Movie Making Manual/Equipment Timeshares



Fairly early in many independent production company's lives a dilemma arises with regards to film equipment - should the company rent or buy?

Rental Purchase
Pro Con Pro Con
Don't need to pay large upfront costs. Gets expensive if you rent often. You will tend to produce more. The equipment may often sit idle.
Always get the latest equipment. You may not shoot as often. Will become very familiar with the equipment. May become outdated.
Don't need to store or maintain equipment. Don't become as familiar with the equipment. Total costs will be lower if you use it often Expensive upfront costs.
. . . Need to store and maintain the equipment.

Indy film and documentary makers need to be busier than their mainstream counterparts. Producing films at lower cost with lower margins means one needs to stay active in order to turnover enough "product" to be a viable business. This should make us more inclined toward the purchase of equipment but we are often deterred by hefty upfront costs and gear often sitting idle due to long development, pre- and post-production periods.

Some producers square the circle by purchasing equipment and renting it to other producers. This can work but the cost of marketing the service, attendant management overheads, threat of damage and distraction from the core business make this a sub-optimal solution.

This paper proposes an alternate model - collective ownership alongside an innovative financing model. Herein is a framework for a group of filmmakers or production companies to collectively purchase and share equipment. The high cost of film equipment, the cyclic nature of film production, and the collaborative nature of the industry make it well suited to such a collective.

Ebay Alternative


Find an equipment that:

  • Has been on the market for over a year
  • Is being sold on eBay
  • Has at least 10 bidders on it

Then put in the bid to buy it used. Most likely when you are done with it you can sell it back for roughly the same price you bought it for (used is used).

The longer it has been on the market and the higher the number of bidders for the item, the higher the likelihood that you will be able to sell it at the same price. Save the text and the images from the auction so you can save effort when you decide to resell the item. Also, be sure to follow the typical best practices for eBay: check the seller rating, check shipping rate, etc.