Can’t Afford Top Tier Video or Camera Equipment? Try Renting!

Need to upgrade your camera? Need other equipment? Like a boom mic? A dolly? A lighting cabinet?

Well, you may not have to buy them. You may be able to rent filmmaking & print making equipment. Take a look around your community to see if there is a camera & film equipment rental shop like Professional Video and Tape in Portland, Oregon.

Eric Petrie is here today to talk about some equipment to drool over, and to rent.

TThe world of independent film production is a continually changing landscape. As technology moves forwards quality goes up and costs go down. The democratization of film production with affordable equipment has never been more apparent then right now. The boarders keeping small budget production from achieving a big budget look have never been thinner. Indeed consumer electronics products can now be used to make a film makers vision come true. If you have a vision, and you have the skill, it can happen.

One of the largest factors in the modern evolution of independent film production has been the advent of digital SLR still photo cameras that can record high quality video. About 18 months ago Canon, almost unknowingly, changed the face of independent production by introducing the Canon EOS 5D (mkII) still photo camera with H.D. video capability. While there are many limitations to these kind of cameras when used for video they do offer one very compelling factor. The 5D has a full frame 35mm size image sensor. This means that your images look much more like they were shot with 35mm film then a traditional video camera. This sensor is over 4 times larger then the 2/3” sensors you find in those very large and expensive Panasonic or Sony camcorders. The best part is that you can buy this camera right now at Professional Video and Tape for $2,489! This makes for a very appealing option for independent production.

The first question that comes up when looking into these cameras is “Does it really work for pro level productions?”. The answer is a definitive “Yes”. Recently the award winning FOX prime-time drama “House” shot an entire episode using nothing but this camera and Canon photo lenses. The results were a spectacular success. The benefits included slicing the budged of production and allowing them to shoot in conditions that traditional video cameras wouldn’t have been able to go. These conditions included tight spaces in low light.

But of course there is more to film production than just the camera. You will need lenses to go with the camera. If you have time to change prime fixed focal length lenses a 28mm, 50mm, and 85mm lens kit will give you a great deal of flexibility. For quicker shooting opt for a 24-105mm lens. For cinema style control of your camera a matte box and follow focus system from Chrosziel are essential tools. For audio the best option is to use a separate recording system such as the Zoom H4n. This offers professional balanced XLR audio inputs. Connect this to a high quality shotgun microphone such as the Sennheiser ME66/K6 for top quality sound. The whole thing can be rigged to a Gitzo carbon fiber boom pole. You will need a way to monitor you images on-set. Ikan makes a line of high quality and affordable compact H.D. LCD monitors designed for pros to use in the field. All of these products and much more are available from Professional Video and Tape. PVT can get you completely set up for independent cinema production for under $10k. The result will be an equipment set-up that will open up the possibilities as far as your skill and creativity can take them.

If you’re in Portland, check out Professional Video and Tape, and say hi to Eric!

Jasmine Moore

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