue to consider is an equipment rental company.
Whether you are in need of equipment to rent for a project or celebration, some concerns immediately spring to mind: Where do you find equipment rental insurance programs, and which companies offer the best coverage at the best rates? Can you easily assess your needs so you know exactly which pieces of gear you have to rent?
MVMG General Equipment Rental Facts:
- The majority of rental business income in the U.S. is derived from tools and equipment
- Tool and equipment rental accounts for about two billion dollars in annual revenue
- There are nearly 3,000 businesses renting tools and equipment in the U.S.
Video Equipment Rental Tips
1. Shop Around
Answer this honestly: You wouldn’t rent a car without checking other rental agencies’ prices, would you? Similarly, if you were a bride-to-be, you wouldn’t drop that mound of cash on the very first bridal shop showing you the dress THEY think you should wear, right? Well, the same rules apply to shopping for video equipment rentals. We understand that with all the new and exciting gadgets coming out on a seemingly weekly basis, it’s hard not to get caught up in all the hype. But let’s face it – gear is expensive. While the cost of an “average” camera good for shooting vacations and birthday parties has been steadily decreasing, it’s a different story when it comes to doing professional quality video production. Whether this means film, TV production, Web video or action sports videos, simply placing a finger on the “auto” button isn’t enough.
That leads us to shopping around for the camera that can handle such a task. What must be understood is that the camera by itself doesn’t make the production…it takes shot planning, blocking, lighting and more, and there are plenty of other tools beyond the camera that need to be taken into consideration so you can bolster the production value of your videos. Some of these tools encompass audio recorders, jibs, media, dollies, camera lenses and a plethora of lights for different situations – to say nothing of the labor required to operate all of these tools. So, you must sift through the options and navigate the “fancy new gear landscape” to determine what’s best for YOUR needs.
2. Know Your Production Specs!
This is one of the most important tips on this list. Why? Rental houses can offer advice on what you could rent, but in the end it’s up to you to ensure that what you’re renting meets your needs (as we covered above) and that the equipment does what you need it to do. Have you been asked to organize a video shoot and you have little to no experience dealing with video production? Perhaps you have found yourself as the middle man and are just curious as to how you can cut corners and narrow down the essential items you will need on-set for an effective video shoot. You need to know your production specs – and all that’s required to pull off the most basic of video shoots – before considering a video equipment rental service.
And this kind of brings us to our next tip…
3. Don’t be Afraid to Ask for Help
Many rental houses can add an equipment operator/troubleshooter to go along with the equipment on-site to help set the gear up and ensure it’s all working properly. What’s more, it’s usually not very expensive at all and it creates peace of mind and security in knowing it’s not up to you to ensure the gear works; in fact, if you opt to have the operator there for the entire event, it can reduce rental equipment insurance costs.
4. Read the Fine Print and Know What You’re Getting Into
When you rent video equipment, you are signing a binding contract…so be sure you read ALL the terms and conditions – unlike that iTunes agreement you just clicked-through – because then you’ll be aware of exactly what’s expected by both parties. The much-talked-about “fine print” could be anything from a notice which says, “Lessee accepts full responsibility for loss or damage to the rental equipment and assumes all costs involved in repairing or replacing said equipment” to a binding warning that reads, “Insurance coverage is the responsibility of the lessee.” Also be aware that two forms of identification may be required for rentals and that the primary ID must come in the form of a current driver’s license with photograph, military ID or valid passport.
Many times, a secondary ID can come in the form of a major credit card.
Video Rental Equipment Conclusions
Video production equipment rental doesn’t have to be ridiculously complicated. At Multiverse Media Group, we believe anyone can make beautiful images and tell compelling stories…IF they have the right gear and the right team supporting them. We boast years of experience helping people make video come to life for a multitude of events, so you can rest assured knowing the knowledge we’ve shared in this blog post can only assist in bringing YOUR dreams to vivid reality.