Top Film Equipment Rental Companies In Ireland
Updated: Jun 11, 2020
Ireland is a small country with a population of less than 5 million. To put it into perspective, the UK has a population of 66m, Germany, 82m and the US, a population of 327m. But our rugged landscapes, tumultuous history and imagination feeds many film & television productions every year and keeps film equipment rental houses on their toes.
People got obsessed about what Irish cinema should be, what kind of stories it should be telling.
Lenny Abrahamson. Dir-Room (2015)
We have broadened from themes of church, famine (although there are still great stories to be told with Black '47 leading the charge amalgamating old themes with a classic Western twist) emigration and general 'oirishness' and are excelling in fantasy, romance and horror. Sometimes in the same script!
Section 481 tax breaks helps to entice larger productions to our shores, but I don’t believe it’s the only magic at play.
Our Talent Is Our Strength
Our wealth of talent – which seems disproportionate to the size of our population – graces the end credits of some of the most popular films and television series this decade and we have great film equipment hire houses, big and small, with a range of the most up to date technology, that in the right hands – can capture the magic.
We’re familiar with the host of Irish faces in front of the camera from popular TV personalties like Graham Norton and Catastrophe's Sharon Horgan (who also penned the series along with her co star Rob Delaney) to big screen stars like Cillian Murphy, Ruth Negga and Michael Fassbender.
But behind the camera?
From HBO’s Game of Thrones in Belfast to Vikings in Wicklow (commissioned by the History Channel for historical accuracy). From George Lucas’ Star Wars in Kerry & Donegal to Disney’s Artemis Fowl in Northern Ireland, our indigenous talent behind the scenes allows global viewers to continue to be glued to their screens.
Talent like Robbie Ryan (DOP) for The Favourite, Ruairí O’Brien (DOP) for The Fall, Eoin McPolin (DOP) for Vikings & Penny Dreadful, Ciaran Donnelly (DIR) for The Tudors, Titanic: Blood & Steel, & Vikings, Dearbhla Walsh (DIR) for Handmaid’s Tale & Fargo , Lenny Abrahamson (DIR) for Room , Normal People and the wonderful if slightly off beat Frank, Eimear Reynolds (ED/DIR) Shameless (R Rated) & Here Was Cuba, Ken O'Sullivan (DOC/DIR) Ireland's Deep Atlantic, not to mention the likes of Ed Guiney (PROD) The Favourite, Killing of the Sacred Dear & Sheila Hockin (PROD) Handmaids Tale & Tudors, who just keep making the magic possible. And this is only a snippet of names and projects.
What is it about Ireland that continues to produce such talent?
It is no coincidence that many of the names I have mentioned are graduates of our National Film School (IADT). Some I even worked with as a student there. But there is also a culture of incubation for young film-makers who are driven to ‘get it made’. You only have to look at Ray Mongey’s Film Network Ireland Facebook community to get a taste of what’s percolating under the radar. I’m sure I could pull a script together tomorrow and garner enough support within the community to ‘get it in the can’ – or the ‘DSLR’ as it may be, on a relatively small budget. I’m not saying that’s right (indeed, having lived it for years I have a lot more to say about tight budgets that reinforce the wrongs of the gig culture), but it is a commentary on the community and their willingness to jump in if, and when, they can lend a hand.
So where does this screen magic start?
Outside of a script and from a very practical standpoint, you can’t film anything without the right tools…so it starts there.
Approx. 20% of the equipment hires coming through our doors are from foreign production companies filming here.
Colin Browne. Owner-Film Equipment Hire
In 2018, Screen Ireland invested €13.7 million across 50 projects - features, animations and documentaries. In 2019 the allocated investment rose to €16.2 million which will in turn boost spending on local jobs and services in the industry. And that figure doesn't take into account BAI funding, SFI funding, privately funded ventures, corporate spending or foreign production spending.
So whether you're an Irish crew filming the next Favourite, BMW Commercial or your first short or an international crew filming the next epic series or travel show - here’s a list of the top film equipment hire companies in Ireland and a little about them.
A - Z List Of The Top Film & Video Equipment Hire Companies In Ireland
Location: Belfast, Northern Ireland Tel: +44(0)28 90 240977
While producing a segment for a recent travel show in N.I, we had the pleasure of dealing with Steve at Acorn who facilitated a last minute delivery of gear to a Belfast Hotel and was understanding about the delayed return, which reinforced their ‘go the extra mile’ mantra.
Situated on Fitzwilliam Street in a 10,000 square ft. premises, they have been in operation for over 25 years. They carry everything from cameras (including Alexa) to consumables as well as house a 1600 square ft drive-in studio with 360 green screen, black out drapes and lighting Truss. They also boast camera crew hire, production offices and post production facilities.
Acorn don’t have their pricing online as all rentals are project based.
Location: Baldonnell, Dublin
Tel: +353 (0)1 4133892
On the go since 1952 when flip charts, acetates and overhead projectors were hot, AudioVisual have moved with the times. Whether you need a wall of flat screens, a Lectern or wireless mics and cameras (Black Magic 4k or Canon Pro Camcorder), they can sort you out. They specialise in events, but some of their packages are suitable for video production – especially if it is for a webcast.
You can collect or they can deliver and even set up. They also offer half-day rentals on some items.
AudioVisual.ie don’t have their pricing online as all rentals are project based
Location: Herbert Road, Wicklow Tel: +353 1 286 2971
For over 60 years, Ardmore Studios has been a staple in the Irish film Industry. It boasts 7 international sound stages and has housed many productions over the years from its first major feature, Michael Anderson’s Shake Hands With The Devil starring James Cagney to the more recent hit series Dancing With The Stars.
In 2018 the jewel in the crown of the Irish Film Industry owned by Ardmore Entertainment Ltd. with Enterprise Ireland also holding share capital, was acquired by Olcott Entertainment, the owners of rival Troy Studios in Limerick, who described Ardmore as ‘an attractive asset’ in the face of growing demand for content by ‘big screen’, ‘on demand’ and ‘gaming’ industries.
Ardmore Studio Services houses several industry related companies , two of which supply equipment: Cine Electric and Panavision.
Location: Herbert Road, Wicklow Tel: +353 (0)1 2868724
Established in 1975 by Paddy O’Toole, Cine Electric has provided TV, Film, Theatre and Event lighting from its base at Ardmore studios for over 35 years. I remember my first encounter with them as a film student and how tickled I was at being on the grounds of Ardmore. I remember the helpfulness of the crew who handheld us through our first encounter with an HMI!
Cine Electric supply all things lighting and large mobile generators.