45 Years of Cinelease

Our History

Cinelease has served the Film and Television Industry since 1977. The company was established 45 years ago as a mom-and-pop operation that quickly expanded into an international company with multiple locations and is now owned by a Fortune 1000 company, Herc Rentals.

Cinelease provides the highest level of service, best quality of lighting and grip packages, and relentless support to their customers. Their rich history is due in part to an incredible team and leadership including Joe Ball, who has been instrumental in the Cinelease legacy.

History of Cinelease
Since ’77

Cinelease was born through the humble beginnings of a small lighting and grip company founded in the garage of a mom-and-pop business, operating with eight employees.

The majority of film sets were served by heavy equipment painted bright orange or yellow because the equipment providers primarily served the construction industry. A pivotal moment was when Herc Rentals began tailoring their heavy equipment to directly serve the film and entertainment market.

Herc Entertainment Services made a critical change to their inventory for the film, Back to the Future. This was the first time a film was supplied with heavy equipment painted a non reflective matte black. Historically a gaffer was hired to tape up the bright orange equipment so light wouldn’t be reflected on set.

Chris started as a driver with Cinelease, serving the set of Beverly Hills 90210. It didn’t take long for his talents and knowledge of the industry to enable him to grow into a leadership role at Cinelease.

His relationships and foresight have helped position Cinelease as the gold standard for lighting and grip.

Servicing 90210 represented a major pivotal moment for Cinelease, allowing for expansion from exclusively film to episodic television as well. The recurring services required by series led to major increases of Cinelease’s business and inventory, fueling its growth.

Acquiring the talented Joe Ball was a gamechanger for Cinelease. His extensive connections within the industry helped Cinelease increase its client base, build new relationships, and expand its network.

In 1994, a historic earthquake disrupted business at Cinelease and led to a restructuring of the company, ultimately pushing it to make a big leap forward. Cinelease brought on more staff, a sales team, and more gear and equipment.

After reaching 20 years in business, Cinelease kicked off its Hollywood Star Program, awarding staff members that reach 20 years with the company an authentic Hollywood star – the same type that are on the Hollywood Walk of Fame!

Through strategic acquisitions, Cinelease scaled up -doubling its inventory and reaching a milestone achievement of supplying more than 30 shows during a single pilot season.This newfound ability to simultaneously service dozens of productions solidified Cinelease’s standing as an industry leader.

Cinelease’s inventory outgrew their existing space, pushing the company to relocate to where they are today, beneath their iconic Los Angeles sign that can be seen from miles away.

There were massive changes in the industry and new players in the lighting and grip world. With new competition entering the market, Herc Rentals’ partnership with Cinelease created a game changing opportunity to offer white glove service to the far reaches of the industry.

In the wake of a tragedy on set, a robust foundation was created: The Sarah Jones Foundation, also known as Safety for Sarah. Cinelease became a proud sponsor and advocate for safety on set and behind the camera.

Historically, Hertz owned Herc Rentals, but in 2016 the two companies split, enabling Herc Rentals to become its own company. This critical moment paved the way for the future of Herc Rentals and Herc Entertainment Services, positioning it to become Cinelease’s parent company, providing Cinelease full support and autonomy as they continued their growth in the film and entertainment industry.

Herc Rentals became the parent company of Cinelease after years of the two companies working side by side. This acquisition was a mutually beneficial and transformative decision that set the tone for the future of the collective company and the communities they serve.

Cinelease combined their decades of lighting and grip experience with the heavy equipment and pro solutions of Herc Entertainment Services and began offering purpose-built studio spaces throughout the United States. Cinelease Studios offers filmmakers a full-service production experience by making the services of the entire Herc Entertainment family easily accessible from each studio location.

In late 2021, Herc Entertainment Services purchased Dwight Crane and LRX -leaders in Canada’s heavy equipment and lighting industries.

The acquisition further expanded the inventory of specialty lighting and grip equipment the Herc Entertainment family can offer clients in the United States and Canada, along with safety equipment and specialty assets specifically designed for the film and entertainment industry.

This year marks Cinelease’s45th anniversary -a proud moment to reflect on a business that has transformed from its humble beginnings as a mom-and-pop shop into an industry leader that’s serviced hundreds of productions, from a dozen locations.

Amidst Cinelease’s growth throughout the years, one thing has remained the same -a culture of a family-oriented business with a strong sense of community. The Cinelease team is more than just co-workers, it’s a family that loves to serve the filmmaking and entertainment industry.

Cinelease Culture

From our inception, we’ve prided ourselves on the knowledge, commitment, and service of all our team members. The average Cinelease employee has a decade of experience with the company so you’re sure to be dealing with not only highly trained professionals, but experts in their fields.

We continue to show up for our community through our ongoing presence in industry events including film festivals, live events, Professional Associations, and awarding production grants to up and coming filmmakers around the world.

Heritage

Our Values

At Cinelease, we pride ourselves on being exemplary in providing the highest level of service, best quality of products, and exceptional support to our customers. Our number one priority is ensuring that each and every customer has the best possible experience with our expert team.

After more than 40 years of servicing thousands of feature films, television productions, commercials, music videos, and pilots, we’ve earned our place as the choice for the top independent studios across the country.

Services

Cinelease possesses the largest lighting rental inventory in the U.S. Our expansive inventory houses all the manufactured brands in tandem with a large selection of specialty items. Our inventory reflects the preferred choice of the experienced working professional.

Each customer is guaranteed both the highest quantity and quality of equipment inventory in the market. With our top-of-the-line unlimited stock, our customers will be given the most for their budgets.

Products & Support

We continue to update and expand our stock and services to reflect the ever-growing demands of the lighting and grip industry.

Electric

The Electric department processes all rental orders involving HMI, tungsten, cable and distribution, dimming, LED, andKino Flo fluorescent lighting. Each rental order is delegated by an experienced foreman to a Cinelease warehouse leader.

Grip

The Grip department processes all rental orders involving grip equipment, including grip stands, overheads and flags, parallels, frames, grip carts, ladders, scaffolding, pipe, iron, wood, and cloth inventory.

Fully Customized Truck Packages

Choose from 1, 3, 5, or 10-ton trucks pre-loaded or with standard options or á la carte to match the needs of your project, big or small.

Locations

Throughout the past 40 years, we’ve expanded across the country so no matter where you’re filming, Cinelease is never far. On set or on location, we’re available to meet your needs.

Our Future is Bright

Cinelease has been able to grow from a small family owned business to being the industry leading provider of lighting and grip services. Together with Herc Entertainment Services, Cinelease continues to offer unmatched customer service to the film and entertainment industry across the US and Canada.