We all for sure will be working with equipment this semester, whether is is checking it out from PPECS, on set, or something else, knowing that the equipment is functioning properly and will continue to function properly is a must.
The first step to ensuring that your equipment won't fail out on you is when you're checking it out. You need to check and set up EVERY piece of equipment you are checking out. This doesn't mean just setting up the camera and turning it on. It means checking every filter and making sure they're all clean and not broken, as well as setting up and fully extending every level on each C-Stand and so on for every piece of equipment.
While this seems like an extremely tedious process, especially when the technicians at PPECS tell you that all the equipment is working properly, mistakes have been made, and they will be made again, and one little mistake may be the difference between getting the shot while still leaving the location by your hard out time. I work at PPECS, and we always check the equipment to the best of our abilities to ensure it will continue working, but sometimes we miss things, or equipment fails suddenly. Another set of eyes, specifically your own eyes, will help make sure there is no faults.
Upon checkout you can always request an order form with the list of all the equipment you checked out with the specific numbers of each item, which I highly recommend. Give a copy to this list of each department head on your production so during any company moves you can make sure no equipment is left behind.
When checking out equipment to student productions I often notice it is only 1 or 2 people there for checkouts, and most often those are people in positions that won't be working closely with the equipment (director, producer). I strongly encourage productions to bring as many people as they can to PPECS upon time of checkout and checkin, not only to make the process go as fast as possible, but also to get more people to look at the equipment before it goes on set.
At PPECS we have counters lining all of the walls with outlets right on the counter tops. We encourage you to use this space to make checking all of your equipment easier. Checkout is a great time to become more familiar with the equipment you'll be using on set before you have to perform in a high stress environment. If you have any questions about how a piece of gear works or what its function is, I'm sure the counter workers will be more than happy to answer.
Here's a video from David Elkins, author of The Camera Assistant's Manual, on how to prep a camera package.
And always remember to have PPECS number in your phone in case anything goes wrong or you have any questions!
Here it is just in case: (607) 274-3636
*All views and opinions reflected in this blog post are my own and do not reflect the views and opinions of PPECS, it's employees, or any other members associated with PPECS or the Park School of Communications.*