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IBC 2017 – Danny’s Views

You can now read MD Danny Dawson’s views of his 2017 IBC experience on the front page of Octobers Broadcast Film & Video. If you didn’t get the hard copy, then you can check out the digital version via this link.

Danny was on location in Amsterdam to see all of the new products that were on show.



Buy or Hire?? Camera Kit for Productions

Buy or Hire???

by Mark Wilson (Manager)

As a manager at a kit hire company, one would expect me to immediately say hire, never buy. But that is not the case. Don’t get me wrong, it’s never a simple this or that answer. You always have to weigh up the pros and cons for each circumstance. Because every hire is different. It didn’t use to be though. 7 years ago when I first started in the hire industry, you had 5 items that would make up a kit and that was it. The client was happy. The booker was happy. It was an easier time. EX3, tripod, top mic, radio mic and cards. That’s the price. Done. And in that case I would say always hire. But now it’s a completely different ball game with all of the accessories and ‘build it yourself rigs’ that are available. Every shooter wants something different and this does put the pressure on the hire company to be able to stock and supply everything that is requested. So you have to take that in to account when making the decision. Can the hire company supply me with everything I need?

Of course the biggest factor in this question is cost. If you are shooting long term, would the cost of hire be as much, or more than the value of the kit to purchase. If so, then if funds are available for an outright purchase it would be a no brainer to buy, because if the kit was not needed after the production, the equipment can be sold on and you can make some of the initial outlay back. But what do you lose in buying kit, rather than hiring? The main thing would be peace of mind to know that if any issues arose with the kit while on a shoot, the hire company would replace or repair any item where a natural fault occurs, usually at little or no charge. Being able to have a technical team at the end of the phone to help with situations on location is always a bonus. Something that you may not have access to if you are not using a suppliers kit.  It’s also good to be able to build a kit list with someone who knows all of the various kit that is available. If you have a PD who is so well versed in all equipment that is on the market right now, then great. But if your PM or Coordinator is working from a loose kit list that they have to bring together for a production, being able to speak and liaise with a booker at a hire company allows for a much fuller kit list to be built.

If you do come to the point of measuring up costs between hire and purchase, do take into consideration all of the extras that may not be as obvious when purchasing. It’s not always as easy as googling the cost of a C300mkii body, lens, tripod and mic because more often than not there will be a lot of extra bits you need to purchase just to get the kit up and running. Things like batteries, memory cards, bags, grips, cables and all of the fun little bits that actually turn out to be quite expensive. Things that would normally come as standard with a kit when hiring or at a smaller price. This is again a pro to hiring, because more often or not, the little things have been thought of.

So my advice to those who are gearing up for a shoot or production and may face this question is do your homework. Get together a complete kit list of what your shooter will need and get the quotes from a hire company to rent, and sales company to buy. If the quotes come back and it’s a close call, then ask yourself, what will we do if there is a problem at any point with the kit? And can I afford to buy all of the equipment and related accessories upfront? The thought of buying and owning can be a tempting one, but from my experience of long shoots and productions is that items are constantly added during production that may not be thought of in pre-production. So purchase costs can inflate, whereas the cost to hire is often lower. And there is nothing like knowing you can call on someone to sort out any equipment problems that may arise.

TV Productions Looking to Hire Kit

To all Production Managers, Coordinators, Heads of Production and Execs looking to get kitted up for their upcoming shoot; you have found your supplier. At Alias, we pride ourselves on our personal touch. As soon as you contact us, we guide you all the way through the quotation period, to the kit arriving with you and support every aspect of your equipment hire till the end of the show. We can be reached 24 hours a day to make sure that whenever you need us, we’ll be there. You can be safe in the knowledge that if you have a question, we can answer it. If you have a request, we’ll do our utmost to fulfill it. We love getting to know those who we work with so we can truly meet and understand your needs. So whether it’s knowing you can talk to us daily, meet in person at our office or yours, or even catch up for a coffee or two we go the extra mile to make sure you trust and can rely on us.


But let’s not beat around the bush. Liking and trusting your kit supplier is one thing, budgets are another. Well we take that into consideration too. We know budgets are getting tighter and tighter so saving every penny helps. Our booking staff will work with you to help you get the best kit at the best price. Our low rates make us a great starting point anyway, but once you have built your final kit list, you’ll be able to see the saving you make and the great choice you will have made hiring from Alias.


Based in London’s East end, we operate our own delivery service in London at rates far lower than conventional courier services. If you need kit outside of London, we can always deliver using outside courier firms to reach you. We currently supply kit to the South Coast, Midlands, Leeds and Scotland. We are known Nationwide and have been operating for well over 15 years. We provide a wide range of production kit including Cameras, Lenses, Audio, Grips, Lighting as well as Drone rental and Crewing facilities.  Our main focus is being able to provide equipment to TV productions and shows shooting on cameras such as Sony PXW FS7, Canon C300 mki and mkii, Canon XF305, Sony PMW 200 and more. Our equipment room includes close to 100 cameras so if you are doing a multi camera shoot, we should be fairly well covered to supply your needs.  Our training arm, Alias Academy run practical and theory courses in production and post production throughout the year so if your shooters need a little extra tuition  before the production, we can help with that too.


We know it’s tough to use a new supplier, but we can say that if you give us a try, you won’t regret it. You’ll feel like your equipment hire requests are in good hands. We’ll look after you and make the hire process as easy and hassle free as possible. Just ask any of our longstanding clients who continue to use us no matter what production company they move to. Give us a call and see for yourself. We’re looking forward to speaking to you.