MotionTribe expands its online rental platform to the UK, allowing film and television equipment owners to generate income by renting to other creative professionals. Company co-founder, Haroun Souirji, explains, “We are super excited to be at BVE 2018 to announce we can provide our services to production professionals based in, or near, London, and help people rent their gear safely, with fully comprehensive insurance tailored for audiovisual professionals. We are hoping we can attract 4.000 London users in the next 2 years.”
Owner-operation of valuable equipment is common in the world of film and television. Since 2015, MotionTribe's online platform has been enabling owners in Belgium to register their equipment as an available asset, while users can search for what they need, compare schedules, and arrange to collect. On average, owners add £17,000 worth of kit to the platform. Now, with MotionTribe's expansion into the UK, productions there can enjoy the same facilities. Users can save money, as equipment on MotionTribe is up to 30% less expensive than that from a conventional rental facility. At the same time, owners can earn a return on their investment, confident that MotionTribe users are manually screened, and that fully-comprehensive insurance with a very low excess covers equipment that is rented using the platform. MotionTribe’s top users have rented their gear over 30 times in their first year, generating enough income to buy new gear.
Benefits for both owners and users
To date, the platform has recruited 25% of Belgium's 3,000-strong production community, representing over a thousand pieces of equipment. Enak Cortebeeck is a director and motion designer with offices in Brussels, and is an enthusiastic MotionTribe member. “I only did it to have my equipment pay itself off a bit,” he begins, “and I managed to use MotionTribe to buy extra equipment!” Despite the value of the items involved, Cortebeeck was reassured by MotionTribe's cautious enrolment procedure and comprehensive insurance. “They always do a background check in the beginning,” he says. “In order to join MotionTribe, you have to have official identity papers. The process breeds confidence: We've never turned a rental down.”
Well-known film-maker, Philip Bloom, confirms that the idea of a secondary income from equipment rental is an attractive one. He asks, “Wouldn't it be great for it to be a passive income for me when I am not using it? I almost never rent out my gear, as it worries me too much. The only people I rent my gear to are close friends and colleagues who I know really well.” MotionTribe's value, he feels, is that, “A company who does checks on all members, and where the gear is properly insured... [This] makes the concept of renting my gear out a real option.”
MotionTribe users can choose to use a hub, a location where equipment can be left and collected, which can make equipment transfers even easier, and provide space to test. The first hub announced in London is at Cherryduck Studios in Wapping, though the preferred option is to collect locally to the user’s address, which can save time for people working away from traditional facilities. Bloom concludes, “Driving is London is not much fun, and getting the train in with a load of gear is even less fun!”
Freelance gimbal operator, Stephan Knight, owns Sony FS5 and Red Epic cameras, as well as a selection of lenses and a Zhiyun Crane stabiliser. Flexibility, he feels, is key. “A great example is that you can't hire just a Zhiyun Crane anywhere,” he says, adding, “Go to a rental house and you can get a Movi, a Glidecam, you'd have to invest. But with MotionTribe, you could go on the website and say, cool, I want to look for a Crane, there'll be a film-maker who has a Crane, has experience with it... you can even get work on the back of it.”
Rental facilities gain, too
Matt Gallagher is the owner of thecallsheet.co.uk, an online recruitment portal for feature film and drama crew. “We have a lot of members who have their own kit,” he says. “One of the things that's quite interesting for me to see is multiple income streams for freelancers.” He echoes Bloom's feelings about accessibility, as well as variety. “There's a market for it – there's a lot of kit, a wider range of kit, more bespoke kit than you'll get from a rental company.”
Gallagher notes, though, that rental houses also stand to benefit. “They can reach a bigger market and they can make themselves more enticing to that bigger market.” With insurance a common barrier to equipment rental, Gallagher agrees that MotionTribe's cooperation with insurance firm AXA, the product of intense negotiation, is crucial. “I think the insurance they have in place is a big deal.”
Enak Cordebeek concludes: “Your equipment, when you're not using it, sits there gathering dust. And if you can get something out of it, that's fine, and we reinvest everything in new equipment. But the most important thing is the community.” While MotionTribe's community feedback system is an important confidence builder, the opportunities to meet people are just as well-liked. “Everyone who's on MotionTribe enjoys what they're doing. When a director brought a camera back earlier this week, we had an hour long chat about what he'd been doing in Cambodia and what he'd shot. Our camera came back in top shape, and something beautiful had been made with it.”
MotionTribe at BVE 2018
MotionTribe will be situated at Booth F.06 and welcomes visitors with further questions.
Founded in Belgium in December 2015 by production professionals, Haroun Souirji and Aurélien Troonbeeckx, MotionTribe is an online platform that matches equipment owners to equipment renters. Recently expanding to London, MotionTribe's platform creates valuable interpersonal networking opportunities as well as new options in equipment rental. To date, it has recruited 25% of Belgium's 3,000-strong production community, representing over a thousand pieces of equipment. Key achievements include the creation of an affordable, effective insurance package backed by insurance multinational, AXA. To date, it has raised around £600,000 from backers, including Wallimage and The Walloon Fund for Cinema. For further details, please see the website: www.MotionTribe.io