Equipment rentals is a tricky business as obsolescence is a major factor and, with the reduction of costs of some previously unaffordable equipment, many production companies buy their own equipment, reports Andy Stead.

Marius van Straaten of Visual Impact reports a change of focus in the rentals market. “The latter part of 2011 was good for us as we consolidated and rationalised our business. We stopped post-production finishing at the HDHub and sold the Baselight.

“Our focus now is to provide systems to post-production facilities and production clients from our new business unit, Visual Impact Digital Labs. This incorporates the HDHub services under the leadership of Stefan Nell, our amazing head of digital imaging.

“2012 kicked off with Master Chef South Africa; we are responsible for the cameras, technical support and post-production data management and workflow. We also have a number of international projects starting in early May.’

Popular items are the Phantom high speed camera, the onboard camera sound device Pix 240, which records 10-bit uncompressed, solid state drives and cameras, and the Go Pro HD.

Visual Impact serviced the Live Parlotones 3D concert, the Bankie 3D music video, the Kanye West music video and the Mercedes 3D commercial.

Promising year
Henk Germishuysen of Puma Video is optimistic about 2012. “It looks quite positive after a challenging 2011.

“Our hottest rental items were the Panasonic P2 cameras, Canon 5D DSLR, Sony PMW F-3 (s-35 imager) and camera accessories. Clearly the world loves big-format cameras, so we are looking into that and various new items to add value to our existing offering.’

Puma Video recently serviced Hartland, Miss South Africa, Diamond in the Rough, Pop Stars and The Big Break Legacy.

Post 2010 hype
Cam-A-Lot’s Glen Theron describes 2011 as a slow year compared to the hype of the 2010 FIFA World Cup. However, the second half of 2011 ended very well.
Says Theron: “We are looking forward to the year ahead after a fairly good start and some exciting projects, including our new branch in Lynwood, Pretoria.

“Our new arrival, the Panasonic HPX 250, has been a real winner. The ever popular Sony Z5 and Z7 cameras are always busy.

“We introduced some new LED lighting products to our shop and entered into the Canon DSLR market. Cam-A-Lot will introduce the latest fly-away multi-camera kits with a choice of the Sony EX3 or the new Panasonic HPX250 cameras. We have ordered a second unit of our popular Mini-Jib.’

Cam-A-Lot recently supplied eight Sony Z7 cameras for the kykNET series Proesstraat.

New jobs
Vanessa Yelseth of Timeframe, who was honoured with an Emmy in recognition of her contribution to the 2010 FIFA World Cup, agrees that 2011 was a challenging year.

“However we were lucky enough to get some great productions and the year turned out well. We have kicked off 2012 with some exiting new jobs.

“The Panasonic HDX900 HD Camcorder is a hot item right now, and we considering acquiring Carl Zeiss prime lenses. We are also increasing our production wing, which I will head up,’ notes Yelseth.

Some recent productions include Expedition Impossible with Mark Burnett, Bondi Vet for WTFN Entertainment, Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy for Girls for Look-alike Productions and SA Tourism for Rapid Blue.

Panavision SA MD Tony Eddy says that in general 2011 was a marked improvement on 2010, mainly due to the expansion of their digital division.

“Early indicators suggest that 2012 should see more international productions filming in South Africa,’ says Eddy. “New equipment on offer includes the RED Epic 5K, the Arri Alexa/Plus available with Anamorphic Panavision lenses and accessories and a Sony F3S upgrade.’

Timeframe’s recent productions include Safe House, The Borrowers and The Girl.

Good start
“2011 started with a bang which was pretty unusual for January and February, but then slowed down in March,’ says Camera Facilities’ Roddy Barker.

“It’s quite evident that business for the rentals sector was dreadful overall last year. Music videos have always been popular in our studio but there was a decline in shoots throughout the year.

“Our current hottest rental items are the Sony PMW- EX3 XDCAM HD and the Panasonic HPX-500 DVCPRO 50 HD. Support accessories are extremely popular. I think the 4K market is going to be the way of the future,’ comments Barker.

Diverse year
“Digitalfilm had a very successful 2011, supplying Canon 5D and 7D cameras and RED cameras to four local feature films, numerous commercials, documentaries and TV series,’ says Frank Meyburgh.

Sony XDCam HD 700 cameras were used on a variety of local and international sporting events. The hottest rental item is the Sony PMW-F3 camera kit.
“Digitalfilm is waiting for its RED Scarlet camera with PL and EOS lens mounts and our second set of RED T1.8 prime lenses. We’ve just taken delivery of 10 AC and battery powered LS AV500 and LS AV1000 LED dimmable panel lights and stands,’ concludes Meyburgh.

By Andy Stead
Screen Africa March Magazine March, 2012


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