November 4, 2015

Finally, an Online Gear Rental Service That Delivers! Meet KitSplit

Unless you live in a filmmaking hub, obtaining gear can be such a huge obstacle to overcome. But KitSplit, the Airbnb of gear rentals, offers some exciting services that can help you out.

We've seen online gear rental companies before, like ShareGrid and CameraLends, that offer filmmakers essentially the same services -- equipment owners rent their gear out to filmmakers on a pretty online rental platform -- but the others have one major omission: delivery.

KitSplit not only has an impressive inventory of popular, hard to find, and cutting-edge camera gear like VR and film equipment, but they offer delivery and insurance to make the process easy and streamlined. The service is currently focused on the East Coast, but they plan to expand to CA and beyond shortly.

We were able to chat with KitSplit co-founders Kristina Budelis and Lisbeth Kaufman about their newly launched (as of today) gear rental service.

NFS: How did you get started with KitSplit?

Kristina: I have a background in video production; I was a video producer at The New Yorker for a few years and I left to attend grad school and freelance. While I was freelancing, I found that I needed different gear for each of my different gigs, and I was spending way too much time and money finding and picking it up! Sometimes I spent more time getting and returning gear than on an actual shoot, which was super frustrating. I know there had to be a better way, and that’s how the idea of KitSplit was born!

KitSplit founders Lisbeth Kaufman, Kristina Budelis, and Ken Amarit

NFS: I've heard of other "Airbnbs of Gear Rentals" before, but they don't offer delivery. Can you explain your delivery system? (I've looked at a few cameras for rent and they say "Pickup" -- does that mean "hand delivery" as opposed to mailing it out?)

Kristina: Renters have two options for getting gear: 1) they can have it delivered through us (we’ll arrange the logistics), or 2) they can go pick it up in person. Some folks prefer to pick up gear in person because they get to meet new people and expand their network while checking out the gear.

We are passionate about empowering filmmakers and making the gear rental process easy and enjoyable as possible. So, we take care of the logistics so that filmmakers can focus on making amazing work. Offering everything in one place, including delivery and damage coverage, is a core part of our value proposition to filmmakers.

NFS: Okay, so -- you're a filmmaker and you decide to rent out your gear to KitSplit -- why would you ever want to do that? Can you set your own rate or does KitSplit do that?

Kristina: A lot of filmmakers (myself and many of my friends included) have invested thousands of dollars (sometimes tens or hundreds of thousands!) buying gear that often sits around unused. KitSplit lets you monetize that gear when you’re not using it. On KitSplit, you can make money to help pay for your gear and buy new gear with relatively little work. Some filmmakers on our platform have already made enough money to completely pay for the items they’ve rented out, which we (and they) are really excited about!

And KitSplit is also a great way to meet other people in your area with similar interests. Right now, owners set their own rate. We are exploring pricing suggestions or pricing bands (with lower and upper cost ranges) for the future (and would be eager to hear what KitSplitters think of that!).

NFS: What are you most excited about with KitSplit?

Kristina: The sign of a great tool is what people make with it -- and we’re thrilled at the amazing people and projects we’re empowering through KitSplit! It’s thrilling seeing the brilliant creators who are joining. We’ve got everyone -- Academy and Emmy award winners, folks just starting out at the top film schools, YouTube creators, and even cutting edge virtual reality filmmakers. We are so excited by the awesome  projects members are making with KitSplit gear! We love promoting KitSplitters and their work -- members should send info about projects so that we can spread the word!

NFS: Where do you want to take KitSplit in the future? What other features would you like to add?

Kristina: We have lots of plans for the future! We’re excited to launch a blog and launch in other areas -- we’re currently focused in the NY area, and will soon be launching in LA, though you can join and post nationwide.

We’ve already been collaborating with awesome partners like YouTube Space and Storycode at Lincoln Center Film Society to run events, and we’re also excited to have more events and bring the KitSplit community together more this year.


Thanks, Kristina and the rest of the KitSplit team!

If you're interested in checking out what KitSplit has to offer, head on over to their website.      

Your Comment

10 Comments

Some folks prefer to pick up gear in person because... camera tests. Getting your equipment in person is always better and avoid delays on set... There should be somekind of "request camera tests" options. Also, being an owner, I wouldn't want to ship an Alexa or a Red Epic just like that. I want to meet the user in person and make sure they know what they are doing. (no offense, but you never know).

November 5, 2015 at 8:53AM, Edited November 5, 8:54AM

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Danny T
Photographer
375

Hi Danny, I'm one of the co-founders of KitSplit, thanks for these great suggestions! We've got plans to add a whole bunch of features to KitSplit over the next couple of months, so we'll add the "request camera test" idea to the list.
I hope you'll join the KitSplit community so we can help you get great gear! :)

November 5, 2015 at 5:44PM

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Lisbeth
CoFounder at KitSplit
102

This is a cool idea but the pricing is not competitive at all. $500 a day for a Sony FS7 is ridiculous. Borrowlenses.com lets me rent one for ~$300 for 3 days.

November 5, 2015 at 9:17AM

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Alex Everingham
Video Editor
455

I agree on the price. However, wouldn't it depend on the area and pricing decided by the individual? Just like anything else, if they price it too high, they won't be competitive at all and will lose business to others. Just pointing out that the pricing you found in that particular instance isn't indicative of pricing across the site.

November 5, 2015 at 2:44PM

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RJ Ortiz
Cinematographer
119

Hi guys, thanks for your interest in KitSplit! Yep, RJ hit it on the nose-- pricing depends on location and also what's included in the kit. So on KitSplit the f7s ranges from $300 (like this one http://bit.ly/1StoxY7) up to $500 (like this http://bit.ly/1Nvr4RE). We offer equipment owners the flexibility to choose their own prices.

November 5, 2015 at 6:02PM, Edited November 5, 6:02PM

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Lisbeth
CoFounder at KitSplit
102

Also on KitSplit you can get gear on the same day! So you don't have to wait for or pay for shipping, as you would on borrowlense or other online rental houses. Plus on KitSplit you're supporting and meeting other filmmakers when you make a rental. That's one of the best parts of being a KitSplit member!

November 5, 2015 at 6:05PM

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Lisbeth
CoFounder at KitSplit
102

-edited- never mind

November 5, 2015 at 4:41PM, Edited November 5, 4:43PM

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MattyMustng
Director of Photography
177

how does your company deal with insurance? is this required by the production thats renting the gear or by the renter? how do you settle damaged gear?

November 6, 2015 at 10:47AM

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frank apollonio
DP/Photographer
140

How come no body talks about lensrentals.com they have good prices, and you can get your gear really fast too. Nothing but good experiences renting from them.

November 6, 2015 at 4:08PM

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Nelson Gonzalez
Creative doing filmmaking
81

How is it possible that nobody here has mentioned LensRentals.com, or that NFS hasn't mentioned them in this article

Ive used them exclusively for over 3 years now for 90% of my projects. They have nearly everything that you could possibly need. Their rates are amazing, they have "lenscap+ insurance" that ROCKS. (10% of property value deductible)

Then their "LensRentalsHD" shipping program. $100 a year "LensRentals HD is a shipping discount program. By signing up, you'll get free Standard Shipping on all the orders you place for one year, and you'll even save 50% on all FedEx Overnight shipping. No items are excluded from the program: if we carry it, we'll ship it free. Need a jib in Los Angeles? It's free. Need 10 tripods in Miami? Totally free." - LensRentals

Dont think anyone can compete with these guys...

November 9, 2015 at 7:01PM, Edited November 9, 7:25PM

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