No 56k: Want to make a car rig? Here's my story . . .

Boobo-oobo

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Hope you wont mind this Loooooooong post . . . I wanted to do a write up on all of mine experience with rigs and stuff around them in hope someone finds this helpful. I did all of this as a hobby, and the fact that I love making stuff. So here goes nothin' :

First rig i made was back in 2010 from parts I found around the house. The pole was a copper central heating pipe (not the best thing in the world, but hey) and connected with hose clamps to the suction cups.




This was very shaky, but it did kinda well. I was able to get some good shots, not the best angle's tho, since the pole was short.




Then I replaced the cooper pipe with an aluminum pipe. This was much more stable, and adding a couple of hose clamps gave the ability to position the suction cups in various ways, not like with the copper one where I drilled fixed holes in the pipe.



Since it was more stable, i tried putting the camera further from the car, and i gave some neat shots, but still, nothing special.







In that time I also made some variations of rigs, things like this :




Which were great fun to use :). These are some pics with the camera attached to the car :





Drove with that on the hood of the car at 50-60km/h with no problem.
Up to this point, I really didn't invest a cent into the rig. All of that was just stuff I found around the house and some DIY work. For my next version tho, i decided to go a bit further. I ordered some aluminum pipe, 3 sections od 2m pipe.





Also upgraded the hose clamps to these :





In theory, this was all very good. The main problem was in the fact that the pipe was just too "weak". Not enough metal to cope with the stress. First test i did was with 2 sections (4m):




And also there's always a problem with mounting the rig. There were a lot of bolts, and screws to deal with, and thats not the most practical thing to do that close to the car bodywork. And adjusting the angle was tricky, since everything was fixed, no ball joints or anything like that.
For the full 6m rig, I made a cable support system to help with the bouncing.





This is where i found out that those hose clamps dont really work that well. Because of the rubber, the pole would still rotate and flex. So i got rid of them as cable support.



Despite all of that, this performed very well. Now I had the length that i wanted and it produced some nice shots.










I also made a double cable support system to further help with the vibrations.




And this kinda worked OK. The bounce of the pole can be worked around, and if you take time you can get some sharp images. But the whole assemble of the thing was a bit of an pain in the ass. And there was a lot to go wrong. Oh, just one more thing, i never had a problem with those suction cups. Never did they release the rig, or fail or something like that, so don't be afraid to use them, they work quite well.
For my latest version i wanted kinda the whole deal, simplicity and features. So i did my research and started from ground up. Ordered some new pipes :




Even painted them matte, just a clear coat.



And in comparison to the old pipes :



Both were at 6m and just left standing in the middle. The new pipe holds up a heck of a lot better. Haven't tested the whole thing yet, but don't think I'll need support cables.

For the camera mount, i went with the cheap variable friction arm.




As for the suction cups, i went with Woods Powr Grips, TL6AMB model.



Bought some Super clamps and made some custom extension poles :




And for the Woods cups, i made some adapters and such :



Drilled 1/4 threaded holes in the extensions :



So that gives me a fixed mounting point :



This adapter is for mounting tripod heads to the suction cup directly. 1/4 female to 3/8 male.




And another 1/4 female to 3/8 male adapter to mount the arm to the cup directly if needed.




The new rig is not finished, so no pics or anything of that yet. I'm still waiting for the Avenger swivels, which should arrive this week. That will give me more mounting options.



And thats my story really. Really sorry for the ultra long post, but i hope you find all of this as interesting as i do. Hope you learn something new, and go out and make something by yourself :p. As soon as i get all of the final pieces, I'll post some pics of the rig and some test shots.

I'm open to criticism, and if you have any questions, feel free to ask . . .
 

IceBone

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I wonder how it would cope with my camera. Mind if we do another cro-meet on a sunny weekend and try it out? :mrgreen:
 

Boobo-oobo

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I wonder how it would cope with my camera. Mind if we do another cro-meet on a sunny weekend and try it out? :mrgreen:
You know you're welcome anytime . . .

