Do you hate wasting money as much as we do? There is no feeling that irks most of us more than realizing that your budget is too tight and you have to start trimming effects from your show. Whether it’s lighting, sounds, scenic or (say-it-ain’t-so) automation, every show has a budget that is too small and artistic ideas that are too big. You have two obvious choices when it comes to automation gear: you can rent it or buy it (or you can also make it yourself, but that’s a blog post for another time).
Let’s examine a few pros and cons for both options…
- Lowest initial investment – A short term rental will always be less costly than an outright purchase.
- Faster turnaround – A rental order can leave our doors in a few hours if you are in a jam and we have the gear available.
- No maintenance needed – We prep, test, and maintain each component of our rental inventory so you always receive ready to use gear.
- Freight costs are doubled – We have to ship it to you and ship it back. Twice the fun!
- Less time to set up and experiment – If your rental arrives just before your load-in, you won’t have much time to play with it before it has to be ready for rehearsals.
- Rental inventory availability – Our rental inventory is large but not infinite. There is always a slight chance that when you need a piece of equipment our shelves are bare. Make sure you call early to book the gear you need.
- Opportunity to train staff and students outside of show time – Owning a kit means your staff can become expert users and technicians.
- Equipment is available for multiple shows every season & every year – Why not automate ALL your shows?
- You can tweak, customize, adjust, or hack your gear to your heart’s content – Push your gear to your creative limits.
- Initial investment is higher
- Longer lead-time – Plan on 3-4 week before your order ships.
- Requires storage space when not in use – make sure you’ve thought about where to put this stuff once your show is over.
- Maintenance – Dig into that manual or give us a call because you will need to make sure your gear is properly cared for.
It can be difficult to see a clear winner when considering performance automation. While you may only need the equipment for one show, you may be better off investing in a system to use in more shows and as a training tool for your staff or students. Imagine how impractical and wasteful it would be if you rented your entire lighting kit for every show. For the very same reasons you may want to build up stock of lighting gear, many theater are building up stock of automation gear. But our rental option means you don’t have to forgo automation entirely if the funds aren’t in your budget this year (or next).
In the next post find out how you can stretch every budget dollar as far as possible regardless of if you rent or buy.
Until next time … Make It Move!