Vantage, the worldwide camera equipment rental house — as well as designer and manufacturer of Hawk Anamorphic Lenses — is growing rapidly. They are simultaneously expanding their Prague, Paris, and Berlin branches, as well as headquarters in Weiden. Each expansion will add much needed space for current and future growth, providing customers with even more spacious, state-of-the-art camera check-out areas and facilities.
We visited the under-construction Paris facilities 2 weeks ago, and caught up with Peter Märtin and Wolfgang Bäumler, Executive Directors, at Micro Salon in Paris on Feb 8. Peter said, “Our products and our service are world class, and our expansion allows us to continue that tradition wherever our customers need us.”
Paris is Vantage’s newest location and is situated in the northern media district, La Plaine St. Denis, with customer on-site parking and large loading docks. The loft-style building is light, spacious, and comfortable. Although the French office has only been open since 2011, Vantage’s success in this market required facility expansion. Alexander Bscheidl, Vantage’s Paris Director, said, “Space is golden, and our current renovation project doubles that space. The first project we supported in Paris was Taken 2, starring Liam Neeson. At that time, the crew was extremely happy with our testing facilities. Now, two years later, the first project that will use our newest space is the crew for Taken 3. It is funny how things sometimes come full circle.”
The addition increases the number of camera prep bays to 15 and adds a 130 square meter studio for product shots and costume, hair, and make-up tests. This provides the Paris office the capacity to support large feature films while reducing logistical challenges and saving customers time and money. These renovations are being overseen by Alexander Bscheidl and will be completed by April. His goal is to provide customers with the best possible facilities to make every visit a pleasant one. And the industrial size expresso machine is awesome.
Alexander Bscheidl: “The new addition will double the current size of the facility by adding 600 square meters and transforms this location into an ideal camera equipment rental house for commercials and feature films in France.”
Vantage has been serving the film community in Prague for 20 years. Its location in the heart of the city provides easy access to the historical district, parking, and loading. It has been praised by many Cinematographers who would rather enjoy the city than spend hours driving through traffic to test equipment. Jindřich Čipera, the long-time Director of Vantage’s Prague office said, “Vantage’s decision to stay near the city center is the right one, and our recent upgrades greatly enhance the services we provide.” The addition centers on the creation of 3 new prep bays that provide crews with plenty of room for testing in a comfortable, modern environment. Some of the more interesting details include the installation of skylights and the removal of walls to create a lighter overall feeling that is seamlessly integrated into the current space. The renovations will be completed in April.
Jindřich Čipera: “It would have been easier to relocate, but the move would have forced us further away from the center, so we took the more difficult route of enlarging our current location in order to continue to provide our customers with a convenient location that gives them fast and efficient service.”
Andreas Teichner, the Senior Director at Vantage, project designer and coordinator for Berlin said, “Now that we are well established in both Prague and Paris, we have turned our attention to Berlin and the film renaissance taking place here. More and more international feature films and commercial productions are based in Berlin, and these are the types of projects where Vantage excels. We knew we had to increase our footprint in Berlin as demand has grown, and the only way to do it right is to move to a new location and increase our staff. That is exactly what we are doing.” The historical building is being specially tailored to meet Vantage’s needs in Berlin and provide a state-of-the-art facility with plenty of room for equipment and personnel. It has great direct access into the city and highways, lots of parking, and easy loading and unloading opportunities. According to Teichner, the renovations comprise a 4-times increase in size, add multiple prep bays, provide gorgeous facilities, and have wonderful amenities customers deserve. The exact location will be announced shortly, and the move should be completed sometime in May.
Andreas Teichner: “When we saw the building, it was love at first sight. It is simply perfect.”
Vantage’s world headquarters and design atelier is located in Weiden, Germany. Every day is busy as guest cinematographers test the latest equipment, developers put the prototypes through their paces, and lenses are assembled with care and precision. The spirit of the company is palpable in the buzz.Peter Märtin said, “Our products and services dovetail with the needs of customers. Change is consistent, and we need to be both nimble enough to react to it and strong enough to influence it.”
The company expanded operations in Weiden in 2001 and again in 2009, adapting and growing with demand. This cutting-edge facility is expanding once again with the addition of a brand new, two-story building that will house the Executive Administrative staff, Worldwide Accounting Office, and several Research and Development Offices. The new building directly connects to the recently expanded manufacturing section, which doubled in size in 2013. That previous renovation saw the installation of a state-of-the-art manufacturing center for the newly developed, patent-pending filter technology used to make Vantage Bethke-Effect, Vantage Blue-Vision EXP, and Vantage White-Vision EXP filters. The new addition will also provide crews prepping in Weiden with a new area that is roomy and quiet. It will also give crews more privacy by providing access to a different street away from main entrance. This modern building will be finished in September.
Wolfgang Bäumler said, “Our new, larger R & D offices located near manufacturing give us the ability to move our ideas from the drawing board to production in an extremely efficient manner, allowing us to react quickly to market demand. We bring together the highly technical and complicated aspects of lenses and combine them with the aesthetic qualities every cinematographer wants. We listen to our customers’ wishes and needs, and our efforts are driven by their dreams.”
The physical expansions are only part of the story. By September, ten new job positions will be posted as well.
All of these exciting new developments document the smooth, continuous expansion that Vantage is seeing in multiple markets. When asked if any other plans were in the wings, Peter Märtin replied, “We are just getting started.”