Pros in LA who already have a lot of contacts and are established will make their money back lickety-split. Noobs and people in remote cities will take longer to earn back 30K.
Trying to discuss rental rates is somewhat pointless. We've all tried it here before and it didn't work out so well. Prices vary from one market to another. Around my area, $250/day will barely get you an HVX and one or two P2 cards, no support, etc.. I can find RED rentals cheaper in LA or places where the cameras are more plentiful, but by the time I pay for insured shipping here and back, I don't save any money unless I'm doing a long-term rental.
If someone wants to essentially whore-out their camera kit for below market rates, that's their business. I don't see it working out too well for them in the long term. It will take more rentals and more wear and tear on their equipment to pay it off. The real benefit to a good rental house is what others have said. Good service and expertise to go along with the gear. I've looked at renting out my gear and I can't make the numbers work in my area. I can make more money by picking up the camera a couple days a week and shooting stock or putting my effort into finding work that goes beyond just supplying a camera and being someone's tech / DIT / AC / set-monkey. There's not a huge amount of that sort of work in this state anyway.
As far as paying off my RED investment... Every time I shoot a video of my kids in 4K, like my son's 3rd birthday, or my daughter's ballet recital, I feel as if the camera has paid for itself. But that's just me. If we want to talk about actual billings and collecting funds from clients to recover the monetary investment, that differs too. I think I've recovered a bit more than half the cost of the RED One body with what I've billed for using it. Realistically, it will probably take me a good year from receiving all my RED kit to come close to paying it off and lately I haven't been using it that much. At least not on paying gigs, my current projects involve other equipment. I don't make it a habit to buy equipment that won't pay for itself within 12 to 18 months, but with the RED I bought it anyway. Although, I don't think I'll have a problem with it returning the investment, even with very light professional use in the 2.5 months I've owned it.
There are a few points that stand against all this.
1. The Red one camera was created to be a motion picture camera, to create images for the big screen. That's how it was presented >>> 4K!!!
2. However, from what I read people are having it to shoot their kids and family?... they have in hand a powerful tool but not more than ... to have the feeling that they are part of the desirable glamorous Hollywood-Motion-Picture-industry...?
3. The motion picture industry was in the last 30-40 years a rental market.
4. Flooding the market with more than 4000 Red one cameras that are still in the process of building (15, 16, 17...) doesn't work for this kind of industry.
5. Working on two other models (Scarlet and Epic) while the first camera is still struggling to survive doesn't help.
I had this argument with other owners before, I quoted big rentals house, users attacked me for that because they don't like to hear that.
There is a big chance that in a few years 4000 people will have a camera in their hand and will be able to do nothing with it.
If you look at the history of the film you will find tens of formats from 9.5mm 17mm 20 something mm, 3 x projections, 360 degrees projections with syncronized 11 projections, drive-in movies etc that are nothing today. When it is film it is still 35mm mostly.
I hope I am wrong but I maybe right big time.
It pays back the investment:
If you are a independent with long term projects and would spend otherways a lot of money to rent equipment,
if you have one or two client who want a pub on 35mm (and are ready to give you the same amount of money, even you do it digital),
if you need to own a camera because you´re not booked out as a DOP and you want to work every day to advance your skills (you don´t always get the money directly back from your investment),
if for your daily jobs you need anyway a HPX 500 or 3000, but you want to work with 35mm lenses,
and last, but not least, if you rent it out.
You could add a lot of reasons why it pays back the investment, and I´m sure we have every possible combination in this forum, why people buy a Red.
Making the RED pay for itself is very simple for me. Just do the math. How much does 35mm film cost these days, and then process and transfer?
Add to that the cost of renting a 435 body and see how fast it will add up to the cost of your RED. After that, it's like shooting 35mm film quality for free (other than the labor).
And this doesn't include any paying jobs you may get as DP with your camera.
I really don't see an issue at all in recouping this investment rather quickly.
I bought two REDs, rented one for a while and then sold it for a markup.
It paid for my other package.
