Good production generally requires good equipment. Whether you are shooting video, photography, or handling audio, you need gear that can get the job is done properly or you’ll be pulling your hair out when you try to “fix it in post.”
But good equipment can also be quite expensive. Not everyone has the capital to build out an extensive production rig. Luckily, there are several online resources to rent the equipment that you need for your productions.
Equipment rental is not only a good way to save on upfront costs, it can also be handy for trying a piece of gear before you decide to invest in a purchase. Here are some of the resources that we’ve found for renting equipment online.
Don’t let the name fool you here. Borrow Lenses does offer a wide range of lenses to rent, but their inventory runs a lot deeper.
Borrow Lenses is a rental site offering up just about everything you could need for a photography shoot of any kind, as well as loads of equipment for video, and some audio gear as well.
They operate on a rental schedule that includes 3, 7, 10, and 14-day options. Rentals are packaged and delivered to you with a return label. The rental begins at the first delivery attempt and the items need to be picked up by the shippers before the end of the rental term to avoid late fees.
To make things easier, Borrow Lenses has a set of packages available specifically for certain settings like weddings, portraits, and sports. Each package may include a camera, lenses, tripod, SD cards, and other accessories. This can be super helpful if you aren’t quite sure what you need to get started.
But if you do know specifics, or if you only need particular items, Borrow Lenses has great search options and a good filtering system to help guide you towards your exact needs. You can pick up a single lens, a set of lights, a table dolly, or even unload $2,450 for a 7 day rental of the RED Weapon 6K Dragon Sensor Camera.
Borrow Lenses also changes out older gear for new from time to time and they sell the used items on their site. So, it’s also a great place to pick up used equipment, maybe even items that you’ve rented in the past.
ShareGrid offers a different kind of rental experience by connecting owners of equipment with local professionals who want to rent. The service is currently available in Los Angeles and New York, but the team is planning on expanding to other cities soon.
The premise behind ShareGrid is that there is already a load of great equipment in the hands of creatives in cities around the country and around the world. And those creatives aren’t using their equipment all the time. So, they might as well make a little money renting out their gear to other professionals.
ShareGrid makes the process comfortable and painless by offering insurance coverage to the equipment renters. They also allow owners and renters to arrange their own rental schedules and pick up times, and locations where they can meet in person to make sure everyone is comfortable.
ShareGrid simply sets up the transactions and takes a cut for their services. It’s a bit like Air BnB for production equipment. It remains to be seen how big ShareGrid can get and just how much equipment could be available, but it’s a unique approach to equipment rental that could really take off.
Lens Pro To Go is a full-service equipment rental site along the lines of Borrow Lenses. Lens Pro offers up everything from camera bodies and lenses to stabilization equipment, audio gear, and video and lighting tools.
They too offer packages for those in need of a complete setup. Packages are available for weddings, travel, sports, and a few other options and generally include a camera and a range of lenses.
All of the equipment at Lens Pro To Go can be rented a la carte as well. Items can be selected through category filters or direct search.
One of the unique features of the Lens Pro site is the complete customization of the rental schedule. By simply clicking start and end dates for your rental, the entire pricing of the site will update based on your request. If you aren’t sure what dates you’ll need, but you know how many days, you can also set a specific amount of time. This can be super handy for comparing on the fly. Note, that there is a minimum of 4 days for the pricing. Setting a schedule of 1 or 2 days will give you the same price as a 4 day rental.
You can use the Lens Pro To Go website or their iPhone app to set up orders. The rental period begins with the first delivery attempt and needs to be picked up within 24 hours of the rental end.
Lens Pro also offers a used gear section for some of their older items as well as a range of gift cards for the production professional in your family or circle of friends.
Another peer-to-peer equipment rental service is KitSplit. With equipment available in 500+ cities and thousands of members, KitSplit claims to be “the world’s largest peer-to-peer lending community for the camera and video equipment.”
KitSplit’s focus is on local markets meaning they offer on-demand local delivery and pick-up options. Look up specific equipment based on your location and the dates you are looking to rent. Once you find what you need, you can get in touch with the renter and arrange for pickup and return of the items.
Like with AirBnB, KitSplit incorporates a rating system for both equipment owners and renters so that the entire community can better understand who is good to work with and who is not. They pre-screen all new members to verify that they were not scammers. And they offer afforable insurance for equipment owners in the event that gear gets damaged or stolen.
Renting in a peer-to-peer network can also have the advantage of meeting local creators who might have valuable information to share like how to best use the equipment or where to find good crew.
With the growing number of cities and Camera Lends recent nationwide roll-out, it’s worth taking a look at their offerings.
As the world shifts more and more to online, more resources like these pop-up. It’s now possible to outfit your entire production with rental gear that can be delivered right to your door. It’s a great way to practice working with new equipment and save some bucks along the way.