At Texas Media Systems our goal is to help you get the equipment you need, when you need it. Chris Brank is the founder and CEO of Let People See, a video production agency based in South Carolina. His business has utilized the leasing options we have to get the gear he needs or to simply add another tool to his kit. Let People See just won a Gold American Advertising Federation award for a mini-doc that was shot in the Congo that you can watch here. We took the time to chat with Chris about how he got started, his business and more.
What’s your earliest memory of filmmaking or the moment you knew you wanted to pursue this as a career?
Chris: It might not be the earliest moment, but back in 2012 I was planning a trip to Lima, Peru. I had been shooting fun little promos and corporate work, some of them profitable, but I decided it was time to shoot for the moon. Canon announced the Canon C100 and one of the first stores in the U.S. to get one was this place called Texas Media Systems. I struck up a conversation with Leroy and we worked for weeks to get one of the very first Canon C100’s shipped to me before my Peru trip. The giant box was delivered the night before the flight, and the whole week in Lima I only brought it out of the case twice! I said I was terrified to get it dirty, but secretly I didn’t even know how to use the thing. Three Canon C100’s later (along with two Canon 5D Mark IV’s, a Canon 1DX Mark II, two Canon C300 Mark II’s, and four Canon C200’s), I still don’t know how to use them to their full potential. But along the way, I’ve found team members who are way better than I am.
Your company Chris Brank Films started in 2011 and you recently transitioned to a new banner, “Let People See.” Can you talk about some of the projects you started working on and what’s the story behind “Let People See.”
Chris: I never liked working alone! And so even as “Chris Brank Films” it would always be “Hi, I’m Chris, and this is Taylor, David, John, Lauren….” And because of the team approach, nothing was ever just a “Chris Brank” film. I was thrilled to change the name! After many nights on godaddy.com, we finally found something that resonated with what we do. We “let people see” the awesome things our clients are doing! And Let People See was born. Or…registered.
As an independent filmmaker with a small team, expenses must be very important. You’ve leased quite a bit of equipment with us, can you talk about how that’s been a benefit to your company and being able to grow?
Chris: Absolutely! Payroll is tough – cash flow is of utmost importance. We’ve often got 2-4 shoots happening at the same time. And as we’ve continued to grow, I can’t tell you how many emails I’ve sent to Leroy along the lines of: “We’ve got 20 shoots over the next 3 months and we need another camera and another set of lenses. Can you get it here by next Tuesday?” The leasing options are fantastic because we usually don’t have the money until after shoots are wrapped, but we need the gear to accomplish the shoots. Leasing gives us no hesitation to grab gear at 0% or incredibly low interest rates. We know we can get the gear and get the job done!
What would you tell people who may be hesitant about the lease to own program?
Chris: Cash flow is what can make or break a business. There’s so many 0% options or incredibly low interest rate options through Texas Media Systems (we’ve found the 36 month with 1.9% interest to be a sweet spot), it’s a no-brainer for us to split up the cost of equipment. “Spend it all now” or “split it up over time”… seriously, it’s a no-brainer when interest rates are ridiculously low.
What’s in your arsenal right now? Do you have any must-have lenses or cameras you can’t live without now? Any favorites to shoot with or your team’s favorites?
Chris: Right now, each of our kits has two Canon C200’s, a Canon 5D Mark IV on a DJI Ronin-M, and a full set of Canon L primes and zooms (24mm 1.4L, 35mm 1.4L, 50mm 1.2L, 85mm 1.4IS, 100mm L Macro, 24-105mm 4.0L II, 70-200mm 4.0L IS, 16-35mm 4.0L IS, 100-400mm II). We’ve got two of those kits, and also two C300 Mark II’s. For stills, we’ve got a 1DX Mark II and we’re working on building another Canon L lens set. We’re also traveling with Quasar Science bulbs that we bought through Texas Media Systems…those have been game-changers!
Can you talk about the approach to a project “Let People See” takes and how having the varied equipment helps you make the best product for a customer.
Chris: We really serve as a video factory for agencies and brands. They tell us what they want, we make it happen. We’re incredibly involved on the execution side, so takes plenty of crew and plenty of gear. With equipment like DSLRS, Canon C200’s, and Canon C300 Mark II’s, we’re able to work on a wide range of production levels. The Canon C200’s are used on 95% of the work (with the .mp4 codec on beautifully inexpensive SD cards), but they have the ability to step up to RAW if the project calls for it.
What are you working on now that you can share with us?
Chris: At any given time we’ve got 10-20 projects in the works, the juggle is half the fun! Some of the most exciting projects right now are an upcoming conference in Minneapolis, some tourism work in the mountains of North Carolina, and a trip to Toronto for an awesome scrap metal company.
Why do you keep coming back to Texas Media Systems?
Chris: The customer service is exceptional. We’ve been able to get everything we need exactly when we need it for seven years straight. The access to a real person on the phone in under 30 seconds is getting harder and harder to find! There are plenty of suppliers closer to us in South Carolina, but when you find someone you trust, it doesn’t matter where they are. I trust Texas Media Systems, and they go above and beyond to retain that trust. That’s what matters!
Take a look at Let People See’s demo reel that was shot on Canon.
You can see more of Let People See’s work by visiting their website www.letpeoplesee.com. If you’re looking for equipment for your company, give us a call at 512-440-1400 to speak with a sales rep today!