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How do you afford your gear?

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Just curious how most of the people here afford their gear? Who works full time in video production versus a day job with video as a side gig/hobby?

I freelance full time but it's become apparent that I need to figure out a way to get my rates up, since I can never afford anything. I seem to have a very minimal gear list compared to most people on here. What are your secrets?

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Well according to some gossip around the industry in my area, those people who can open the company at CBD area which rent is quite high right after they just finish uni is mostly because they have 1.rich daddy 2.trust fund, hence they can afford RED Weapon or FS7 or even Phantom camera in no time.

 

Though position yourself up is the better to get more income gradually , sometimes use monthly payment instead of paying full at once to buy gear to get around cash-flow problem.

 

But yeah now our company does 5 figure jobs and dont really do 3 figure jobs, usually we just leave those jobs to other freelancers who are willing to do for cheap.

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I have two jobs, one which is not great but pays well. The other one being making videos. 

So basically, I have one job making money, and the other one spending it ! (But I always keep my expenses low by using older gear and going thrifting every week-end :D)

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I'm a freelance editor. I make a TV show every week and it's guaranteed work 5 days a week for as long as I want it. I also do camera jobs most weeks, or weekends. So long as I meet the deadlines on the TV show, they're flexible, and don't mind me taking the work home where necessary. That also accommodates more jobs that pay higher mid-week.

Since the editing is guaranteed work, I don't charge as much as I do for 1 off jobs, but it gives me a steady income I can count on, which is many ways is more valuable as a freelancer. I also have a good accountant friend who helps me get some nice breaks. He advises me when I should stop buying gear, and when I should buy more to make my company look more successful. I don't know how or what he's doing, but he's basically told me that since I'm a 1 man company, if I invest x-amount every year on equipment, research material and things like that, the government don't take so much at the end of the tax year. I'm not a numbers kind of guy, but it seems to be working out for me.

Like the other post here says though, I do have holes in my shoes and I cut my own hair haha.

 

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I bought a small set up for about $10k and paid it off quickly shooting corporate videos and some cable tv on top of a day job (also in production). I did borrow some money to buy it.

I quit shooting but didn't quit buying stuff. Currently in the process of selling it at a big loss. As a hobby, it's way too expensive. But I should have kept it up except I moved. I was surprised, there was a lot of money there.

Most people I know who freelance in camera make good money and gigs like Zach's (not guessing his specific rate, but that type of work) often pay $800-$1000/day and are flexible, not that you'll work all year but that's really good pay for a creative especially as a dry hire essentially performing a day job. I just want to know how he affords a mortgage in LA lol.

There are trust fund kids but they're at a disadvantage because they're bidding on work that's over their head with gear that will depreciate in value fast. If you take a much slower approach gradually growing your skill set, client base, and rates over time, you'll still end up in a better position than they will be in within a few years. And you can always rent! Which is what smart people do imo.

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Well how does one afford their gear simple work. I am not in the industry but have family 3 kids wife and full time job in trade job its ok pay keep she family feed and happy pays the bills with left over for coffee that money if for the family i don't use that for any gear. The way i afford my gear is is by working weekends for example last month i bought  Aputure VS-5 V-Screen 600 dollars shit load of money for me but went to temp agency did 3 days work 12 shifts and there you go if you want something you will find the way. And other way is when tax returns role by i usually get around 3k if there are no bills than i buy something bigish.

Wit this method i have full dedicated color grading studio in my apartment, BMCC camera, with nice set of yashica primes ect ect.

And i don't advise to buy expensive gear on credit if you are not making good money already and have connections

or

 

;)

 

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I'm a freelance software developer with my own limited company (LLC in the US). The video thing started out as (and still is for now) a hobby, although once I feel I'm ready I intend to start taking on a few paid jobs - only at weekends at first until I can justify a day rate comparable to my 'day job'. This means that although I've financed my gear purchases with my own cash, I've been justified in doing it through my company, which means I get a small amount of tax relief on them. I've reached the point now, though, where anything I buy that's over a couple of hundred pounds has to be covered by selling something else. I financed my C100 mkii (which I love in an almost physical way) by selling three other cameras, so the only way I'll ever replace it is by putting it up for sale.

