1 June 2018
I recently filmed a stage show in Ireland. I needed a Canon 5D Mk III to match the one the client was supplying. But renting from a commercial hire company would have broken the budget.
Instead, I used Fat Lama. It’s a peer-to-peer rental site: you hire gear from other filmmakers or photographers. I got a 5D (Fat Lama’s most popular SLR), two lenses, remote and 32Gb card from a filmmaker living a couple of miles away. The transaction was very straightforward. I had to upload a copy of my ID to sign up and they phoned me at home to check me out. The kit was in excellent condition, but a week’s rental cost me about the same as a day would have cost from a hire company. (I’m in a small city; prices in cities with a bigger media industry are higher, but they still seem to be around 50-70% of commercial hire rates.)
For borrowers, Fat Lama is a great way to get access to gear you wouldn’t otherwise be able to afford. And it’s an affordable way to try out equipment you’re thinking of buying. You can get all kinds of kit: still and video cameras, lenses, tripods, stabilisers, wireless microphones, drones and more.
For lenders, it lets you make money out of gear that would otherwise be sitting on a shelf. And it can also help you justify big camera purchases, especially if you’re in a big city like London or New York. Fat Lama claim that you can recoup the purchase price of a Canon C200, their most popular cinema camera, with 30 days hire.
The guy I hired the 5D from said Fat Lama was working well for him, and they provide insurance cover up to $30,000/£25,000. So I’m planning to start renting out some of my own underused equipment.
Fat Lama operates in the UK and the US. If you use this link to sign up you’ll get a $25/£25 credit.
I teach all kinds of people to make films. I provide training for businesses, arts organisations, nonprofits and education. I’ve worked on film education projects with Apple Education, the British Film Institute, Film Education, Film: 21st Century Literacy and many more. My publications include Making Movies Make Sense and Editshots.