As the blog continued to grow its audience, the Hurlbuts determined it was time to expand by hiring more staff to keep up with the demand for new content. With staff in place, no matter where he was, Hurlbut would be able to write and interact with his readers on a regular basis. In order to produce both the blog and the boot camp, he reached out to several companies for support, including Adobe, HP, Kessler, Kino Flo, Redrock Micro, SmallHD, Tiffen and Zeiss, and they cheerfully gave. In exchange for their generosity, Hurlbut provided them with valuable feedback about their products while testing them in the field, as well as introducing their products to a new generation of filmmakers. With financing in place, Hurlbut Visuals now was able to maintain a pipeline with people who were thinking about moving forward with DSLR filmmaking.
With all this amassed knowledge and a growing collection of gear, a rental company just seemed like a natural progression. A rental house would offer people a way to experience shooting with the DSLR format by using the same battle-tested tools used by Hurlbut himself. Hurlbut Visuals DSLR Cinema Rentals was born.
The boot camp not only widened his audience, but also fostered new relationships that would be key in the development of the rental business. Chief among them was rental manager Kevin Anderson, who served as an intern at the boot camp where he shuttled attendees and performed various other duties. Due to his tenacity and hard work, the Hurlbuts offered Anderson the full-time position of rental manager.
Anderson’s daily routine starts early and runs late with answering all calls and emails, which come in overnight. Some are customers, and others simply may need advice, which, in the tradition at Hurlbut Visuals, is given freely. From there, he checks in all incoming equipment to ensure it’s clean and functional prior to leaving the facility again. According to Anderson, everything is checked and double-checked prior to going out. However, if there’s a problem, they don’t hesitate to replace any piece of gear, at all costs.
Essentially, Hurlbut Visuals DSLR Cinema Rentals specializes in building rigs from the ground up to fit the needs of any production. Typically, the assistant cameraperson comes in with only a general idea of what he or she may need. Once Anderson or another Elite Team member is clear on what that is, he or she begins assembling a camera rig tailor-made to suit the client’s needs. Customers also have the freedom to assemble the rigs themselves.
No matter if it’s a shoulder-mount or handheld rig, the heart of the system will be the camera body (a Canon EOS 5D Mark II, 7D or 1D Mark IV) enshrouded in a View Factor cage. The camera and cage then will be mounted into either the Redrock Micro manCam for handheld work or the microShoulderMount. For shoulder-mounted configurations, Hurlbut has added a customized shoulder pad to the micro-ShoulderMount. All units are powered using Canon or Anton/Bauer batteries. A follow-focus—either an ARRI manual follow-focus or a remote-controlled BarTech Focus Device—are available and can be mounted on the top or bottom rails.
Hurlbut Visuals DSLR Cinema Rentals has a variety of lenses to accommodate all budgets and tastes. The final decision on which lenses to use typically comes down to one’s own personal preference and budget. These include the Zeiss CP.2s, Zeiss ZE Primes and both Canon EF- and L-series primes. They also have Hot Rod Cameras PL Mounts for their Leica Primes. To go with the lenses, they also carry a variety of Tiffen filters, and whether you need circular or linear, they’ll have you covered.