I rented for 5 years. Tried all kinds of gear out. Either I would get a kit from a rental house here in SLC, or the production had gear and wanted me to operate it.
Eventually, I got sick of going through kits the night before. Making trips to pickup kit. Finding out broken things, or missing things. Or just the fact that there was a lot of tools out there that made my job easier but didn’t come with the rental kit.
Would I take it back? No. I believe I was able to gain knowledge of the industry and tools before I made a significant investment such as this.
So I decided after 5 years or so I was going to make the investment and get myself something personalized.
i took out a small loan and got most everything that I thought would make me money. I also had the mind set that I would rent out my investment when I didn’t have booked gigs. Turns out I don’t like lending or rent to people and like to keep my gear to myself. It’s always how I left it and the money I was getting for renting vs the headaches wasn’t worth it to me. I’ll sometime lend or rent something that doesn’t really compromise what I do too much but this is rare and mostly to friends I trust.
You have to do the math. What kind of gear fee do you collect a day? How many days a week are you booking? How long will it take for that gear to pay for its self? How long will the gear last you before it’s obsolete.
The answers are hard to nail down sometimes and you have to trust your gut. My advice is to rent for a while, build up a clientele, figure out what gear works for the type of work you want to do and the type of work that has money and is paying. At the end of the day, at least for me; I have kids to take care of.
I will say that I’ve jumped brands a few times now and my tastes have changed. My work type has changed. The people that want me to do their sound work have changed.
When I buy gear it’s for 3 reasons.
1 Does this take stress and worry away from my job. In a sense does this make my job easier?
2 Does the client like this? Some clients need to be impressed. Some like one sound mixer over the other for the type of experience they give.
3. Does it get more weight off my body. Look I’m 34. I’m still young to a lot of other people, I have no business complaining except that I am thinking about myself in the future. The less physically demanding on your body the better it is for you and the easier it’s going to be to do your job. I’m a big believer in small and light.
In my experience, most jobs need 3 wires or so and a boom. I have 8 wireless talent Tx, Two boom mics (one for interior and one for exterior, but both can play nicely in both environments) , and 3 boom poles.
One long internal cable-less light weight expensive pole for narrative wireless boom work.
One super compact, but not too short pole to bring on the plane with me.
And one coiled internal cable middle ground for run and gun reality/doc.
I have one C stand and Shot bag. Gonna buy one more of each.
i use a wireless TC system and can plant boxes on 3 cameras and jam additional ones.
I have a wireless TC smart slate.
My hops and IFB can be one or the other and I have 9 of those.
I have one ENG breakaway cable.