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!
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.