January 17, 2017 at 3:47PM, Edited January 17, 3:47PM



Here is the question. I currently own a Toronto based Real Estate Photography/Video Production business, and it's going quite well. I've been able to hire a few people, make a very comfortable living, and everything is perfect.

The truth is, I'd love to start transitioning into more narrative work, being in Toronto there is plenty of gigs out here, but I don't have any contacts and that seems to be the only way to get work (not necessary true I know but let's be honest it's all about who you know). I decided to start my own business instead of going to film school so I only know 1-2 other filmmakers.

I am 20 years old, so I'm in no rush but in a few years time I'd love to be a full time narrative filmmaker. Sounds crazy but at 16 I said I'd be making 6 figures by 20 and I made that happen so why not. :)

I'm looking at purchasing a RED camera package, with a nice set of Canon Cinema Primes. I would be an owner/operator, offering my camera at no cost as long as I get to use it on set, mainly to gain experience and contacts. When not being used, I'd be renting it out (also purchasing a very good theft/damage insurance on it), to hopefully make it pay for itself.

Before making the insane purchase, I'd be testing the rental market for a few months to see how many potential clients I can get per month, I plan on being cheaper than the Toronto rental market of course.

Do I sound crazy? Or could the plan potentially work? What's the best RED package for what I'm looking for? Is there a better camera in that price range that has the same industry 'wow'?

Thanks everyone!

1 Comment

Good on you! I have three RED WEAPON cameras, all 6K today, but all in the queue waiting to be upgraded to 8K.

Toronto is a great market for film, which also means that the quality, depth, and professionalism of the rental market there is very high. There's much more to providing a rental camera than just "this is good enough for me, it should be good enough for you!" And it takes quite a lot of capital investment to get to a point where you have enough meaningful inventory to make renting the camera worthwhile for people other than friends and family. What many owner-operators do is sub-rent their camera to large rental houses, but you may find that the large houses already have all the stock they need.

I would suggest looking at the numbers assuming (1) the camera really does raise your game in your primary business today, (2) you don't rent the camera out at all. Based on that analysis, you can decide if (1) you can afford the RED setup of your dreams, and (2) whether you can also afford to do narrative filmmaking on top of that.

RED WEAPON cameras rent for a very nice premium from large rental houses, but on share grid they go for $300/day. That's a low return from a high-risk market, and not a great way to treat a $50,000 camera that kits out closer to $70,000-$100,000 when all is said and done.

January 17, 2017 at 7:14PM


If you can afford it/make it pay for itself, go for it! It's an amazing camera that will age VERY well, and almost certainly be usable in 20 years.

April 6, 2017 at 4:35PM


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