In Depth Cine goes over the nuts and bolts of renting versus buying gear and the best way to build out a cinema camera.
Hold the phone, ya mirrorless and DSLR camera lovers. We're talking dedicated cinema cameras here. The foundation of No Film School's content and community has always been geared towards the independent filmmaker, the one-man-band, and do-it-yourselfers who just want to go out and create. For as much as the site talks about the hybrid cameras found on the market—you know those black boxes that are released every couple months and people lose their freaking minds about something missing—there is certainly something to be said about cinema cameras.
When it comes to high-end cinema cameras, there's a somewhat different mantra among filmmakers. That it's better to rent than to buy (in some cases, like with the ARRI Alexa 65, it's only a rentable camera). Now, obviously there are exceptions. One being RED. Another being the Canon Cinema line as well as the Sony FX series. But generally, cameras are rented when it comes to feature films or television shows because filmmakers choose the camera that best fits the story and the director's vision instead of forcing the camera that they may own onto the page. It's a luxury not all of us have starting out.
In the video below, In Depth Cine details the basics of why you should consider being a renter over a buyer when it comes to cinema cameras and lenses. Check it out.
You don't have to be a savvy vet in the industry to recognize that cinema glass can be expensive. A set of Cooke lenses could buy you a house in Big Sky Country with enough leftover for subscriptions to Netflix and HBO Max. Though In Depth Cine suggests cinema lenses are meant to be rented, if you were to invest in anything—besides a really good tripod—it would be lenses. They will have a longer shelf life compared to a camera and are much more versatile. Plus, you could turn around and rent them out yourself, which may be easier than renting out a saturated camera market.
Renting versus buying gear will always be a case-by-case basis based on your needs. If you find yourself building a client list shooting promos, commercials, corporate work, and even music videos, it might be a better investment to buy equipment, especially the accessories commonly used on sets. This will not only cut costs in the long term, but it will save you a ton of time at the rental house.
But what are your thoughts on renting versus buying gear? Share your thoughts with the community in the comments section.