In 2013 I departed Focus24 (F24) to work at Goldsmiths, University of London. Back then F24 was based in a relatively new building on Central Street in the Old Street area of East London – a far cry from the humble beginnings on Hoxton Square. Today I have made the journey to Acton in West London to visit F24’s new digs on the well-known Park Royal Industrial Estate. Park Royal is home to some of the leading film equipment companies such as Panalux, Cirrolite, Take 2, VMI, SOLA Lighting and the now well-established studio facility Black Island Studios. The purpose of my visit – as well as to see F24’s new home – is to help establish industry contact and also to see what the latest trends are in the world of camera equipment hire.
The building is situated in amongst many like it – however on entering I was greeted by some well-dressed men who where pleased to see people where arriving. I signed in and made my way into a large function room with drinks and a huge flat screen TV (England V’s Croatia world cup semi-final). I got chatting to an old colleague I worked with on a short a few years back and then Ben Mitchell, F24’s owner, gave us a whirlwind tour of the facilities. Consisting of two large prep rooms, Lens collimation space (Gecko collimator & dark out room with projector) and a massive kit room floor with its own bay for an off road vehicle purpose built for filming. The bookings team have their own office and the hallways are decked out with inspiring film posters and comfy chairs for hanging out on. The space is brand spanking new and purpose built for the accommodation of pre-shoot test crews and equipment hire builds and processing to the highest standard.
Over the years since working at F24 I have increasingly noticed the name appear in credits of some of the most creative and technically excellent productions I have seen in commercials, music promos and independent films. When F24 acquired Filmscape Media in 2017, a well-established equipment hire company previously based at Pinewood studios and recently relocated to Acton, the F24 family expanded. With the addition of Motion24 and rummors of U24 in the pipeline, it seems F24 are well placed to weather the future. With other well-established companies just a stone throw away (Panavision, VMI, ARRI Rental etc.) this will be a space to watch in the world of film equipment hire over the coming years.
Focus 24 http://focus24.tv/
Motion 24 https://motion24.tv/
F24 on Instagram https://www.instagram.com/focus24hire/
Other web links:
Black Island Studio http://www.islandstudios.net/black-island-studios/
ARRI Rental https://www.arrirental.co.uk/
SOLA Lighting http://www.solalights.com/light