Film & Television


The Rental House Rules: How to Get the Most of Your Equipment Rental House

There is a game in the world of moviemaking that you are most certainly set up to lose.

It revolves around the never-ending battle to keep your gear current. As soon as you upgrade your camera, your sound equipment is out of date. As soon as your sound is up to the current specs, your best light blows a bulb. How does one even begin to stay ahead of the curve when a must-have product is released every week?

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On Location: Birns & Sawyer auctions its film cameras

Call it film’s last gasp.

Birns & Sawyer, the oldest movie camera rental shop in Hollywood, made history last week when it auctioned off its entire remaining inventory of 16- and 35-mm film cameras.

Owner and cinematographer Bill Meurer said he didn’t want to part with the cameras, but had little choice as the entertainment industry has largely gone digital. “People aren’t renting out film cameras in sufficient numbers to justify retaining them,’’ Meurer said in an interview at his North Hollywood warehouse, where he rents out cameras, lenses, lighting equipment and grip trucks. “Initially, I felt nostalgic, but 95% of our business is digital. We’re responding to the market.”

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It’s lights, cameras and more for filmmakers as Birns & Sawyer Hollywood rental company gets ready to auction equipment

The venerable, North Hollywood film equipment rental company is preparing for big changes next year.

Here’s a chance to get some modern moviemaking equipment with some cool Hollywood history as part of the bargain.

Birns & Sawyer, the 64-year-old camera rental operation that’s provided production gear for “Lawrence of Arabia,” “Easy Rider,” “This Is Spinal Tap” and thousands of other films, TV shows and commercials, is having another one of its deal-laden online auctions.

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