7 tips for renting equipment

Pictoclik sits down with Jesse Hagy, of Little Giants Lighting & Grip, as he shares the ins and outs of renting equipment. These tips will save you money and keep you in good standings with rental houses.

Rental 101: 7 Things To Keep In Mind When Renting Equipment

1. COMMUNICATION IS KEY Production rental company employees tend to have a lot of experience in—drumroll please—filming productions. So ask questions. Get advice. Communicate. This is the single most important bit of advice that you will ever get about this topic.
It is also completely okay to ask for help. Pretending to know what you’re doing when you don’t is a big no-no and can really hinder your efforts.

2. KNOW YOUR LIMITATIONS You may be dreaming of shooting your entire production in one or two days, but it is important to be realistic.

3. BE UPFRONT ABOUT YOUR BUDGET This is yet another one that ties back in with “communication is key”. The rental company just might be able to steer you in a cheaper (yes, really), better direction than the one you are headed in.

4. EXPLAIN THE SCENES TO THE RENTAL CREW, NOT JUST THE EQUIPMENT YOUR’RE LOOKING FOR This often overlaps with the “be upfront about your budget” bit above. It is essential that you paint a picture of what you are trying to do. This allows the rental company to help you to create this.

It is also worth noting that productions rentals go beyond lighting. There are many other tools and pieces of equipment that you may need and most rental companies will be more than happy to help you sort this out.

5. DON’T WAIT UNTIL THE LAST MINUTE It is not a given that a rental company will have what you need. But if you arrange a rental at least a week before a shoot, they may be able to get it for you.
Obviously, if you are planning a huge shoot that calls for tons of equipment rentals, you should plan this out a month or so in advance.

6. KNOW WHEN TO HIRE A PROFESSIONAL Many newcomers are hesitant to admit that they are film-making beginners. But by not asking for help, you are setting yourself up for failure. You may have enlisted the help of your buddies. That’s great. But you don’t want to end up in a “blind leading the blind” situation. We promise that this type of scenario is much more time-consuming and expensive than just hiring a professional.

If you are on a shoestring budget, you should at least, consider hiring a gaffer for your shoot.

7. ALWAYS OPT FOR INSURANCE Some rental companies require production insurance. Some just suggest it. Either way, it is in your best interest to opt for production insurance coverage. It is better to be safe than sorry. Plus, it protects you and your crew (and maybe even your production) in the long haul.