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( ͡° ͜ʖ ͡°) Quick Question on DP Rates

Is it okay for my cinematographer to be asking me to pay to rent their equipment from them while they're shooting for me? Just asking because I don't totally understand how they are paid in the business if their using their own tools. It makes sense, but the price goes way up. I know people get weird about money so I don't mean to offend anyone by this post.
It is standard for a PSM (Production Sound Mixer) to charge rental on the equipment s/he provides. The rental fees will be substantially less than if it was obtained from a rental house. In addition, the PSM will be intimately familiar with their own equipment.

Keep in mind that professional equipment for almost every craft is EXPEN$IVE!!! A "Hollywood" sound cart can easily top $50k. And every year there is something new that you want to add or need to upgrade. Plus there are expendables (batteries, cabling, etc.) plus wear & tear and insurance. It is not unreasonable when you consider that s/he also has to pay income taxes, health insurance, etc. out of their day rates. It is mostly an accounting thing anyway, so instead of $600/day you pay $500/day plus $100/day for the rental.

I'm sure that the same type of situation applies for DPs.
I'm sure that the same type of situation applies for DPs.
Yes. Same for Gaffers, Grips, Camera Assistants, Standby props etc.

The equipment is expensive to purchase and maintain.
But you can certainly negotiate a deal with anyone you like to try and bring the cost down. Some people would rather work for a little money in their downtime just to be working, others would prefer to save the equipment wear and tear.


IndieTalk Founder
Staff Member
If you need perspective, think of it this way. If they did not own their own equipment or the equipment you wanted, you'd be paying a rental house. Since they do own it, you are paying them. Usually less, but they paid a lot for their kits and there's wear and tear and the upkeep of gear, etc.