I still have to pay back some of the more pricey accessories, but I'm under no pressure to pay back loans, and I can focus on using my gear on my projects.
Marc and Steve
Wait till you get your Red and you will see. Insurance, cables, repairs, matte box follow focus, monitors etc. It just begin with the Red you can never know when it ends.
As for your own projects this is something else. If you plan one project every year for the next 5 years and these projects will sell than you may return your investment at least from not renting a 35mm camera. But this only happen if you are a fruitful producer/director, it will not happen if you are having a Red for just having it.
As for some of us who bought it for renting we will just have to wait and see but with a camera which is still fighting for its place on the stage and with 4000 others and two "sisters" that are coming you can not be too sure.
Or maybe some of us shoot kids and family because we can since we own it. I could never justify shooting the family with 35mm film. But I can with RED. Doesn't mean the camera doesn't get used professionally and doesn't mean I bought it to feel I'm a part of the Hollywood crowd. There are always going to be hobbyists that buy such cameras for personal use, what does that matter? I bought the camera for both personal and professional use. And I'm tempted to buy another, but I'm holding off in case I want to upgrade to Epic.2. However, from what I read people are having it to shoot their kids and family?... they have in hand a powerful tool but not more than ... to have the feeling that they are part of the desirable glamorous Hollywood-Motion-Picture-industry...?
So? Everything changes. For the time being, it's still going to be a largely rental-based market. If better cameras come available for less money, then that's just great. The camera is only one piece to a very large puzzle.3. The motion picture industry was in the last 30-40 years a rental market.
How is that "flooding" the market. They are only shipping cameras that are being purchased. So they are technically just meeting demand.4. Flooding the market with more than 4000 Red one cameras that are still in the process of building (15, 16, 17...) doesn't work for this kind of industry.
Hmm... Perhaps they're working on Scarlet and Epic because the RED is a huge success and these are two more products to compliment the RED One.5. Working on two other models (Scarlet and Epic) while the first camera is still struggling to survive doesn't help.
I'm not sure what point you're trying to make. A lot of people scoffed at RED in the beginning, there's still a lot of disinformation out there, but things are quickly changing. Most of the bigger rental houses these days are interested in the RED One and several have a few now. It's one more avenue of income and RED owners are just more potential rental customers. Of the rental houses in my area, one was very critical of RED up until NAB '08. The last two times I have been in there, they have offered to buy my camera and I believe they have one or two on order.I had this argument with other owners before, I quoted big rentals house, users attacked me for that because they don't like to hear that.
And there's a big chance that I could get hit by a bus while crossing the street. In a few years, my RED will have paid for itself many times over. It's not like 4000 RED One owners are going to just stop using the camera. Even if something goes very wrong and RED folds, we all still have cameras that are proving to be viable production tools every day. There are about 2000 cameras out in the wild and cruising these forums shows a very low number of actual complaints and problems. I think it will be OK... But if not, I just move on to the next best thing. I'm not sure where all the gloom and doom is coming from.There is a big chance that in a few years 4000 people will have a camera in their hand and will be able to do nothing with it.
And this relates to RED how? RED is not introducing new film sizes or new formats, only a new codec to acquire images that drop into existing standards. It is a new codec, but it is recorded to commodity media by one very impressive camera. A new codec is something that Panasonic, Sony and others do every now and then with a fair amount of success. REDCODE is already seeing far more interest than DVCPROHD saw for the first few years of its lifespan. 35mm film has been feeling the crunch from HD production for some time, the future is all digital and RED is one giant step in that direction. 10 years from now, there will still be people shooting on film, but that will be an artistic choice and not one based on economics or image quality.If you look at the history of the film you will find tens of formats from 9.5mm 17mm 20 something mm, 3 x projections, 360 degrees projections with syncronized 11 projections, drive-in movies etc that are nothing today. When it is film it is still 35mm mostly.
I hope I am wrong but I maybe right big time.
BTW... Drive-In movies are still around and they're trying to make a come-back with new sound delivery methods. Not that I really support the movement or anything, I think it kinda sucks to sit in your car and watch a movie.
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