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Covid-19 Safety Protocols

We have implemented new safety protocols for Alias for the reopening of the office following the Covid-19 lock down. The below outlines what we have implemented in house and the changes to our day to day practices to ensure our staff and clients remain safe.

  • All employees who can work from home will continue to do so. Only essential staff will operate in the office.
  • For staff who will be based in the office, PPE will be provided including gloves and masks.
  • Staff will regularly wash and or sanitise their hands.
  • Staff will follow strict hygiene practices and maintain social distancing where possible.
  • Staff who must travel to work via public transport will wear masks and gloves.
  • Equipment that is returned from hires will where possible enter into a quarantine period.
  • Equipment will be cleaned before and after hires using disinfectant spray and alcohol wipes.
  • Clients will no longer be allowed into the building when collection equipment. Equipment will be brought to the loading bay where it can then be collected by the client.
  • For anyone essential visitors entering the building, strict hygiene practices and social distancing will be observed.
  • Our office will be regularly cleaned.
  • If Alias provide any deliveries, the staff member will be wearing PPE and will not be permitted into the clients location, and transfer of goods must be made in a external location.

Please note that during these uncertain times while we return to a more normal way of working, the office will be operating on reduced hours. This means that for any last minute hires not pre booked that have to be collected while the office is closed, there will be a minimum charge hire fee of £100 + vat. This will be a short situation until we can safely bring back all of our staff and return to normal operating hours.

The Year Ahead

We’re now well into 2020 and Christmas will be here before we know it. But what does the year ahead hold for us at Alias? And what do we think will be most popular hire items?

This year we’re continuing to take active steps to become greener in our day to day operation. We feel it’s very important for everyone to lower their carbon footprint. We’ve already implemented some steps in this journey including charging for single use AA batteries in the hope that this will encourage users to move to rechargeable batteries. We’ll soon have made the switch from single use wrapping plastic to biodegradable plastic which is a big one for us. We’ve always prided ourselves on the presentation of our equipment when we deliver and having loose items wrapped lets clients know that equipment has been checked and tested before being sent to them. But the plastic that was used over the last few years has been a talking point recently and we are excited to be moving to a planet friendlier option by upgrading to a degradable option.

Also for this year, we’re planning on investing in both new equipment and new staff. We’ve already added new kit to our shelves this year with the recent purchase of multiple Aladdin LED lights, but we’ve already got our list together for the next round of purchases including the new Sony PXW-FX9 camera. Released at the end of 2019, we’re expecting the FX9 to be the next big thing on the hire market and we already have plans in place for several units to join our hire stock. Building from the popular Sony PXW-FS7 and FS7 m2, the FX9 will be the natural progression for those already familiar and using the FS7. There will be a price difference when hiring, so we still expect the FS7’s to be busy this year as they have been for the last few, but the FX9 will ramp up as the year progresses and we are very excited about this camera.

The Canon C300mkii cameras have been busy already for us this year and we expect that to continue as they are perfect for mulit camera and series shoots. They are easy to use and like the FS7’s, you can build your perfect rig to make it work for you.

We’re very excited with how the Studio at Alias has been growing in popularity. The Photography Studio Room located at our base on Well Street in Hackney is a perfect setup for those looking to do a range of shoots. Some of the types of photographic shoots that have taken place at our studio in 2019 are product photography, portraits, social media ads and even a music video. We love our little studio and we’re very excited for what shoots will take place here this year.


Ben Solo Challenge

We thought we’d have a little go at the Ben Solo Challenge that was making the rounds. How do you think we did?

The challenge had fans around the world showing off their own version of Ben Solo’s shrug from Star War The Rise of Skywalker.

Shot on the Canon C300mkii and lit with 1x Kino Flo Celeb 250 LED light. Enjoy

GoPro Hero 8

So here comes another. The GoPro Hero 8 is now out and it’s time to move to the next model already. Boy, time flies doesn’t it. Especially when it comes to GoPro. We’ll be on the 20 before we know it.

So what does the GoPro 8 offer us? Well we have the usual waterproof body, in-built stabilisation, touch screen and voice control. But what else. Well the 8 offers folding fingers on the base which means you don’t actually need to us a frame to mount the GoPro on to clamps, straps, rods and what ever other accessory you may have in your arsenal. So actually, that is pretty cool, because having to take the unit in and out of the frame did get a little tiresome when having to change batteries and cards.

But what else is there to know? The GoPro Hero 8 is waterproof to 33ft (10m). The Black Edition has three levels of stabilization — On, High and Boost—so you can pick the best option for whatever you do. You can take 12MP photos with improved HDR—while in motion or stationary—with reduced blur and serious detail even in low-light areas.

