Why Covid-Proof Production Budgets Should Include Rental Technology in 2021

Production budgets look a lot different in 2021 than they did leading up to the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic. Because of the changes caused by the pandemic, Covid-19 protocols and procedures now make up a significant amount of film budgets. Producer Nathan Ross told The Washington Post that it’s normal to see 10 to 20 percent of the overall production budget set aside for expenses related to the virus.

These budgetary changes include many facets of managing the virus. For example, production sets now commonly hire “Covid Compliance Managers” whose sole job it is to ensure that those on set are following best practices with regard to mitigating the threat of the virus. Add to that the cost of sanitation experts, the regular cleaning of equipment, increased insurance costs, and the extended timeline of shoots due to the need to stagger the amount of people on set.

This means that for the film industry, production budgets are tenuous and are changing due to the uncertainty of the year ahead. In order to manage within the ever-shifting landscape, we think that renting production gear and technology may be the most advantageous option for production teams. Below, we’ve outlined why we think rental technology will play a big role in meeting these Covid-era budgetary challenges.  

  • Every industry should plan for the unexpected even week by week.

Last year’s unexpected changes in circumstances showed us that anything can happen. With regard to gear and technology, a camera can be dropped and broken, software can become glitchy, or a pandemic can cause post-production to move to primarily remote working conditions. In short, many of us learned the hard way that it’s best to be prepared. This may mean having a contingency plan for backup gear if and when you face a tech failure or an accident. Rather than purchasing expensive backup gear for every instance that could occur, it’s a good idea to have a rental plan in place with a quick turnaround so that you’re not left wasting expensive time.

Most production houses now have contingency plans in place since productions can be shut down with little warning due to the ebb and flow of coronavirus cases. In addition to these contingency plans, production teams should include equipment considerations in the plans and budgets. If a production suddenly becomes remote-based, it’s fast and simple to rent technology instead of purchasing unwieldy gear for every post-production individual. Since time is of the essence, especially in the film industry, renting may also be a faster option that allow users to get back up and running more quickly.

  • Budgets are increasing at a time when they may already be tight.

As we mentioned above, production budgets are tight right now because of the unexpected expenses that the pandemic has caused. And the changes that were taking place before the pandemic — like many viewers choosing streaming services over traditional cable — mean that budget restrictions were already an issue in some cases.


For smaller productions in particular, these compounded budgetary issues may present the inability to make large, expensive purchases. In these instances, renting film equipment instead of buying is simply a more economic option. And with the type of gear that is rentable these days, the quality of the production doesn’t have to suffer due to the budgetary limitations that the pandemic may have caused.

We realize that none of us actually know when the film industry will return to a pre-pandemic normal. Because of this, it might be difficult to handle a large purchase if you’re looking ahead at unknown figures.

  • As time progresses, gear becomes obsolete and technology advances.

While this notion isn’t happening because of the coronavirus pandemic, the changes imposed by the pandemic have made it more apparent. To put it plainly, it may be silly to invest in expensive film gear, the latest and greatest high-powered computer and technology that may be outdated by the time production teams are able to put them to true use. The “price per use” matters — you want to make a worthwhile investment, and with the unknown still ahead of us, now may not be the most practical time to purchase major equipment.


We’ve mentioned it before, but the entertainment and events industries are in flux right now. Since many experts believe that post-production practices may move into a hybrid (in-person plus remote) model this year, teams may require gear that is different than what they’ve previously used. But if there are plans to go back to pre-pandemic practices in the long-term, it may not make sense to purchase all of the gear that may only be used during the short-term. Again, renting equipment may provide the ideal solution for this conundrum. Rather than purchasing something you may only use for the remainder of the pandemic, renting film equipment will allow you to maintain flexibility around production and post-production procedures.

As we plan for 2021 and take note of the budgetary changes that the film industry faces, we think that flexibility is paramount. And since rental gear comes with no strings attached, we foresee many smart production teams relying on it throughout the year and beyond.

About eTech Rentals
eTech Rentals a national technology solutions provider located in Southern California specializing in rental technology integration. eTech is committed to long-standing client relationships and consistent, reliable local service, trusted by expert event planners, film and entertainment production companies, and businesses in California and nationwide.
Learn more about eTech Rentals at:  https://www.etechrentals.com/