Everything you need to know before you rent a camera

While many of us filmmakers wish we could own every piece of gear we use, that sadly isn’t realistic. Whether it is due to cost, space or both, filmmakers often rent equipment, many opting to rent cameras rather than buy them.

Renting a camera can be a great workaround regarding price and storage. It is definitely less expensive than buying a new camera. It also gives you more flexibility when it comes to your creativity and style because every camera shoots differently. And of course, you don’t have to find a place to store the camera when you’re done using it.

If you’re looking to rent a camera for your next project, we have a few tips that will help you have the best renting experience possible:

Rent older camera models

Now, it might be tempting to rent one of the most current camera models out there. You can do that if you want; however, it will cost you. Likely, the reason you are looking to rent is that you want to save money. The best way to do that is to rent an older camera model that gets the job done. Don’t go so old that your video looks dated. Get a camera that works well but doesn’t cost you a lot to rent. When it comes down to it, know your budget and make a decision based on that.

Back screen of camera
Rent an older camera model to save money. Image courtesy: ShareGrid

Make sure the camera arrives a few days early

One of the major benefits of buying a new camera is that you can be fairly confident it will work when you get it. Sadly, the same doesn’t apply to rented cameras. The camera isn’t new. It’s been used before, so there is a higher chance that it might now work when it arrives. For critical projects, always make sure the camera your renting will arrive a few days before the shoot. That will give you time to get a replacement if the camera doesn’t work.

Add extra batteries and memory cards

While you might get the camera, you need batteries and memory cards to shoot. When renting, see what is included in the rental. Some rented cameras don’t come with batteries and memory cards. You might have to rent those separately. However, if you have extra batteries and memory cards you can use at your disposal, make sure they’ll work with the camera you’re renting.

Confirm everything is compatible with everything else

That leads us into our final tip, make sure all of the gear you plan to use is compatible with the camera you’re renting. This tip goes hand in hand with the tips above. Get the camera in your hands a few days before the shoot so you can test it with all the equipment you plan to use with it. This could save you from having major setbacks in your shooting schedule.

Renting a camera can save you a lot of money and space. However, you have to make sure the camera you’re renting works, is compatible with your gear and isn’t unnecessarily expensive. If you want some guidance on which cameras you could consider renting, you can check out our Buyer’s Guides for interchangeable lens cameras, cinema cameras and fixed lens camcorders.

Image courtesy: Deckhand

Sean Berry
Sean Berry
Sean Berry is Videomaker's Managing Editor.

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