What does this mean for the rental market? Well, Alias still do very well out of the GoPro 4, GoPro 5 and GoPro 7. But we know like all new things, there will be demand to hire the GoPro Hero 8 in London. Currently we do the GoPro 4’s at £30 + vat per day, and the GoPro 5 and 7 and £50 + vat per day. Expect the GoPro Hero 8 to be at the same ball park as the 5 and 7 with those cameras even taking a reduction in the daily rental prices soon.

The GoPro 8 will be as all of the previous GoPros a much requested item on productions. What’s great is that the mounting connectors remain the same which means you can still use all of the straps and mounts we hire out.

If you need to get hold of the GoPro Hero 8 for hire in London then get in touch. We’re based in Hackney, East London and are a Camera rental company that has been around for 2 decades.

Lighting Options

Brighten up your shoot with lighting options from Alias.

As the shorter days and lack of bright sunshine kicks in for the winter period, you may need that extra little bit of light for your shoot. At Alias, we don’t just hire cameras, we try and cover everything including lighting. We have a wide range of lights to hire from small LED toplights all the way to large and powerful HMI’s for when you need that extra kick. Brands in our lighting stock include Rotolight, LitePanel, Arri, KinoFlo, F&V, Dedolight and more.

Certainly the most popular lights that we hire are the 1×1 LED Bi-Colour Panel lights that we have across 3 separate brands. These lights are easy to use, lightweight for when small shooting packages matter and can be powered by Vlock battery or mains. Oh and when you hire with Alias, we include the batteries and lighting stands at no extra cost.

If you are after something bigger, then check out our Arri HMI range. We stock the 1.2K and 2.5K HMI but we can source through suppliers very easily a whole host of Arri lighting and HMI’s.

KinoFlo Divas and 4fts are also popular with our clients, often in a studio or interview set up where you need a good balance and throw of light. If you need something soft then the Dedolight Octodome is a winner. It comes with a Tungsten and Daylight head in the kit as standard so you can choose what best suits your set up.

A brand of lighting that we absolutely love is Rotolight. A British company who work so hard in creating some of the best lights in the filming and photographic world. We stock Anovas, Anova Pro’s and Neos. If you have not tried them yet we would highly recommend that you do. When we do inhouse shoots we love using the Rotolights because not only do they give a beautiful light, but they also look beautiful so if they sneak into shot it is not a problem.

So what ever your lighting needs are for your shoot, you can probably find what you need with us. And if you can’t we can probably find it for you. So get in touch with us and let us know what lighting kit you wish to book. Or let us know what you think we should have in stock that we don’t currently have. You can check out our full list of lighting here.

Alias Hire is a camera and lighting rental company based on Well Street, Hackney in East London. We offer professional equipment and great prices and with great service. We’ve been providing kit to the Broadcast industry for 2 decades.

Sony PXW-FX9

Well, it’s happened. Sony have just announced the next big thing…maybe. The Sony PXW-FX9 is the natural progression from the camera that has dominated the handheld market for the last few years, the PXW-FS7 and PXW-FS7ii. Boasting a Full Frame 6K Sensor and 4K Recording, the FX9 ergonomically is very much born out of the FS7. The FX9 combines the technology of their Venice series, FS series and the Alpha camera creating a hybrid that could further bridge the gap between everyday TV shooting and digital cinema.

Upgrades to the FX9 include the 6K dual native ISO sensor, upgraded auto-focus ca[abilities and something that we’re very happy to hear here at Alias, built in timecode and genlock. We’ll be having a more in depth investigation into this announcement at IBC this weekend, but rumours are the units will start shipping this December. How quickly will this camera catch on in the market? Tough to say. There is not a huge need for 6K at the moment but there will always be those looking to future proof their content.

For now here is a quick look at some of the specs but expect more info next week. Stay tuned.




HDMI Output: Yes

Recording Media: SD card, XQD

Resolution: 6008×3168

SDI Output: Yes

Video Resolution: 4K

Lens Mount: Sony E

Sensor Resolution (Mega Pixels): 35.7MP

Sensor Size: S 35mm

Weight: 0-2kg

XLR Audio Input: Yes

IBC 2019

The Benefits of Trade Shows.

Are you heading to IBC in Amsterdam this weekend? We are. And we’ll tell you why. With our industry being heavily based in technology it’s important for a company like ours to make sure we stay informed and top of current trends, new equipment, new brands and new technologies. The fundamentals of making programs and films are very simple. Film, record, edit, post. But’s it’s the equipment behind those stages that are forever changing and right now in this age of rapid expansion and development, that equipment seems to have a fairly short shelf life until the next big thing comes pouring on to the shelves.

