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Time for Shooting People to Block Must-Have Equipment Posts.

This was never a problem on this site, but I've noticed its becomeing more common recently.

Maybe with the possible exception of sound recordists, film crew should not be blocked if they are skilled and talented from taking on projects because they are not wealthy enough or do not have storage-space for equipment, which in this industry is very expensive and a big responsibility (believe me as someone who owns kit, its like another job).

I am seeing rates being floated on this site that include providing kit which are poverty rates. The rates are not just below the minimum wage but actually in the full 'negative,' because the going rates for equipment (which in the long run has to cover purchase, insurance, up-keep) would exceed the rates being floated here, which are also supposed to include a day rate.

Sometimes shooting projects for free is okay, its small and everyone is learning but we should not expect people to spend thousands to gain opportunity. It is ethicaly wrong on so many levels, Shooting People and its users need to stamp it out.

  • I think I agree.

    One way to finesse would be to state the budget number assigned to providing kit OR that "producer has arranged kit".

    It would make some people think about what they can actually afford to shoot.

    1 month ago
  • There's no one size fits all in this matter. In house 'legislation' would be a blunt Instrument. If someone posts a request for a camera crew, with all their own equipment suggesting that the crew actually pay the producer for the privilege,it would, under most circumstances, be manifestly preposterous. Anyone taking up the offer would either be daft or have a reason for doing so.

    No one is forced to entertain such offers. There's kit owning crafts people who take pleasure in supporting low and micro budget projects. Most likely such barrel scraping productions would be unable to pay proper rates anyway. So there's nothing lost to those who won't work for little or nothing.

    Generally people get the quality they pay for, or do they?

    A couple of decades ago the cost of viable production equipment was much greater than the options we have today. Good broadcast standard equipment is now literally a fraction of the price and better than what we had to invest in the past. I'd go so far as to suggest that viable equipment is not as much of an investment issue except for those who have bought megabuck cameras etc., and are put out by the existence of cheaper technology that can be especially annoying by being better.

    As with the Emporers new Clothes the margin of difference between £25k kit and £2k kit has narrowed to academic subjectivity. It's not how big it is that matters as much as what is done with it.

    1 month ago
  • Well something has to be done, otherwise the problem gets worse. The bar has to be set somewhere and I feel as an experienced crew member and kit owner, getting a job should not be dependent on your personal wealth to be able to provide equipment for free.

    For many Shooting People posters its naivity, they think they can't afford to rent some equipment, they think it will be hard to get insurance. When in reality, these costs can be small, smaller than a badly planned takeaway order for a crew - I've litterally seen £150 Domino Pizza orders on shoots because nobody planned the lunch - hire of a decent Sony camera is less now.

    Its only going to get worse, unless we set a standard, otherwise Shooting People will get caught up in a race to the bottom.

    I respectfully disagree that kit is cheaper. Yes in terms of camera that seems true, but cameras are only in vougue for 1-4 years these days, they require an infinite accessories that haven't got cheaper. 10 years ago a cinematographer could buy an older Aaton Super 16mm camera and shoot every project on it with one zoom (the kit costing them £8-15k), when they wanted to upgrade they could sell the camera close to what they purchased it for. By comparison a fully kited out 5Dii kit (the camera only costing $2.5k) would cost about £11k, selling a 5Dii camera today would get you £200-ish. Then you're also expected to haave a comprehenisve lens set, my PL primes cost as much as a BMW, but then clients want anamorphic which is Astin Martin levels of investment! Unlike a sound recordist who works on same mixer for 5-10 years, or a composer who work on one home set-up for several years - every shoot asks for different camera an Alexa for drama, Red for highspeed etc... and thats before we even get into lighting!

    Personally I just feel posted jobs and opportunities should just be that, jobs and opportunties. Let the production work out what it can afford.

