by Jonathan Sherburne
New York is a daunting place, with more production houses, equipment vendors, and arthouses than any filmmaker has time to see. For a newcomer, it’s hard to know which places are worth your time--and money. This list highlights some of the GREAT places to put on your radar as you navigate the production landscape of NYC. Without any particular order, here are 10 great resources any young NYC Filmmaker should keep on their radar.
Note: If you want to hear Tom talk about this in more detail, click here.
10. MADE IN NY PRODUCTION TRAINING PROGRAM
The “Made in NY” Production Assistant Training program is one of the best ways to get your foot in the production door without any prior work experience or training. The high-intensity course gets you ready for the fast paced world of film & TV & is a cheaper and faster (albeit narrower in scope) alternative to a degree in film production.
The program is run in partnership with the New York City Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment and focuses on providing opportunities to individuals without prior experience or background in film. Their goal is to diversify the New York film industry with voices that would otherwise go unheard.
The program is a five week, full-time course that includes daytime and evening sessions, homework, set shoots and more. After completing the program, you’ll receive two years of placement assistance and career support as you gain a foothold in the industry. The program itself is free, but applicants must provide housing, food, and transportation for themselves.
The application process includes an in-person info session at the Brooklyn Navy Yard so check here to see the next available date and the details regarding eligibility to see if you qualify.
“Made in NY” also has a Post Production training course with a similar description so check that out here.
9. B&H PHOTO & VIDEO IN MANHATTAN
If you’re looking for a one-stop film, sound, & photo equipment store, B&H Photo & Video is it. Their superstore is one of the largest retail stores in the world specializing in media production and is by far the country’s most trusted source to purchase film gear.
B&H stocks a wide range of production equipment from cameras and lights to drones, optics, computers, microphones, and more. They have over 10,000 demo products in their 70,000 sq. foot location - there’s plenty of room to “try before you buy”.
If you’re not local to the NYC area B&H has a comprehensive online store that offers hyper-competitive prices and will ship pretty much anywhere, making it a serious competitor to any other online options.
Not only is B&H geared towards filmmakers, it’s a mainstay of NY and a landmark for any creative professional to set foot in. The unique storefront is massive by New York standards and it’s worth going to just for the event of it--a film student’s dream afternoon.
If you’re new to the city and want to see what it has to offer a young professional, jump over to 420 9th Ave, New York, New York.
8. LIGHTBULB GRIP
Whether your next production is a music video, feature, or short film, Lightbulb Grip is an outstanding rental house for all your grip & lighting needs. With over 5,000 pieces of equipment to rent from, they’ve got you covered. Their team is friendly, efficient, and can help filmmakers of all skill levels select the right gear for their next job.
The business is eco-friendly and 100% paperless, and they cater to the needs of every customer. You can rent a wide range of gear like lighting, grip equipment, & generators. They stock everything for pickup at their Brooklyn warehouse or they can deliver your order to your sets in a pinch.
They offer free classes and special deals for young and upcoming filmmakers, and do their best to create a community of like minded professionals that want to lift each other up.
Visit lightbulbgrip.com to get a quote for your next job or stop in at their warehouse-- make sure to contact them before your visit to schedule a day & time.
7. ABEL CINE
Do you like high quality cameras, lenses, and audio equipment? What about monthly workshops, community events, and online courses? Or maybe you just want to work with a trusted vendor service that has been an integral part of New York film for 30 years?
Abel Cine is a great place to spend time if you’re just starting out--they have the range of gear and professional experience to help you learn and grow as a cinematographer--or just as a film professional in general.
They offer a range of live stream and online classes that cover many elements of production and post-production, and cover everything from using a range of softwares to courses on specific cameras. Their offerings are perfect for any budding cam-op.
They are a great place to learn about gear and they offer discounts & financing when you make purchases from their sales department. It’s one of those places that feels more like a community than a business, all while maintaining a clean & professional environment.
Don’t waste time online shopping and watching other people talk about gear- head in to Abel Cine to start your next project.
6. CC RENTALS & EDGE AUTO RENTALS
Any mid-size production is going to need a way to get around the city, whether you’re shooting out of a studio or just toting gear from your HQ out to an exterior shoot.