You can also get a lot of grip and lighting stuff by camping out on ebay, although I do have a minor addiction to buying small LED fixtures - Lume Cubes, Amarans etc, which I can slip past my wife without her noticing too much!

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Freelance- editor here too. Sometimes shooting gigs but I make most of my living from editing. All the stuff I buy is mostly going for my own personal films, if I have shooting gigs then it's usually renting time (except for the occasional no budget music vid).

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I own a video production company that specializes in automotive. We have a string of long-term clients in retail as well as editorial.

Here's one of the shows we shoot for Motor Trend:

Our (my) gear purchases usually revolve around solving problems: better slow-motion, more mobile, faster lenses to address low-light, better mounts for a specific rig shot, drones because... well, drones are awesome (I went out and got my FAA part 107 certification). Though I like new tech, I don't buy something unless it addresses a specific need.

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In Finland it is quite difficult to start a business regulation-wise. They require a lot of upfront payments tax-wise, and you get cut off from any social benefits whatsoever. I find this worrisome when I am looking for staff as they usually prefer to not work, rather than work for random gigs. Another discussion for another forum...

However, I used to just borrow or rent cams in the UK and US on weekends and save up for gear from the net profits from weddings and events.

Here in Finland, I went through a government funded process the lasted 2 years, where you take daily classes in Finnish and attend business advisory meetings. If you are successful in applying for business support (i.e. have a good business plan, education and experience in the industry) they give you a grant of around 10 000 which they pay you every month in installments over a 6 month period. Its called 'starttiraha' for Finnish folk interested. Literally translates to 'start-up money'.

I took out a loan based on this fixed future income, and will break even sometime this summer based on equipment and living expenses. However, I would have preferred to have had a more fluid entry as it would have allowed me to test camera systems. But I needed a quick start, and have sold off most of my purchases that were surplus (silly) and have reinvested in one system.

Regardless of the grant, I still would have taken an unsecured loan - but only because I have done this business for over 10 years and am comfortable with sales, IM and SEO. I also do not know how to do anything else. If your quote is too high, I am the asshole around the corner with a better deal. Not fancy, but I don't have time for pleasantries - and I deliver (for corporate and events) because I have nothing to lose.

Fingers crossed things keep rolling along...

Edit: and the last time I spent more than 30 euros on myself for anything other than camera gear and support was sometime last year. I buy second hand clothes and rock a Huwei P9. I bought that phone only because it has a classy camera for instagram BTS - otherwise I would still be flip-phone. 30 euros was for small bottle of Paco Rabanne cologne. Even that I felt guilty about. Go figure. All net profit nowadays goes to wifey and the bambinos!

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18 minutes ago, HelsinkiZim said:

Here in Finland, I went through a government funded process the lasted 2 years, where you take daily classes in Finnish and attend business advisory meetings. If you are successful in applying for business support (i.e. have a good business plan, education and experience in the industry) they give you a grant of around 10 000 which they pay you every month in installments over a 6 month period. Its called 'starttiraha' for Finnish folk interested. Literally translates to 'start-up money'.

Here in france you have to give around 25% (depends on your type of activity and if you had a job before or not) of your revenue (not benefits, revenue) as tax when starting your own small business. Then you have to pay land value tax (even if you don't rent a place for you work). But at least you don't have to give money right away. You don't get any chance to grab some "start-up money", it just doesn't exists :D 

Not sure what is the best country to start your own small business, but I'd like to find it out :) 

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9 minutes ago, Justin Bacle said:

Here in france you have to give around 25% (depends on your type of activity and if you had a job before or not) of your revenue (not benefits, revenue) as tax when starting your own small business. Then you have to pay land value tax (even if you don't rent a place for you work). But at least you don't have to give money right away. You don't get any chance to grab some "start-up money", it just doesn't exists :D 

Not sure what is the best country to start your own small business, but I'd like to find it out :) 

God - the US was so easy. You fill a one page form called p90 or something (the Uber type contract) if you are employed and pay self tax, or you go to Legalzoom or similar and set up a LLC for 100 bucks (last time I checked) and you are set. You pay tax as you earn - at the end of the tax year.

America is 'great' for a reason...

edit: in case I get negged as a foreigner, I was actually born in Oneonta, New York and worked in Chicago and NYC in my 20s. Crazy times... now... and then.

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