    1 month ago
  • Molly from SP here. Thanks for bringing this up. It's really interesting hearing both sides. Whilst some Shooters use SP to work collaboratively on very low budget productions, other Shooters may well have the means to pay for kit. We want to make sure that SP is open to everyone but we also want to encourage best practice and paying for crew and kit hire when possible. We'll definitely think more about how we can update the Production pages, it might mean that Shooters negotiate privately about equipment. It's really helpful to have this feedback so that SP can work the way that's most helpful to the community. Thanks, Molly

    4 weeks ago
  • Thanks Molly, I think that you have suggested the common sense remedy very convincingly.

    4 weeks ago
  • Hi Molly, thanks for taking this matter seriously and I do love the Shooting People commmunity. I think the key thing you mentioned here is 'other Shooters may well have the means to pay for kit' - currently a number of posts are fishing for kit owners to subsidise their shoots - this obviously discrimates against those who are not lucky enough to own equpment, despite them patiently investing time and money learning their craft. Unless you are shooting for more than 30 days per year with exactly the same piece of equipment it is always more cost effective to rent (a crude rule of thumb I know). This is true even on very low budget productions now Fatlama is about. Lets make Shooting People a great place to share talent, not a place to shop for cheap equipment hire. :)

    3 weeks ago
    • That's precisely the same position you took originally Andy.

      People are free to do as they want in this matter. Every circumstance is unique. Enacting regulations in the manner you might deem fit won't work and has the hint of beneficial interest about it. Owners of equipment are not the only people who have rights.

      3 weeks ago
    • I don’t know why I’m having to defend my position on this matter, but it has been formed over 10 years, and is not to protect the owners of equipment: By comparison it is to protect filmmakers from the pressure of owning equipment, unnecessarily.

      Young cinematographers (and other filmmakers) who may have already spent thousands to learn their skills don’t always have the money to buy equipment.

      This has been a longstanding problem on the OTHER big filmmakers site; a few years ago a group of talented DPs did a big walk out from that site because over the course of a year every single Cinematographer job posted included kit as a requirement.

      This is discrimination against talented people who can’t afford to own equipment.

      Considering that there are multiple ways of renting equipment, there is no need to own camera and lighting equipment. Unless you are using it so regularly it makes good economic sense.

      Its also morally questionable for filmmakers who won’t or can’t pay rental for equipment to make someone else provide it with them for free. Especially when rental for a DSLR with lens could be as little as £25 a day.

      After a collaboration is formed, if someone offers to bring their own equipment or drops the day rate to pay for a better camera that’s between them.

      John’s accusation that any regulation would benefit equipment-owners is incorrect, I do not understand this thinking at all. It is to stop everyones’ profiles being reduced to what they can afford to own.

      Without regulation, its a race to the bottom, the good natured spirit of the Shooting People community has restricted this bad practice till now, that could change.

      And when is zero regulation a good thing? Employment, environmental regulations all help to keep us safe.

      3 weeks ago
  • I don’t know why I’m having to defend my position on this matter, but it has been formed over 10 years, and is not to protect the owners of equipment: By comparison it is to protect filmmakers from the pressure of owning equipment, unnecessarily.

    Young cinematographers (and other filmmakers) who may have already spent thousands to learn their skills don’t always have the money to buy equipment.

    This has been a longstanding problem on the OTHER big filmmakers site, a few years ago a group of talented DPs did a big walk out from that site because over the course of a year every Cinematographer job posted included kit as a requirement.

    This is discrimination against talented people who can’t afford to own equipment.

    Considering that there are multiple ways of renting equipment, there is no need to own camera and lighting equipment. Unless you are using it so regularly it makes good economic sense.

    Its also morally questionable for filmmakers who won’t or can’t pay rental for equipment to make someone else provide it with them for free. Especially when rental for a DSLR with lens could be as little as £25 a day.

    After a collaboration is formed, if someone offers to bring their own equipment or drops the day rate to pay for a better camera that’s between them.

    John’s accusation that any regulation would benefit equipment-owners is incorrect, I do not understand this thinking at all. It is to stop everyones’ profiles being reduced to what they can afford to own.

