Shooting as an independent, you may end up renting a lot of gear, but you’re also going to collect a lot of camera gear over time that you’ve bought. That means you need a good system to inventory, organize and protect that gear so you know where it is when you need it, or where it should be when it goes missing. And of course, “there’s an app for that,” and this one is called MyGearVault.
“I get more emails than I should with stories of how someone’s gear was stolen, and they want to crowd fund replacements, because they didn’t have insurance. That’s all about to change. Whether you’re a working professional, a beginner, or a seasoned photo enthusiast, odds are you have a significant investment in your photo / video gear, which NEEDS to be organized to be protected. Knowing what you have and what its worth is the first step to protecting yourself. ” Jared Polin (Fro Knows Photo) creator of MyGearVault
MyGearVault was created by YouTube star Jared Polin, aka Fro Knows Photo, who wanted a system by which to organize and inventory all the camera gear he has collected over the year. So he set out to create a free and easy to use interface, complete with a searchable database of the most popular camera gear with which to choose from.
The app enables shooters to input important information about each piece of camera gear, including serial number, a picture of your sales receipt, metadata on date purchased, how much you paid, and even if you have that gear assigned to a specific kit.
After you download and install the MyGearVault app, you sign up either via email or a social media account. I prefer not to use the latter, opting on the email address so nobody else has access to the information on my social media account. Then, once you’ve verified your account, you’re ready to start entering your camera gear data. You click on the plus sign (+) to add a new piece of gear or to create a new kit.
This brings up the searchable database, which you can then begin typing the kind of gear you have. You can also select filter, to weed out everything but what you’re looking for. The database isn’t perfect, and it doesn’t have every single piece of gear. But you can enter the information manually to fit the piece of gear that you actually have. I suspect that this will help build the database at the same time.
Then you can take a picture of the serial number and sales receipt, or enter the data manually. This can be a bit tedious, since the automatic crop of the image can often force you to reshoot it. So I’d advise taking the time and just enter it manually. It’s much faster that way. Or you can take a picture with the smartphone camera and then insert it from your camera roll. You can also create kits based on the kind of gear you need for different projects.
“I have seen too many times that people are denied coverage, don’t have an adequate policy, or no coverage at all,” says Polin. This is the first step users can take to protect themselves.”
Once you have all your data inputted, MyGearVault will give you a total cash value with which to investigate your insurance options. They have partnered with insurance companies that specialize in covering film and photography gear, and can write you a policy based on a few simple questions. There’s a video in the videos app that can walk you through it. Once completed, the survey will send you a no obligation insurance quote for your gear, but it’s only available to US residents.
Other advantages include that you can even export your database to a CSV to maintain a local spreadsheet of your gear, and if your gear gets stolen, the app will let you know if the gear gets added to someone else’s MyGearVault. The app also teaches you how to take steps to protect your gear from being lost and stolen as well.
Finally, you can notify MyGearVault of a stolen item that you can report, and it enables you to add a police report number. The system will then be alerted and will be on the lookout for it, in order to be notified if the gear is added to another vault.
All told, I think that MyGearVault is a valuable app that can help you keep track and inventory your camera gear. The only think missing is integration with an RSS chip reader like GearEye, which can let you track your gear when you have trouble locating it. Adding this function would make it rock solid.
The MyGearVault app is available free of charge in the iTunes App Store, with plans for an Android version down the road.