Already had a Nikon DSLR on the older rig, the smaller pipe, and it held it, well sort of . . . :p
 

IceBone

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I'll take the battery grip off and we'll use the 24mm lens, which is my lightest. :p
 

Alok

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Looks cool! How are you doing the setup shot? (after the ring shot is done, that is)
 

Boobo-oobo

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e46 330xd Touring
Looks cool! How are you doing the setup shot? (after the ring shot is done, that is)
Are you asking how do I remove the rig in post-processing? Or something else? Sorry, don't know what you mean exactly.
 
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Alok

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Are you asking how do I remove the rig in post-processing? Or something else? Sorry, don't know what you mean exactly.
I mean, once you have taken your rig shots, you have to take another photo of the car without the rig. How are you doing that, especially since you have to keep the camera aligned properly.
 

thomas

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I mean, once you have taken your rig shots, you have to take another photo of the car without the rig. How are you doing that, especially since you have to keep the camera aligned properly.
Why would he have to do it? Take a rig-shot, remove the rig during pp, profit!?
 

Boobo-oobo

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I mean, once you have taken your rig shots, you have to take another photo of the car without the rig. How are you doing that, especially since you have to keep the camera aligned properly.
Why would he have to do it? Take a rig-shot, remove the rig during pp, profit!?
What thomas said. I do it in Photoshop. There's no way you could 100% align the shot without the rig, that's impossible.
 

Alok

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What thomas said. I do it in Photoshop. There's no way you could 100% align the shot without the rig, that's impossible.
I for instance use a tripod + magic arm + super clamp to hold my camera in place once the rig shot is done, and then undo the rig. This speeds up the PP work usually as you aren't really moving the camera. It also lets you be more generous in terms of rig placement. Just a tip :)
 

Boobo-oobo

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I for instance use a tripod + magic arm + super clamp to hold my camera in place once the rig shot is done, and then undo the rig. This speeds up the PP work usually as you aren't really moving the camera. It also lets you be more generous in terms of rig placement. Just a tip :)
I never really tried doing that to be honest, didn't fell like going to the trouble of supporting the camera without the rig, its too fiddly. I bet its very useful for removing the rig from the car, but i prefer to setup the rig in a way that its not covering too much of the car, that's why i made some extensions for my new rig.
 

Boobo-oobo

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Here's the pic taken with the Nikon hanging on the end of my rig:



Thats one of the first rig shots on that rig, and these are some of the last ones :




Also, this arrived today:



Thumb screws for my adapters.
And when doing rig shots, its nice to have a remote shutter, wired or wireless, doesn't matter really. Did some modification on my wireless trigger, came with a stupid 3V battery, cant find it anywhere here, so I modified the circuit a bit for two AA batteries.

 

Boobo-oobo

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Tested the new pipe a bit, wanted to see just how it would handle when mounted on the car.





I'm happy with it. Doesn't drop all that much, its heaps better than the last one. It might look scary, but looks can be deceiving. The drop can be minimized a bit if I mount the clamp on the connecting section of the pipe, like so :




Also finally got my hands on the swivels.




Simple in design really, and its gonna help a lot. But overpriced in my opinion, at least in Croatia. Paid 900kn (120?) for the pair.
Still need to make adapters for the swivels to be able to mount them on the suction cups, and then i should have a complete kit.
 

Boobo-oobo

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Great news everyone ! :D

Finished the last 2 parts today :




I just need to make a 1/4-20 UNC thread hole on the bottom to connect it to the suction cups, and I'm good to go. Will do that tomorrow, cause i don't have any UNC thread taps at home.

Rig shots soon . . .
 

Boobo-oobo

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^^ Thanks.

Here's the first test report.









The whole thing is super strong, real easy to set up. I'm really pleased with it. It bounces, like all rigs, but its really manageable and I don't see any need for cable support or anything like that.

And here are some finished pics.





All three are 2 sec exposures. Sorry for the dirty car, not so interesting angles and my quick photo shopping, didn't really go for anything special, crappy weather and so on . . .

Ice, you coming? :p
 

IceBone

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One sunny weekend, after a car wash. :p Busy for the next month, though. :(
 
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