    Without regulation, its a race to the bottom, the good natured spirit of the Shooting People community has restricted this bad practice till now, that could change.

    And when is zero regulation a good thing? Employment, environmental regulations all help to keep us safe.

    3 weeks ago
    • Are you suggesting therefore Andy that members should be banned from asking for people with equipment? Or that requests for people with equipment should include a specific fee structure separating that for the person from that for the equipment?

      I have many a time lampooned preposterous expectations posted here where some budding film maker has asked a lot for a little. Especially when their delusions of grandeur are revealed in their narrative.

      But it still comes down to choice and unique circumstances. Regulations as suggested won't work, on a number of levels. Much of the activities here are, despite occasional delusions, experimental exercises with weak or non existent prospects of financial reward, even if such exercises can and often do lead to future success.

      Framing the issue as having the same conciderations as fundamental societal structures such as defence, law and the protection of the environment and public safety seems to me to be self evidently absurd.

      As a production and facilities company since 1985, during which we have invested well into six figures on the various technologies that have evolved over the decades, I don't waste emotional energy on lamenting the loss of a business model that once majored on having expensive equipment. We don't seek to be employed by young beginners trying to make films with micro budgets, but we might and do sometimes give a helping hand.

      Having well provinanced skills is an advantage for you. It provides for opportunities that others don't have. You don't need to sell yourself cheap. You can explore business models that others can't. Letting the beginners and chancers duck and dive at the bottom of the gravey train ought not have much or any detriment to the business models that you can pursue.

      You know where to get any equipment and get a deal and can offer a service with or without equipment on that basis.

      The business of the business requires as much creativity and skill as does the art of the business.

      3 weeks ago
  • The emergence of very high quality DSLRs and 4K, and even 6K camcorders in the £3,000 to £6,000 range, that equal or better relatively recent mega buck types is a part of this discussion. Camera people who have kit based on these types and who have achieved a greater degree of expertise in their use through having it 24/7, are often able to offer a service or collaboration that makes the difference for low budgets, and quite frankly for even high end broadcast.

    I don't imagine that the requirement for all inclusive kit owning camera people deals are common for commercially viable features being shot on megabuck types.

    It's a revolution that began with the first DV camcorders and especially after the introduction of Sony's ubiquitous HDV Z1. The unstoppable march of these low cost user friendly types shows no sign of abating. Together with similar evolutions of editing and post production tools, we're already in the era of revolutionary business models constrained by little other than creativity and the locations and number of people involved.

    SP is not all about dramatic features and shorts, even if one can be forgiven for imagining that one's own generic interests are a generality. Factual and documentary has always been a big thing here, and is on the rise in terms of commercially viable production. Such considerations play into this conversation too.

    3 weeks ago
    • John I feel like this ‘kit is cheaper now’ argument you keep bringing up is a bit of a red-herring, yes some kit is cheaper, as well as better and easier to use….however some things are still expensive, accessories, lights, grip - just one thing, the lowest end yet usable tripod, with a professional fluid head is at least £1.5k , more than a typical DSLR

      I appreciate that is nothing compared to the cost of setting up say a tape to tape editing suit back in the day, but also having such an exclusive set up would be a draw then, a quantifiable investment to be rented out.

      Hence why the ‘democratisation’ of kit has a sting in its tail. In the past a business loan would have allowed you an Arri SRIII or a DigiBeta and then you were suddenly a serious operator supplying £50-120k worth of equipment, you would (providing your not a personal turn-off for some reason) be in demand, and you would have maybe get a solid 5 years of use out of that kit - by comparison someone owning a Sony A7S is in a very crowded market. A crowded market with people constantly willing to work without covering their kit costs, and also providing the next ‘amazing camera,’ with new cameras literally getting released every month.

      When I started shooting corporate in the days pre DSLRs, pay was about £300-350 per day and the kit would be hired in (usually DVcam to EX1s) Five years later when I owned a Canon 7D I was getting the same day rate but I was expected to provide the 7D in my day rate, however it easily cost me £6k to kit out that camera as a shooting kit.

