Jon: 3 Tips for Checking out Film Equipment

One thing every film and  journalism student needs to know how to do is check out equipment from Field Production Services. For those who don’t know, Field Production Services (FPS) is the department in COM that manages all of the film and audio production equipment. If you need a camera, lights, an audio recorder, a dolly – the list goes on – you go to FPS.

While FPS has provided a lovely guide over on their website on how to reserve equipment, there’s a lot of information to take in. So, I thought I’d share a few tips on how to best to handle checking out equipment from FPS.

1)     Make your reservation early: You can make reservations up to 14 days in advance, and with a number of production classes using the same equipment, it’s important not to wait for the last minute. If you make a project schedule ahead of time, then you’ll know exactly how early you’ll need to reserve your equipment for your shoot dates.

2)     Reserve enough equipment: It may seem like you’re just taking some still photos for your first project and you don’t need that heavy tripod. Or maybe you’re using a digital camera and you figure that you can use the LCD monitor to find your aperture settings, so is a light meter really necessary? Yes, yes you do. Don’t cut corners – the equipment’s there, you might as well use it.

3)     Check your equipment before you leave FPS: The people at FPS are great, but sometimes it gets busy in there: to prevent mix ups, go through ALL of your equipment before you leave and double check that it is all there and all working. The equipment ranges from kind of expensive to REALLY REALLY expensive, and you don’t want to get saddled with a price tag for a piece of gear you didn’t lose.

Handling gear can be kind of a hassle a times, but it’s worth it for the thrill of working on your own productions. Just make sure to reserve early, reserve enough gear, and check everything when you pick it up and you should be good!

Until next time,



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