CC and Edge Rentals both offer a wide range of vans and utility vehicles to help you truck around gear, talent, or crew from one location to another. From passenger vans to utility vehicles to sedans and SUVs, their fleets are well stocked for whatever kind of transport you need. Edge even has tractors available!
CC has locations in the West Village, Midtown, and Long Island City and 24/7 pick-up and drop off services.
Edge operates out of Queens and Brooklyn, with a Manhattan location coming soon.
BRIC is an artistic powerhouse that’s changing the landscape of media in Brooklyn. For 40 years they've nurtured a lot of young talent & shepherded them into production companies, ad agencies, and freelance career paths. Long story short, they support artists from all walks of life and feed curious minds in the media.
Their space hosts workshop areas for creatives, and their TV station is open to the public as well. They provide free & low-cost education opportunities for people of all backgrounds, making the barrier of entry very accessible to working in production.
BRIC is not just a makerspace, it’s also a great area to see events. They often host musicians, a range of art exhibits, and more!
The are home to BRIC-lab, a multi-disciplinary residency program that focuses on multiple aspects of the arts and production. Residents are given financial and mentor support as well as creative opportunities.
If you’re looking to find collaborators, expand your skills, or even just see some great exhibits and events, check out BRIC. Their website is bricartsmedia.org and please check out their space at 647 Fulton Street in Brooklyn.
4. GOTHAM SOUND - RENTAL HOUSE
Gotham Sound is one of the leading voices in audio production in New York. If you’re trying to break into audio production, go to Gotham Sound. They have a diverse array of audio equipment on display, and their partnership with Abel Cine makes it easy for them to locate and acquire the gear you need if they don’t have it in stock.
Gotham Sound isn’t just a business, it’s a resource. If you want to learn more about audio production & design, they offer articles and videos online and host events & seminars that cover new equipment, career insights, & offer an inroad into the world of audio productions.
If you’re looking for gear, tutelage, or community, visit Gotham Sound at 35-10 36th Ave. in Long Island City.
3. BE ELECTRIC STUDIOS
Be Electric is one of the more impressive studios in New York because of the sheer range in their services. It’s one of the few fully-equipped stages in the city for filmmakers to make content. They have 10 different sound stages, cyc, and raw spaces that vary in sizes and amenities. They can source G&E, camera and production supplies, so it’s ready to go on the day of your shoot.
They use an LED Video Wall that allows you to create 3D landscapes similar to green screen but a lot more high-tech and believable. This technology was used when creating the Mandalorian and Be Electric has embraced it as the future of virtual filmmaking.
If you want a highly professional and stunning space to create your content in, Be Electric Stages is your best bet--you won’t find a better alternative.
Visit their website beelectric.tv to book the space today.
2. SET SHOP (MANHATTAN) & BTL (BELOW THE LINE)
If you’re looking for paintings, expendables, technical gear, and really anything that falls in between the lines of your departments, there’s nowhere better than Set Shop or Below the Line.
Every set needs supplies and equipment, and the stores that rent out and sell the most basic set needs are often the unsung heroes of the industry. You won’t often find film equipment vendors on these lists but they make up an imperative part of the film industry.
They have a wide range of gear and can find more at request. These stores are full of random and specific equipment and if you need something unique, call ahead to see if these stores carry it.
If you’d like to work with Below the Line, you can go to their website or walk-in to their store at 73 Provost..
Take a look at Set Shop on their website or in person at 36 West 20th Street.
1. ACME BROOKLYN PROP WAREHOUSE
Honestly, ACME has the coolest website on this list so save yourself the trouble and go look them up. It’s got literally everything you could need by way of props, from circus gear to military flak vests and dinosaur sculptures.
They are a growing company with a talented design team that will work with your team to create unique and beautiful sets and pieces, and coincidentally they’re one of the 5,000 fastest growing companies in America.
If you wanna know more about them please, just visit their website and see what they have in their warehouse. Shoot them an email if you need more specific help. Well, that wraps up our list! New York is full of great resources and you can find some of them on our “Vendors and Owner Ops” page that we add to consistently. You can listen to our podcast episode where Tom talks about these 10 in depth, and we’ll always update you with the best the city has to offer for fellow filmmakers. See you on set!