      I feel really bad now for all those graduates who are now being sent out with student loans of £50k and are now expected to at least own a top end DSLR and a collection of lenses and more.

      2 weeks ago
  • I think, like everything, you have to let and let live. If they want a cinematographer who's not very good, but has his own kit, over someone who has no kit, but the skills, talents beyond most others, then it's their loss for choosing kit over talent.

    I remember people always asking from ten years plus ago, "do you have your own kit?" Hiring someone who's possibly clueless just because they've got a camera, I know I would not want to work on that production. Yes there are some that can't afford kit, but they will find work if they have skills and are determined, no one should, would or could stop them from achieving their goals.

    Do not worry about some and concentrate on others, if a really good production comes up, and they say they want you to have your own kit, then it's most likely not that good a production to begin with, and if it is good, if they just accept the only person that applies because they have kit, I expect the quality wont be as they first hoped.

    Good luck to all ;-)

    3 weeks ago
    • The problem is with ‘Live and Let live’ is its essentially allowing things to progress in its current course, and it does feel like this is getting worse, (though its always been there) as people expect people to provide them ever changing on-trend kit - essentially the situation becomes more exploitative, especially as young filmmakers are now burdened with terrible student loans, rent etc…

      And the reality is there is no reason why people need to use other members for kit. Use Shooting People to connect with talent and talent only - then its a good healthy environment.

      If yon’t have any money for equipment, approach rental companies: some will say no but some will have older equipment collecting dusts on shelves and they will be keen to connect with fresh talent. Older Red and Arris, first generation big-chip Sonys, slightly older Black Magics or DSLRs are cameras that never go out anymore. Even with lenses a typical rental company will have a set of unpopular lenses on the shelf that nobody rents, or use old stills lenses etc.

      2 weeks ago
  • Andy, another thing is, you say some people might not be able to afford kit or store it, therefore they lose out on the chance of the job. Maybe it's the same for the people trying to make the production, they might not be able to afford to hire or buy kit as well, therefore can only make a productions by these means? Not everyone has thousands, millions to splash out like big production companies. I would always put talent over kit, but some people are desperate and just want to make, or create something ;-)

    Don't worry, something good will come your way.

    3 weeks ago
    • It ought not be presumed that people who own equipment are lacking skills. I've worked with and hired award winning camera people who not only had their own equipment but had the best of it too.

      Sweeping generalisations and just saying stuff is not enough to base policy on.

      3 weeks ago
    • Lance, I see your point you are trying to make, but think about what you just wrote here for a second: A person who has no money (not even £35 to hire a DSLR) wants to make a film, ignores all the talented people without kit (in the same financial state as he/she is), so he can use people who have to spend £1000s on equipment and have them work for free with their investment for him for a 10 hour day or so… How is that reasonable or logical thing to do?

      And there are better alternatives, when they connect with other creatives they can think about how to find kit for their shoot, the DOP may really fall in love with the script and borrow kit from a friend or a supportive rental company.

      Your suggestion is also not a good situation for the director/filmmaker - the amount of power a DOP providing kit has over new/novice filmmakers is incredible and the power dynamic is very destructive. The amount of times when I’ve been teaching I have had students tell me some real horror stories. At least twice I had to advise filmmakers to drop DOPs who were refusing to participate in planning meetings or even a reccy, because they see them selves as to valuable or critical to replace.

      2 weeks ago
  • Indeed the applicant makes up their own mind about accepting a job based on the ad don't they? You really need oversight?
    ...On a similar note, I put up a thousand of my own money to shoot a few scenes for a talented young actor of colour who had no showreel. I requested help from the community here, and Shooting people would not post some of my requests for crew, citing payment. It was for one afternoon in north London, with food and expenses, a Covid super and most equipment was supplied -- and it was for a kid's showreel. No commercial viability at all.
    But they refused, and we had to pull the plug. They stopped this lad from getting a start. I've been on the site for 20 years - I make feature films, I offer internships, and paid work to people - yet due to their attitude I'm letting my membership expire.
    I think the thin end of the wedge is gating fatter every day. I'm a grown-up. I can make my own decision about taking a job or not. I have faith others can too. But hey, that is just my opinion, I could be wrong. :-)

    2 weeks ago
    • I don't understand why this situation happened: you had a budget ample for a micro crew for an afternoon, shooting people allows low rates, I'm not sure what was the ussue?

