Picking up filmmaking equipment is an endless cycle with new and improved gear coming out all the time and, frankly, it being nice to play with all the latest and greatest. Buying your gear seems like a very sensible option as it is a guarantee that you have everything ready to go.
It’s also expensive and potentially locks you in to certain equipment for a while. Then there is the renting option, which also costs money, but might make more sense for particular shoots. Coming from Monkeypixels is a nice breakdown of when and how you should decide whether or not to buy equipment or rent it.
Starting with renting there is a good breakdown of the pros:
- No initial investment (client can cover costs)
- Rent just what you need for the job
- Renting on location or when traveling means less packing
- No buying and selling hassle
Now there are plenty of reasons you might consider purchasing and owning your own kit:
- You can rent it out yourself for extra income
- Know your gear extremely well
- Perfectly tuned and customized (settings and accessories)
- Use your gear for your personal projects
- Flexibility and spontaneity (work on short notice)
- No time spent picking up and returning
There are obviously very good advantages to each method, but it will be very dependent on your own needs and shooting style. A lot of it will honestly come down to your clients.
A huge production might demand renting a high-end RED cinema camera and lenses to get the quality they expect. A documentary shoot on your own project you’ll likely want your own kit.
Honestly, for many indie shooters, I think having your own gear is an advantage if it makes sense for your budget and business. Everyone should likely have their own core kit that they can use to get the job done.
Then, for specific projects, you can decide whether renting equipment makes sense for that job. In some cases, you might only be renting out some of the gear, like a macro lens or a slow-mo camera.
What do you do for your shoots? Do you mostly rent or do you own your own gear?