June 5, 2018

Get Your Gear Under Control with This DIY Production Cart

Production carts can cost a pretty penny, so why not try assembling your own for a fraction of the cost?

On many no-budget film sets, equipment is usually stored not on a beautifully organized equipment cart with labels and holders and stuff but in a mountainous pile that is less functional than a dumbbell in space. Storing your gear this way will not only waste a lot of your time but it'll also drive you nuts as you try to find and put away all the equipment you'll need throughout the day. 

If you don't have the budget to buy a professional production cart, you can always make your own—kind of. The team over at The Film Look shows you how to customize a common (and affordable) utility cart with all of the storage space and accessories you'll need to organize and access your most important pieces of filmmaking gear. Check out the tutorial below:

Professional production carts can set you back upwards of $1000, which is why the utility cart used in the video, which costs about $70 on Amazon, is such an attractive option. It's made of metal and you get three tiers of storage space to place your camera gear, lenses, batteries, charging stations, and other random tools you might need. The one drawback I can see, however, are those tiny wheels that may not do so well at rolling over cables and other obstacles, or not as well as the 8" wheels on pro models would, anyway.

The Film Look team customizes their cart with soft carpeting to help keep gear in place, labels for all equipment (lenses, chargers, batteries, etc.), DIY dividers, and cans mounted to the side of the cart for pens and other tools. Of course, you can customize your cart whichever way makes sense to you, or even purchase several carts and customize each one for different departments, including DIT/video village, lighting/electrical, hell, even a snack cart would be well worth the cost. However you decide to utilize your DIY production cart, the main idea is to give yourself and your crew a functional, organized, and affordable way to store gear while working on set.

Do you use a DIY production cart on set? How did you set it up? Let us know down in the comments.      

Your Comment

3 Comments

There are a few things about this that would keep me from using these specific kinds of carts:

- They don't fold.*
- The metal edges can be sharp.
- The screws can start to come loose over time.
- The metal is thin and can get bent pretty easily.
- Risk of conducting electricity if you're not careful.

I haven't bitten the bullet to buy a folding Backstage cart yet, but someday. My current alternative is a heavy plastic - PVC maybe - cart. *It doesn't fold of course, but it's a hardship I'll have to deal with. Rubbermaid makes carts like what I use, but that brand is super expensive. There are much cheaper brands, not much more than the metal cart mentioned in the article. The nice things about plastic carts:

- No rust, other than maybe the casters.
- No sharp edges.
- Very impact resistant.
- Few if any screws to come loose, and any that are screwed into the plastic are likely to remain.
- Won't conduct electricity.
- It's easy to drill, cut, file, sand or otherwise make alterations to the cart to fit your needs. Screw in brackets, bolt on power strips, you name it.

And of course the Rock-n-Roller style folding metal carts are good for getting things from Point A to Point B. You can even buy shelves for them to make them poor-man's Backstage carts, but I think it would be better to just go with the advice Benjamin Braddock received in "The Graduate." One word: plastics.

June 8, 2018 at 7:44PM

2
Reply

While I get that 1500$-4000$ isn't that special for dedicated film equipment, I still wonder why there isn't a lower cost alternative to Magliner or Innovative carts?Between a 70$ multipurpose cart from Amazon and the former there should be room for sth around 500$ that may not be aimed at the film market directly, but offer comparable features. But I guess it's to much of a niche product after all...

June 9, 2018 at 12:43PM

0
Reply

Try rocknroller :)

June 12, 2018 at 7:20AM

0
Reply
avatar
Matthew Roper
Student
91