Renting out your HM700 at

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Old October 28th, 2010, 11:06 AM   #1
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Renting out your HM700

Hey does anyone on here rent out their camera? I got an offer from a client who wanted to actually rent my camera. They felt that they just wanted to get a family party, but not pay a video price for it. They asked if I offered camera rental and I actually told them no, but I thought that it didn't sound so crazy. What do you guys think?
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Old October 28th, 2010, 06:47 PM   #2
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What is the skill level of the client? (Can they operate a manual-focus shoulder-mount camera without image stabilization?)

Is the client adequately insured? It would be a shame to get a camera back with a chipped lens or a screwed up mount, fried electronics, etc., and only then discover that the client cant quite shell out a few thousand at the moment.

Think about the package you have to offer: The combination of your skills and gear that produces reliably professional results. Renting out your camera to a non-videographer isn't likely representing that package.

So, without knowing more about this client, I'd say take a pass on that -- but see if you can't upsell your services, refer them to a friend with consumer equipment who might like to pick up a few bucks to cover this low-priority event, or loan them a less expensive camera that will suit their needs just fine.
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Old November 5th, 2010, 07:49 AM   #3
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Agree with Bob. Porfessional equipemnt is no use in the hands of plain amateurs.
I've rented my camera a few times, but only to professionals. Even so stuff got lost. They paid for replacement.
Also, I take out the insurance myself and bill it to them, so I exactly know the extent of coverage.
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Old November 5th, 2010, 11:27 AM   #4
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I've played this game before myself, and I've come to a pretty solid conclusion that I am a production house, not a rental house. They're paying for the experience and training, not the gear, and without the experience guy, the gear don't roll. Now, I've loaned out gear before to friends/colleagues I trust, (and was repaid later with a hand on one of my own projects and a thanks in their credits.)

And from what it sounds like, THIS is part of the problem we face: the consistent devaluation of our craft. People will balk at paying $1200 for a wedding video with 2 or 3 cameras, wireless mics, etc. etc. but they won't blink with a still photographer charges the same thing, (nothing against still photographers. They deserve every penny of that, but I got sick of hearing, "I could have Uncle Harry bring his camcorder for FREE!" OK. You do that. And you'll get exactly what you pay for. I don't shoot weddings anymore.)

Couple this with the fact that the "DV Revolution" of the 90's had Apple, Adobe, Sony, Canon, and the like all marketing their gear on the premise, "Buy our stuff, and you can be the next Speilberg!" Admittedly, I jumped on that bandwagon myself, but I already HAD a bunch of the training, (excellent 2 year Associates program in radio and television, along with a BUNCH of freelance stuff,) and the "On the Job" stuff I got as a result, I wouldn't trade for the WORLD, and the effect has also produced some BRILLIANT DV producers who banked on some incredible talent and vision and developed the skills along the way. THEY are the exception to the rule, NOT the rule.

Back in my "teaching days," I had a fellow faculty member who asked me to videotape her public speaking students give speeches.

Now, she'd called the AFTERNOON she wanted it done and I was busy, so she asked to borrow the equipment to do it herself, and if I'd just take 5 minutes to explain how to set it up and operate it, (the camera was a JVC DV500u.) I told her to go to our university library and check out a little DV camera from there and that would do fine. She got huffy, as if I was insulting her by insinuating that she didn't have the intellect to learn in 5 minutes what I took 10 weeks to cover in a classroom. If I'd actually HAD the time, I probably would have hauled the gear over, (camera, 4 pin power, libec single stage tripod w/claw-ball head,) and rapidly explained to her in 5 minutes about no auto focus, the B&W viewfinder, (it's OK. We have a color Sony production monitor in one of those "Chinese Puzzle" PortaBrace cases that students STILL were having problems tinkering with the day of graduation. Make sure to run out of the video out, and not the test out, as that's not showing you what's going to tape. Oh, and don't confuse the genlock in with a video out,) then explain critical focus and white balance. JUST to see the look on her face... (I certainly wouldn't do this to a client. I wouldn't do this to a person I considered a "Colleague." I considered her neither. Co-worker at best.)

I digress. Just trying to put into perspective what you're facing. If they borrow your gear, and you try to explain HALF of what they need to do, (even if they're running in full-auto mode on the HM700,) they will be REELING.

And also consider that it's a given that people in general don't read manuals, or learn the RIGHT way to do something. They muddle through, and press buttons to see what happens.

Do you want THAT happening to your gear? I shot with a Canon XL1 for over 12 years, used JVC DV500's since they came out, and have worked with Betacams, Digibeta, HDCAM, etc. etc. etc. I've had my HM700 for over a month now, and I'm STILL figuring out the subtle little things about it. It's not a simple piece of hardware.

If the client had a trained, skilled video producer on staff, but just didn't have the equipment, I would CONSIDER it, (and it would be dependent on how GOOD a client they were. Not a great client=No. REALLY great client=No. The first, it's not worth the time and potential down time to get my gear fixed if they screw it up, the second and I'm setting a president where I'm essentially competing with my own gear in the hands of someone else.)

Just some food for thought. Certainly not a light snack either. More of a 5 course meal. Sorry about that. Can't tell I USED to be an academic... ;)

All the best,
Daniel G. Trout
Fishmonger Media Consulting
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Old November 8th, 2010, 04:50 PM   #5
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wow daniel, thank you for such a great response!

I did not allow them to rent out the equipment because like you said, just because Uncle Harry has a camcorder does not mean he can do what we do! The$1,200 ($1,800) fee is not because of the equipment I own, but because of the degree that I have, and the knowledge, experience, quality, etc..

If we let people just rent out our stuff our profession would die completely!
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Old November 10th, 2010, 10:22 AM   #6
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I always consider what will happen if they damage the camera too? Do you (or they) have insurance to cover a mishap? Could they (or you) afford to replace? not to mention the down time you'd face while it was being the end, it's just not worth the risk.
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Old November 11th, 2010, 12:00 PM   #7
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I have the camera currently under a 5 year warrenty, and I also have it insured under my homeowners policy (5k + Ryders) it has roaming coverage that leaves my residence. What would have happened if I had rented the camera out, I would have drawn up a contract. It would hold them liable for just about everything under the sun. But I decided not to do it because of the risk of the down time in getting it fixed.
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Old November 16th, 2010, 07:48 AM   #8
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There's no way I'd let my professional gear be used by amateurs. Absolutely no way. I have rarely rented my HPX500 out, and only to trusted fellow videographers whom I've known for years.
Keep your camera out of the hands of amateurs. That's a bad combo. They can go to Wal Mart and buy a cheap video camera for a few hundred bucks.
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