“When I realized I needed a new direction, I thought about what I loved to do,” says Ben Lambeth, co-owner of Cinder Lighting & Grip. “I turned to a hobby of mine –– filmmaking.”
So long math department, hello business major.
Active in the film club at Georgia Tech, Ben met Gabe Pippas, an engineering major also drifting toward film. They owned their own equipment to do their film projects, but discovered people wanted to rent it for their own work.
“Within a few months they were bringing on a staff to help with the workload, and rented a warehouse to store their expanding inventory”
By 2014, the industry starting to take off in Georgia, and the company grew as well. It now has 10 employees and has supplied equipment for television series like “Love and Hip Hop Atlanta,” “Your Worst Nightmare” and “Dead Silent.” The bulk of the company’s rentals are for commercials and music videos.
Although most productions are months or years in the planning, a producer’s need for extra equipment can pop up overnight. “We’re very used to day-before or day-of orders,” says Ben. “We react as we go.”
The growth of the industry has been a big boost to Ben and Gabe.
Although the movie and television production is spread across the state, most of the major suppliers of equipment are concentrated in Metro Atlanta. Because Cinder will pack all the equipment in a truck and let the production crews drive it to their own locations, statewide distribution is simplified.
Ben and Gabe have kept up their own work as independent filmmakers and share a keen drive to help other independents by providing affordable ways to rent equipment.
“We want to encourage more locally produced content,” Ben says. “We want to encourage more Georgia-based production, not just filming.”