A production assistants’ guide to the camera rental house

At the recent AICP-sponsored Production Assistants seminar at Essanay, Schumacher Camera general manager James Pope offered expert advice regarding responsibilities when picking up and returning equipment.

  • Know the hours of operation for the vendor you are visiting.
  • Always ask the Prep Tech or AC if the camera magazines are loaded. If so, they need to be stored upright. Do not be afraid to ask if you are unsure which side is up.
  • If you are transporting film, it should be treated with the utmost care and kept in a cool and secure location (ideally in the front cab of the truck). A can of film will need to be replaced if it is dented.
  • Always ask if the batteries are charged or if you need to charge them. If you are not sure how to charge batteries, ask.
  • You are responsible for making sure the batteries are stored properly. They should not be left overnight in cold temperatures or they will loose their charge.
  • Do not leave equipment unattended at any time, especially when loading and unloading the truck.
  • When the vehicle is unattended, all doors should be locked.
  • Let the AC or Prep Tech know IMMEDIATELY if you drop a case. If damaged equipment is allowed to make its way to the set, the entire shoot may be delayed until it is replaced. Most Coordinators and Prep Techs will not be angry if you admit a mistake, but all will be furious if they discover you tried to cover one up.
  • Do not open any camera cases out of curiosity. Much of the equipment is extremely fragile and expensive. You should NEVER open a case unless you are charging a battery or are instructed to do so by the AC.
  • Keep your cell phone on at all times while you are on duty.
  • Gear should be returned by the designated time on the day it is due or the production company will be charged for an extra rental day. If you are delayed, let the Coordinator know as soon as possible so he or she can arrange a deadline extension.
  • When returning equipment, do not leave the camera house until the Prep Tech confirms that all cases are accounted for.

Remember. This is the communication business. Communicate! As a general rule: If you are not sure, ask.

? Copyright 2004, Schumacher Camera