Rentals, Repairs and Rock ‘n’ Roll – Visit Koerner Camera Systems

In August, while I was in Portland, Oregon for Resolvecon 2023, I took some time to visit Koerner Camera Systems, the largest camera rental company north of Los Angeles with offices in both Portland and Seattle. I spoke with owner Michael Koerner about his business history.

Michael started out as a camera assistant and got his first ARRI-S. He then purchased an SR-2 and an SR-3 and began renting out his cameras, marking the beginning of a business that has now grown to 13 employees.

Rentals and repairs

Koerner Camera Systems not only rents some important equipment such as the ARRA ALEXA 35, but also advises customers on their choices of lenses and cameras, and handles repairs as well.

There’s a lot of communication that goes on between producers, directors, cinematographers and camera assistants to make sure everything is dialed in perfectly. Even in commercials, there might only be 10 or 15 boxes of equipment, but if a candidate wasn’t there when they asked for it, it might only cost $8 or $10 to rent it. The shoot blew my mind, and it wasn’t done right. .

Michael Corner, Corner Camera Systems

The company also hosts the Pacific Northwest Lens Summit, which focuses on the latest in optical cinema technology and accessories. More than 30 exhibitors show off their latest gear and offer lessons on their latest optics. Check out more information about this conference here.

A selection of lenses at Koerner Camera Systems – Image credit: CineD

The cases are very critical. Cases are not cheap. You have to spend money on it, but if you have a lens that costs $150,000 to $200,000, who cares about another $1,000 for a good condition?

Michael Corner, Corner Camera Systems

Talk to technicians

I interviewed lens technician Carrie Fouts about her routine of checking equipment as she returns from filming. We saw her measure optics in the lens viewing room, and at the end of the video, we got her top tip when handling lenses on set.

They are all paintbrushes. They are all different palettes just depending on the functionality and creative look someone is going for. They are all adventure. Each lens has its own experience of knowing what I will find.

Senior Lens Technician Carrie Fouts on the lenses

We also get a look at camera technician Brian Yazzie cleaning a camera sensor he just received from a customer. There’s a lot of cool gear you can see in this video!

In the Pacific Northwest, it rains a lot but it’s not a very humid environment, so you don’t have to worry as much about mold and mildew. We have silica packs that we sometimes put in the lenses in their case, but we don’t have any specific storage issues like that. As in Los Angeles, their main storage problem is earthquake-prone areas. They will have the lenses in a basement or they will have racks mounted on the wall so that there is no chance of the racks falling over with lenses on them.

Michael Corner, Corner Camera Systems

Camera technician Brian Yazzie at the camera station – Image credit: CineD

What is the piece of equipment featured in the video that you would most like to own? Did you rent from Koerner Cameras? Want to see more mini-docs like this? Let us know in the comments below!

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