      2 weeks ago
  • Hi all, just to update you on our side. We are currently working on the production pages that will make it clear that directors/producers will need to negotiate for kit hire directly with their crew. We'll update you again once it's all in place. Thanks, Molly

    2 weeks ago
  • Andy, thank you so much for posting this. I absolutely agree with everything you said. I am actually amazed that anyone contradicted you.
    As a DoP who doesn’t have expensive equipment I often wonder if my application is even taken seriously when there are so many jobs requiring expensive equipment.
    John, regarding your claim that DSLRs are really cheap these days, while a few thousand pounds is cheap compared to an Alexa and some cine lenses for most up young DP who are trying to make a living freelancing and might even have day jobs a few thousand pounds is a lot of money!!! Also, so many producers and directors who post here don’t actually know anything about camera kit beyond Alexa and Red are great. Sometimes they ask for those specific camera models even though there is simply no reason why the job could not be shot on something else. As Andy says, it is truly a race to the bottom. And Andy isn’t saying that people who own kit as not talented just that lack of money to buy it shouldn’t stand in the way of you getting a job, but it does and it’s unfair for anyone who doesn’t have a lot of money.
    Molly, I think your suggestion that this should be negociated privately between members is a copout. It’s like saying it’s not our problem and we don’t want to get involved. This should be regulated.
    And the whole mentality of not applying for anything that doesn’t require kit, there are hardly any jobs like that because people have grown to simply expect it and they now believe that it’s the DPs JOB to bring kit to the set and that that’s the value they provide to the production when it really should be about doing a good job.

    7 days ago
  • Allowing people to negotiate lawful terms of contract is not a cop out, it's virtually a constitutional imperative. If people are unable to discern quality over price they'll either learn or fail.

    The problem with the umbrage presented here is the presumption to know what other people are doing and the dodgy notion that forcing others to comply with ones subjective reality is virtuous.

    One ought not take ones own case for a generality.

    Other realities are available.

    6 days ago
  • John, we're not taking our own cases for generality. As already clearly stated I am a cinematographer and kit owner meanwhile Anca a younger DOP doesn't have kit.. but we are both concerned by this growing problem.

    Stop using flamboyant language to bulldoze our lived experiences.

    And just compare it with other situations, if I put out an advert for a 'Gaffer must have own 18k' or a 'Grip must have a pee-wee and 30' of track', every gaffer and grips branch would be black-listing me.

    5 days ago
  • That's the point, there's a great diversity of 'lived experiences', as many as there are people.

    As I said, other realities are available.

    5 days ago
  • So you're ignoring the experiences of Anca and myself because we are not ALL the experiences John.

    And we're not exaclty holding a view in contrast with the majoirty of cinematographers who use the site, many of home I chat to at industry events.

    Do nothing, encourage exploitation on Shooting People...

    5 days ago
  • Legislation and policy making within a community is challenging where blunt rules lack the nuances and depth of reasoning necessary. Even the government with its massive intellectual and professional resources seems unable to rise to the level of sentientness required to make rules that actually achieve their manifestly one sided ambitions.

    Theres lots of small print and law needed to cover all the angles. Blunt rulings, as I suspect SP is learning, can be fraught with undesired consequences.

    Perhaps Andy, you might be able to suggest the sort of nuanced legislative structure that would satisfy your aspiration to regulate the way some film makers do business.

    I've been posting here for many years. I've lost count of the number of times I've lampooned preposterous requests for crews, with and without kit. If someone wants someone else to do a job in a manner that lacks practical grace and reveals delusions of reality and grandeur, then it'll be manifest to all but the most naive and unlearned.

    4 days ago