With capital expenditure at an all-time low and 2020’s rescheduled projects hitting at the same time as two major sporting events, the rental market for specialist broadcast equipment is currently booming!
Based in London, MCR Broadcast Hire Ltd is a professional broadcast and cine equipment rental specialist. Run by Mike Ransome and his team, all of whom have many years of cumulative experience in the rental field, MCR rents broadcast equipment such as fibre cam racer systems, broadcast video RF kit in a box, radio mics and comms to large box lenses, ENG lenses and EVS server systems. Camera channels such as the 4300 4K, a large variety of camcorders, including the new Sony PXW-Z750, a huge range of lenses including the Canon CN series, not to mention media storage, tripods, lighting and comms equipment are also available to rent out of MCR’s extensive inventory.
MCR has a diverse client base comprising OB companies, major production studios such as the BBC and ITV, specialist technical AV companies, DOPs and ENG camera people. The company’s dry hire capabilities allow customers to take advantage of a vast range of broadcast technology.
But why should these companies rent the kit in? What’s in it for the clients?
“Production studios generally cater for around five or six cameras per studio, but if they have a 12 camera shoot booked in one of them it can leave productions short,” explains Ransome. “That’s fine if they only have that one big job but if other shoots are also booked in you need the kit available. There’s no point in having equipment just sitting there and waiting for the peak business points, so that’s where they rent in. In fact, most companies that rent from us do so to complement their own supplies, but even then there are times clients need the best, the latest, or the most appropriate product or maybe just additional kit for a specific production. That’s when rental outfits like ours come in.”
It’s not just studios that need an increased level of kit at times. While major events such as the Olympics only happen every four (or five) years, there aren’t many in the industry that have the amount of kit to cover 20+ venues for the relatively short time period that the Games are on. Add in scheduled productions, corporate events, product launches, shows and other productions, plus those that have been rescheduled over the past couple of years – it’s a great deal of pressure on production companies to ensure they have the equipment they need to fulfil these broadcast requirements.
“No one owns that amount of kit that’s needed for just a couple of weeks every few years,” adds Ransome. “And it’s not surprising that they don’t. The investment that’s needed to have that level of technology sitting in your company, not to mention the subsequent depreciation or how quickly technology moves on, means that renting the kit makes perfect sense. We invest so others don’t have to.”
And it’s the investment in the equipment and the latest technology that makes the best rental companies stand out. “It’s not just about having a certain number of cameras or lenses. It’s about having the right cameras and variety of lenses and all the other kit that goes with it, such as media storage, cabling, transmitters, comms etc, that people need to hire. There are also broadcast trends that we need to be aware of. We have seen strong growth in cinematic shoots with many productions seeking the cine look using outside broadcast techniques,” Ransome explains.
But what happens if the rental company runs out of kit? MCR prides itself on having some of the most knowledgeable and experienced dry hire specialists in the industry, handling the logistics and infrastructure in this fast-paced industry.
Ransome says it’s all about the planning: “It’s knowing how to turn around perfectly prepped kit, ready to go straight out of the box. Planning is key to ensure we have the right kit, in the right place at the right time. We know that the kit our clients hire from us has to be faultless, be properly maintained, be tested and ready to use right out of the flight case! And we also understand that it has to be cost-effective. At MCR we guide all our clients on the complete working solutions that are right for the project AND the budget.”