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How to decide what gear to buy next

Or better: How to convince your boss to buy to newest ARRI camera. 😉

Splurge on the right things, not the bling bling

Hey, if you're one of those people who just love to splurge on the newest tech because it's shiny and cool, you might have a hard time convincing the purse-string holders. Let's be real, there's probably a good reason why it's not necessarily a must-have, but just yet another camera everyone’s buzzing about. 😉

Meanwhile, items are accumulating dust on your shelves because no one is using them (anymore).

However, if you want to get your hands on that new camera gear because it would take your productions to the next level, then I'm here to help you convince your boss, or whoever controls the budget. Maybe even, yourself.

I'm Oswaldo from Cheqroom, and this blog post will guide you in making data-driven (read: smart) decisions when buying new camera gear. If you’re more interested in watching a video instead of reading a blog post (it’s fine, we're not judging), watch it here:

In short, it all comes down to this: it's essential to know which camera is used the most and which one is merely gathering dust on the shelf. This information will help you decide what to buy and whether the purchase is worthwhile.

First, let’s go over the steps you need to take to gather the data. Then, I’ll show you how to actually do it.

Gather info on gear utilization

5 step-plan for making data-driven decisions. ✋🏽👇🏽

  1. To start, you'll need a basic equipment inventory list. It's crucial to know what gear you have. If you do not have such an inventory overview yet, you definitely need one. NOW! Check out this video, where I show you how to build it up from scratch. 📹
  2. Secondly, make sure you document purchase dates. This information helps you assess how ‘old’ the equipment is and can be helpful when considering switching them out for newer models. 👵🏽
  3. You should also keep a log of each time you use your equipment. Include details such as the date, type of project (e.g., portrait session, landscape photography, video shoot), and any specific challenges or limitations you faced. 📅
  4. Next, evaluate the performance of each piece of equipment. Take note of any issues, malfunctions, or areas where your gear fell short. 🏋🏻‍♀️
  5. And finally, you should review your budget for gear purchases. Identify areas where you can allocate or shift funds. For example, if you see that some pieces are unused and collecting dust on the shelves, it might make sense to sell those items, and use that money to buy new gear. 💰

Smart gear purchases based on data

Now, let's go through the process. You need a checkout workflow to track the use of equipment, including who uses it and how often.

A simple method is to use Google Forms for your peers to reserve equipment. The form should collect basic information such as who is making the reservation, the duration of the reservation, and the specific gear that will be checked out.

Equipment request form google forms
Eq request form detail

For instance, our Google Forms indicate that the Canon 5D was the most frequently used camera body, and which lens was most popular.

Eq request form canon
Lenses eq list

You can also, for example, see the busiest months. Your results depend on the questions you ask in the form, so ensure you think them through.

Equipment list - busiest times

I made a video that talks about all the details you should think of when creating an equipment request form with Google Forms. If you're interested, you can view it here.

However, Google Forms can only show you that much and comes with its own limitations. 😵

What if you would like to know what gear has been breaking down the most and what were the most common equipment issues for a specific model, you wouldn't find the answers in a Google Form. 

Cheqroom, an equipment management software, allows you to easily access all necessary information and more.
By inviting your team to the account, each member can make their own reservations, check out gear, receive notifications for returns, flag broken equipment, and more. Cheqroom is designed to be used alongside your productions.

Mobile app ITCH
CR asset label

Evidently, this is going to generate a LOT of data on your equipment. This data can be accessed in the reports section of the app, where you’ll find answers to the following questions:

  • Which gear is used the most?
  • Which items are simply sitting unused on the shelf?
  • Who uses certain gear the most?
  • What breaks down most often?
  • Which gear is frequently reserved together, and what are the common combinations?
  • Etc.
CR reports
CR checkouts user activity

You can access all this information and share it with your team with just a single click.

With these detailed reports, you can start making better purchasing decisions, ultimately saving money. Basically, you can simply say to your boss, "These cameras are being used the most. We may need more of them, and they'll likely need replacing soon."

Reports Cheqroom item history overview

If you're curious about what Cheqroom can do for you, check out the video below. Alternatively, if you prefer using spreadsheets, forms, and other tools, I have many videos on YouTube to guide you through managing your gear in that way. Be sure to check them out as well!


Convinced you need Cheqroom? 

Oswaldo 1
Written by Oswaldo Canho Apr 03, 2024

Oswaldo Canho is the BDR Team Lead and occasional YouTube star at Cheqroom. Most of the time, you’ll find him sharing interesting topics about Video Production and Broadcasting on LinkedIn or connecting with you to see if you are having difficulties managing your gear. He is passionate about helping producers ensure that their deliverables are never delayed due to equipment issues. His favorite piece of equipment is the Aputure B7c.