Starting next year, Portlanders will be able to access to a library of professional-quality AV equipment for as little as $1 per year.
Open Signal has officially launched their pay-what-you-will membership program, which includes access to dozens of professional-quality cameras, field lighting and recording equipment and editing and animation software.
Open Signal began in 2017 as the rebranded Portland Media Community Media. Since then, they've hosted regular classes, free screenings and artists residencies.
But the organization's low-cost gear library is their most singular feature. Thanks to arthouse movie theaters and big-budget, out-of-town productions that frequently film around the city, Portland has a wide-ranging film industry, but the barrier to entry is high. There are other nonprofits in the city that offer filmmaking classes and gear rentals, but according to the organization, Open Signal is the only one in Portland proper that loans equipment for a membership fee, rather than a la carte.
After a soft launch in May, open enrollment is now available for memberships. One dollar is the starting price, and according to Open Signal, the average membership donation during the test run was $39.39.
Members are required to take a certification class before accessing the library, which range from $45 for a software certification to $220 for a certification to use the software and equipment required to make narrative film. Members can take a test to skip intro classes or apply for scholarships. After members are certified, they have access to Open Signal's equipment and production studios.