We get it – as a filmmaker you're often spread out thin, overworked, underpaid and tired. It's quite possible that you're not going to be on top of your game all the time, and as a result you're bound to make some mistakes.

Most of the time, mistakes are just mistakes, and you own up to them, learn from them, and move on. However, when you're working with rental gear, mistakes made on that gear can sometimes prove to be expensive. Sometimes, carelessness with film equipment has cost some people their career and livelihood – don't let that be you!

To avoid those mistakes, here are five things you should absolutely never do when working with rental gear:


1. Not Checking The Equipment With The Team

You don't want to rent your film equipment only to find out that part of your setup isn't functioning, or isn't what was requested by the team.

It's always best to hire your crew one day before the shoot and have them test and check out what you're getting from your rental company. This would make sure that everything is exactly as expected before the day of the production.

Make sure that drone works before depending on it to film your chase scene.

Moreover, all equipment that leaves the rental house is considered to be in good condition – in the case that you don't check it and something turns out to be not working, it might be your responsibility.

2. Not Insuring Your Shoot

It will most definitely be a catastrophe if you lose or damage your rented $20,000 camera. It'll be hard to pay for, and you'll lost a ton of your savings and most of your film budget. And your crew will be pissed off.

Rental houses don't want to lose their business, or their equipment. It is for this reason that most rental houses demand that you have production insurance to cover the cost of any damage or loss to their equipment.

Moreover, even most film locations demand a COI (Coverage of Insurance) before letting you on their property.

Insurance can be expensive, so do make sure to look into the costs and deductibles for the insurance you're getting, and factor that into your budget.





3. Being Careless With The Rented Equipment

Being careless means not being careful enough.

After receiving your gear, you should take your team through a program on how to maintain and take care of the equipment that you've rented.

You don't want someone from your crew doing this with your RED Epic.

It's also not a bad idea to dedicate someone to supervise the gear at every location that you're filming at – this is particularly a good idea if you've rented some very expensive equipment.

Also be sure that no untrained personnel comes close to the equipment – people can get curious and start messing with things!

4. Taking Shortcuts During Load-In and Load-Out

We know that packing up gear is not exactly fun – but it's one of the most important tasks in regards to your gear.

You should take your time to load in and load out, and make sure that all your equipment is properly accounted for, checked and carefully put away.

Rental houses thoroughly check each rental return to make sure that every piece of rented equipment is returned and in good condition. If something is missing or broken, they will notice and charge you for it.

5. Not Double Checking All The Power Outlets

This one is more of a scouting tip than a rental tip, but it applies equally importantly for rental gear – make sure that you properly check all of the power sources that you plan to use for your equipment.

Make sure to go through the power situation with the owner or manager during your tech scout, so that you know for sure that the outlets will work with your equipment, and you don't end up damaging a costly piece of gear due to that one improperly wired outlet in the backyard.

On the same note, make sure that the power generator you're using (if you are) is a "film friendly" generator that runs at a frequency that is okay for the gear you're using.


While you can never be too careful with rented equipment, the five things above should be on your list of "don't-do's" when it comes to dealing with equipment that's not yours.

With that in mind, now go out and shoot!

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