SYDNEY, 28 April 2014 – As one of New Zealand’s top rental houses Niche Cameras recently found itself with a positive problem, it was heading into a growth phase and thus had to expand its rental fleet. It’s manufacturer of choice to help with the expansion turned out to be ARRI.
Niche Cameras’ owner Julian Boshier explained, “We were given word that there was to be a batch of new drama projects going into production, and we wanted to get ourselves into a position where we could service two to three of them shooting concurrently. We wanted to join in the ALEXA revolution and with the prospect of one of the new dramas keen on giving the ALEXA a go, we purchased three of them from ARRI Australia.”
The television dramas that utilise equipment from Niche Cameras are typically reasonably large productions. This means Boshier has to be prepared for many different shooting requirements and configurations.
He added, “Typically the main unit always consists of two cameras; with second unit days requiring one-two cameras, so in effect on some days we have four cameras shooting concurrently. The purchase of three ALEXA cameras and four Alura zooms meant we could comfortably deal with a three camera scenario. As luck would have it, the particular drama that was to be using the ALEXA decided their second unit days would be a single camera. They wanted three cameras; we could afford three cameras. So the deal was concluded and we could proceed with purchasing.”
Our timeframe was tight and despite working on this well in advance, the shooting start date was steadily approaching. We gave Stefan Sedlmeier at ARRI Australia quite a large list of what we wanted to purchase, and when we required it in New Zealand. It was great to confirm this purchase with Stefan – after dozens of list variations and subsequently dozens of updated quotes, phone calls and emails that spanned several weeks. It was a great feeling to finally join the ARRI family. Stefan got to work straight away. By this time we were all pretty mindful of our time constraints. At the time he was taking a trip to the Munich factory, so when there he gave ARRI production the hurry-up. We received everything in time, bar one Alura 18-80 but to cover us Stefan offered to lend us an Alura 30-80 he had and that got us through until the 18-80 arrived.
Niche Cameras now services a mixture of television drama and television commercials with their ALEXAs. The dramas shoot long days, both in studio and on location so choice of equipment is critical.
Boshier continued, “We need robust, solid and very reliable cameras that will not overheat. We need a straightforward user interface, a great compact ergonomic design for hand-held and a natural organic picture. ALEXA delivers on all of that. Of course there are other options that we provide, but some guys just want to shoot ALEXA and some ACs just know they are in for a stress-free shoot if they are assisting on ALEXA. As a rental house, we have to be able to cover as many options as possible.”
Boshier and Niche Cameras had one other issue that was critical when expanding their rental fleet, the support the manufacturer would give. According to Boshier this was just as important as the equipment itself.
He added, “When we were investigating the ALEXA there was no question where we were going to purchase from, it was always going to be from ARRI Australia. Sydney is our closest service centre, being a mere 2.5 hour flight from Auckland and when we have had any issues or service requirements it has paid off to be within easy reach of the team there. I had also met Stefan and one of his technicians, Melaney, a couple of years earlier at SMPTE, so we kind of knew each other. I like the fact I can ring ARRI in Sydney pretty much anytime and someone is always there to take the call. Stefan and I have developed a good relationship where, if I need something, he'll just send it over. He’s also very flexible with all the administration that’s required to get things done quickly. For a rental company that suffers from haphazard cash-flow, that attitude can be a life-saver.”