Most independent filmmakers are working on a pretty tight budget, which means buying film equipment just isn’t a reality. Luckily, London is rich with a variety of high-quality and reliable equipment hiring services, so you can not only avoid breaking the bank, but also find the right place for you and your project.
In this post, we dive into our top 10 places to hire film equipment in London. We'll be looking at rental houses, seeing who they are, what makes them stand out and whether or not they’re right for you. Whether you’re an indie filmmaker, part of a production team or even looking to create a professional live stream, this post will give you some options from industry trusted companies.
#1 - FOMO Rentals
A brand new rental house run by freelance filmmakers and recent graduates, FOMO Rentals offers camera, lighting and audio equipment. Their goal is to be a “one stop shop” for London’s creative industry, which means they’re always adding to their inventory and keeping on top of trends. What’s more, they want to offer a service that doesn’t break the bank and so they’re a fantastic choice for indie filmmakers.
At the time of writing this article, they are also offering something to sweeten the offer in a bid to kickstart filmmakers’ projects post-lockdown, so with the code TUTTI15, you can get 15% off all rentals!
Best for: Independent filmmakers.
Where: 3a Plantain Pl, London, SE1 1YN.
# 2 - The Kit Room
The Kit Room, a “hire company created by production people for production people”; they pride themselves on understanding the demands of filmmaking and knowing what you, the filmmaker, needs. They’ve been around for 10 years and have an extensive client list ranging from major broadcasters to NGOs and government departments. They even claim to be the preferred supplier for the BBC and ITV.
With such high-level clients you can ensure that their equipment is meticulously maintained and stock constantly updated, as well as them providing a responsive customer service.
Best for: Production Crews with a bit of budget.
Where: 6 Waterson Street, London, E2 8HL.
#3 - Cameraworks
Cameraworks is a rental company slanted towards digital cinematography in the heart of Shoreditch. Being in such a vibrant area, they are able to facilitate over 100 shoots per month, from broadcast, commercial, corporate, documentary, drama and everything in between. With ongoing experience and 15 years behind them, they say they know how to strike the right balance between cost and creativity.
What’s more they are Patrons of the British Society of Cinematographers (BSC) and the Guild of British Camera Technicians (GBCT), making them a trusted option for those looking to shoot to industry standards.
Best for: Medium-sized film production crews.
Where: 14 Anning St, Shoreditch, London EC2A 3HB.
#4 - The Independent Grip
Another company that is run by people in the industry, this time it is “owned and run by grips - for grips”. The team behind The Independent Grip have over 50 years of active service in the film and TV industry. As the name suggests, they specialise in camera support equipment (think: cranes, dollies, jibs and rigs) and, while they may not be as big as the previous suggestions, their specialisation means you’ll get detailed advice from the team on the best choice for your project.
Best for: ...grips.
Where: Unit 10,Vicarage Farm, 6DW, Halliford Rd, Shepperton, Sunbury-on-Thames.
#5 - SLVision
SLVision offers editing services and also boasts 2 fully kitted out studios for hire, which means they no doubt keep updated on industry developments. Alongside this, they have over 15 years in the industry yet say they have never aimed to be in big business. They’re a small family run company that pride themselves on treating you as one of their team: suggesting equipment they’d use, rather than what’s profitable.
Best for: Local independents, small production crews.
Where: SLVision ltd., 70-74 Stewarts Road, London, SW8 4DE.
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Another rental house based out of Shoreditch, this time the aptly named “London Video Camera Hire”. As the name suggests they aim to offer “no-nonsense video and film camera hire packages”. They’re not the biggest rental house available, but with that comes the benefit of being able to build a relationship with the staff over time. They also offer filming crews and video editing services, which makes them a great choice for newcomers, hobbyists and other industries needing events filmed.
Best for: Newer filmmakers, hobbyists.
Where: Unit 34, 91 Brick Lane, Old Truman Brewery, London, E1 6QL.
#7 - Alias Hire
Starting off in 1999 with post production VTR (video tape recording) rental, Alias has grown into a multi-faceted company covering equipment hire, a training academy for TV and Media and a live stream production company. While their equipment range isn’t quite as extensive or specialised as previously mentioned companies, they do have the essentials such as cameras, lenses, lighting, audio, accessories and VTRs.
Their strength, however, comes with the other elements of the Alias brand: Alias Academy and Alias Presents. The former offers production and post-production training to employees and freelancers in the industry, which is great for those wanting to expand their skill set or for complete newbies wanting to get a foot in the door. While Alias Presents is a streaming production company that can facilitate a range of live streaming projects, which can be done in their in-house studio.
Best for: Students (they offer up to a 50% discount on rentals).
Where: 141 – 145 Well Street, Hackney, London E9 7LJ.
#8 - Visual Impact
Another company with plenty of experience, VI Rental London has been supplying equipment to broadcasters and major production companies for 20 years. They’ve built quite a name, having worked with many award winning TV shows and sporting events such as The Great British Bake Off, Strictly Come Dancing, the Football World Cup, Wimbledon and the Olympics, to name a few.
They offer a large range of equipment including customised packages that can be made up of 4K video cameras, lenses, tripods, matte boxes, follow focus units, minicam kits, sound, off-board recorders, lighting, grip and even storage solutions. Hiring equipment involves filling out an application form, which we feel puts them more in the more “large projects only” category.
Best for: Larger-sized TV production crews.
Where: Unit 3, Teddington Business Park, Station Rd, Teddington TW11 9BQ London (they also have units in Bristol and Cardiff).
#9 - Shoot Blue
Established in 2008, Shoot Blue have grown to be a UK supplier of cutting-edge creative tools to cinematographers, filmmakers and digital content creators. Their camera department houses an extensive range, with a focus towards large-sensor, digital cinematography style production. They also included lighting rental and round the clock technical advice and equipment support.
Shoot Blue are another premium service that provides the highest quality, something that is represented by their status as an approved BBC supplier.
Best for: Medium to large-sized film and TV production crews.
Where: Unit 10, Roslin Square, Roslin Road London W3 8DH.
#10 - Digibroadcast
Probably the only choice in this list that started as an eBay account, Digibroadcast has now grown into a full-on online shop and rental service. While their kit list is as diverse as some, they do provide a selection of broadcast equipment for most production uses.
What sets them apart from most is their focus on customer service and support, which is reflected in the high ratings they’ve received on Trustpilot and Google Reviews. They offer hands-on technical experience and direct would-be renters to call their team for advice before renting, if needed.
Best for: New filmmakers.
Where: 15D Oakcroft Rd, Chessington KT9 1RH.
There you have it: 10 of the best places to hire film equipment in London. Keep in mind that building a relationship with your rental service is another really important factor as reliable, repeat customers are invaluable for them, which means an overall better service for you (prices, customer service etc).
This post was written by James, from Tutti: the home of creative locations in London. Tutti is a great choice for independent filmmakers and production crews as their spaces can be booked by the hour or half day, avoiding those unnecessary full day charges. While their creative filtering means you can find the perfect location for your project by filtering locations by type, accessibility options, on-site equipment, amenities and much more.
Throughout April Tutti are offering all new sign-ups 5% of their first booking. To claim your discount simply sign-up and use the code 'aprilfilm5' when making a booking.