Being a hire company, we have to be both proactive, and reactionary. We have to assess what we believe will be the next hot ticket item which can often mean gambling to get ahead of the competition and be on the forefront of what every one will be demanding. And that in turn moves us nicely on to being in a reactionary business. We may see a new piece of kit or brand and think that won’t take off, but at the end of the day if the client base is calling for it, we have to be able to provide it. And that is why it’s important for Alias to stay up to date on all new releases so that we know what it is the clients are calling for.

We’re excited to see what IBC 2019 holds. We’ll be on the ground this weekend visiting the exhibitors that we know, and those that we don’t to make sure we are well versed in what is announced. If you are going to be there and want to say hello, be sure to book us in to your schedule. We’ll be roaming the floors Saturday.

Stay tuned though as next week we’ll have our report back from IBC. What excited us; what announcements were made and what new kit was released that may be of interest.

Summer Filming

It’s hot. Boy it’s super hot. I mean melting to my seat hot. But hey, the show must go on. Shoots have to be done, programs have to be made. But what do you need to think about when filming in this sort of sunshine and heat. First off, I’ll be mum and say drink plenty of water and apply plenty of sun cream. Now that is out of the way, what considerations need to be made equipment wise?

Let’s start with shading from the sun. If you are hiring kit or taking your own kit on a shoot, make sure your lenses have sunshades and if possible UV filters. ND’s wouldn’t be a bad idea either. If you are using monitors on a shoot and it’s outdoors, make sure it comes with a sunshade. In this sort of summer sun it will be a struggle to see anything without one. If you are planning on using the LCD on a camera and it does not come with an attachable eyepiece, look at getting in a sunhood. We stock a variety of sunhoods for LCD screens for cameras such as the Canon C300 and C300mkii, Sony PMW-200 and the Canon XF305.  What about bigger sun protection? We hire out EZ up tents to give the kit and crew a bit of protection when out on location.

What about when it comes to keeping cool? For this I would say, if you are planning on using lighting either inside or out at location (if needed) try going for LED over standard bulb related lights. It will cut down dramatically on the heat that the lighting equipment would kick off. We have a wide range of LED lights that you can find here.

Beyond these tips, have a few ice lollies.

Stay sun safe people.


Who Misses Simple Camera Setups?

Ops Manager Mark Wilson takes a retrospective look at what Camera Setups in hire used to be.


Who else misses the days of simple camera setups and kits like the Sony PMW EX1 and Canon XF305?

Cameras that were built for you to take straight out of the bag and press record. No fuss, just do the job. Then we had the DSLR revolution and we entered into a whole new world of cameras. The ‘body only’ camera where you buy all of your accessories separately dependent on what the user wants.

I approach this question from a kit hire perspective because that has been my world for nearly ten years. My initial answer is yes. Hell yes! I miss the simplicity of an order from a client being camera, tripod, top mic and radio mic. They were the good old days because it was all uniform and simple.

But if I was answering that question from the shooters perspective then my answer would be no I don’t miss it. We live in an exciting world where the possibilities are endless for creating an amazing camera set up, how can you not be excited about the ability to personalise what you shoot with. There are so many different companies creating bolt on accessories and lets not forget about the myriad of lenses to choose from. It really has become a big world.

However, this does cause some issues when hiring kit. Hire companies face an ongoing struggle to have in stock every camera, every lens and every accessory that every individual user wishes to use. Gone are they days of buying the same mic in bulk or the same tripod in bulk, because client 1 may not want to use what client 2 does. This is a struggle that I’m well aware of. I often get requests for the most obscure piece of kit that no one stocks. It then becomes a test to fulfill the clients needs with what is available. Thankfully at Alias, we can usually cover every aspect of what a shooter needs, even if its not the brand or style the client was originally after.

This is the camera world we now live in. Choice. It has it’s positives and it’s negatives. But we’ll keep helping to fulfill clients shooting package needs. We’ll keep offering choice as long as you keep shooting. And if you do miss the simple shooting kits, we still offer Sony PMW EX1 and Canon XF305 for hire. #workhorses

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.

Google Skate Park Ad

When Alias Hire moved to Hackney Wick we had a feeling that the area, as a whole, would eventually be something different from the time we moved in. Something more. Something better. We knew there was a migration of self expressing people to Hackney Wick. We knew that the area had seen better times in the not-too distant past and we always believed that better times were on the way. We felt that that there is not only a belief that things were turning for the better, but a whole new mindset with a drive to change the area whilst respecting the people, the buildings and the positive way of life that were here beforehand.

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