Co-Founder and Executive Director
Co-Founder and Executive Director
Dr. Ing. A. B. AGOUROK,
Chief Scientist Optical Systems
Peter Märtin and Wolfgang Bäumler are childhood friends and film enthusiasts. They founded Vantage Film in 1993 and share a passion for detail and perfection. They are both associate members of the American Society of Cinematographers (ASC).
“When we set up our own rental house in 1993, it was because of the difficulties we had run into while renting equipment for our own films,” says Peter Märtin, “For example, we discovered that some rental places had a collection of filters but no complete sets. Previous productions had requested specific filters, so the rental people had, quite reasonably, bought only those. They were happy to order a few more for us, but sometimes, those arrived too late.”
Wolfgang Bäumler adds, “We discovered that some of the places operated like businesses that rent out everyday consumer things, cars for example. They had very little sense of what a film crew might need. Nobody's fault –logically, it was our job to tell them what we wanted. And the people at several of the places specialized in very low bids. They apparently did little preventive maintenance. When something broke down, they replaced it. Again, quite logical for cars.”
He continues, “On the other hand, some of the big rental houses knew film production, but they understandably preferred working with big, established clients on long, multiple-camera shoots. We knew from the start that we wanted to work with all cinematographers.”
Renting cameras for our own shoots had given us the template for our own business: we would provide film crews with the knowledgeable support that we had looked for but hadn't found. One small example: when one of our clients faxed us an equipment order but the decision to shoot in film or digital was not decided until the last minute. We prepared both equipment lists since we know how quickly things need to take place in the film industry. The decision came through right before the shoot, and we shipped the equipment to their specifications, on time.
For example, other rental houses had difficulty shipping equipment abroad. The challenges of finding reliable transport, dealing with customs forms and regulations, clarifying insurance with customers, and protecting the expensive equipment was too much for them. We quickly realized that in order to do the job right, we needed to make first-rate logistical service a major part of the Vantage experience. We succeeded.
All our cases are made according to our drawings and specifications in Los Angeles. The lens cases are blue, and our camera cases are grey. On three sides of each case big, red letters indicate the contents –lenses, camera body, matte box, etc. Tracking these 5500 cases is a monumental logistical undertaking. We get them to the sets and back every day.
From the beginning, our aim has been to provide dependable and knowledgeable service. Whether you need someone who has the technical answers or someone who speaks your mother tongue, we speak your language.
90% of our business now originates outside Germany. Our rental equipment has been shipped to New Zealand, South Africa, China, Korea, Japan, throughout Europe, Latin America, and the USA –over 60 countries in all. Our Berlin, Prague, and Paris facilities have become the busiest and best-equipped rental houses in their markets.
We began Vantage over twenty years ago because we knew we could do the job better. The same idea prompted us to begin designing custom accessories. We saw the need for better anamorphics, and when Vantage became a success, the money enabled us to begin designing the Hawks. We have continued to grow ever since because of our commitment to producing superb cine lenses.
Now we have twelve engineers in our research and development offices working on optics, lens mechanics, electronic devices, and video software. You can expect to see more of their work in the future.
On sets we equip, you can find lots of Hawk lenses and optics from any of the important lens manufacturers, including Angénieux, Bausch & Lomb, Canon, Century, Clairmont, Cooke, Kinoptik, Kowa, Leica, Nikon, Vantage, and Zeiss. When we started Vantage Film, we already knew something about lenses from our own shoots. Now we know a lot more.
The Cinec Award is the most important European prize for state-of-the-art film technology. Vantage has won this prestigious award five times to date.
T1 - VantageOne® Spherical Lenses
Hawk V‑Lite Anamorphic Lenses
Hawk 10-24 mm/T2.5 Super Wide Angle Zoom Lens
PSU-1 Digital Video Combo
Hawk V‑Series Anamorphics and the Hawk 150-450 mm/T2.8 Telephoto Zoom Lens