Grants are one of the most important tools a filmmaker can use to help reduce the cost of a given production.
Every month, Panavision gives full camera packages to worthy first time filmmakers, in order to introduce their equipment and services to the next generation of directors and cinematographers.
Packages include a Panavision or Panavised camera of your choice, a Panavision lens set of your choice as well as a full support package as requested by your DP or 2nd AC including tripods, fluid heads, matte-box, filters, batteries, follow focus, monitors, et. al.
For the unindoctrinated, Panavision cameras are film-cameras designed by Panavision as well as their own line of digital cameras.
Panavised cameras are third party cameras (ie. Arri Alexa, Red Dragon, Sony F65) that have been modified to support Panavision’s proprietary PV lens mount.
As part of the process, filmmakers are required to submit a proposal package which will help Panavision’s marketing department determine who will receive equipment.
There are several determining factors involved in the process and a few pit-falls you may encounter when submitting your request.
The following five tips will help you get your proposal approved and make the process smooth as possible.
- Choose the right camera. Grants are based on availability of equipment. Don’t expect to get the latest and greatest. Usually, big budget films are competing to rent items such as Alexa XTs or Sony F65s. A perfect camera to aim for is the Alexa EV (or possibly an Amira). An older camera, the Alexa EV has been used on hundreds of Big Budget Hollywood films and will give you incredible images. Remember, if they have to chose between you and the next Michael Bay film, you’re probably not getting approved.
- Chose the right lenses. Grants are based on availability. Panavision has an amazing line of anamorphics which are currently in extremely high demand. Big budget films are definitely competing to rent them. Aim for a set of Panavision Primos. They have been used on many of the most iconic films of our time and their superb optics present a gorgeous, creamy image similar to Cooke lenses.
- Don’t be afraid to ask for more. Once accepted you can enquire about upgrading your lens and camera package. You still may not get that top-tier camera, but at least you will still have a camera. In this situation, aim for a sure bet and then work your way up if possible.
- Time your submission and your shoot. As stated on their website, the grant takes time to process. Be sure to have thoroughly researched it before applying to make sure your proposal will have enough time for review.
- Panavision equipment requires serious insurance. Make sure you review their rental policies with your insurance agent in advance. Equipment values can exceed a quarter of a million dollars and your insurance must be ready to handle this.
With a well formatted, well designed pitch asking for reasonable, readily available equipment there is a high likelihood you will receive an amazing camera package for the duration of your shoot from one of the most prestigious camera houses in Hollywood.