Extolling the virtues of the Fig Rig

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Extolling the virtues of the Fig Rig

Postby kristjan72 on Fri Jul 18, 2008 6:37 am

In my film The Way I decided to go for a handheld feel for almost the whole film. At the rental house where I borrowed the camera I saw a funny looking steering wheel thing and asked what it was. "Fig rig' they told me, and that noone ever rents it so I should feel free to borrow it. I did, and wow, what a great tool!

Its basically a big steering wheel that you mount the camera on, more or less along the centre axis. It has a couple of advantages. Firstly you can achieve great 'almost-steadycam-shots' following the actors os walking backwards infront of them. Secondly it gives you great access to holding the camera. In the chase sequence I was able to run full tilt ahead of the actors, facing in the same direction of travel, because the rig gave me a handhold on off to the side of the camera so I didn't have to master contortionism to get the shot. For the scenes in the underground the advantage was the fact that I was holding the camera with a wide grip, giving me more stability and control. The rig is also great for low shots. I could hold the camera at the top of the rig, allowing me to keep a fairly upright body position. This meant I could track along, following or leading the actors feet, even at speed.

All in all a great rig for those far-too-frequent productions when you don't have a grip (or even a DOP!)

The Fig rig retails for something like $400 and it's produced by Manfrotto. Well worth it. Of course your local rental house might have one, and chances are no-ones using it as it is strangely unknown.

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Re: Extolling the virtues of the Fig Rig

Postby centermassmatt on Fri Jul 18, 2008 11:51 am

Its a great tool, I've only used it once, and it definately gives a frenetic feel without the need for so much careful handywork from the operator. It isn't a replacement for a steadicam by any means, but it is a nice intermediate for a subtle but unique look. I had actually wondered what sort of rig you'd used for The Way (which i liked a lot and voted for), it was either really good handheld or really bad steadicam, haha, and now I know!

Good stuff, I may buy one of these when I get the chance if they are that cheap.
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Re: Extolling the virtues of the Fig Rig

Postby patkelman on Mon Jul 21, 2008 1:23 pm

I've got a FigRig but by the time I've loaded it with my HVX, Redrock M2 Adapter, Redrock Micro X and a Firestore it's so damn heavy I can hardly pick it up!

The FigRig is great for a light camera, the look is amazing, but I haven't really used it in anger yet. Certainly not on my 2 "Behond Closed Doors" films.

Cheers,

Pat
Pat Kelman
Writer/Director, Imaginative Leap Films
http://www.film.imaginativeleap.co.uk

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Re: Extolling the virtues of the Fig Rig

Postby centermassmatt on Wed Jul 23, 2008 6:25 am

Yeah I would definately not want to use the Fig with anything more than a base camera under 6 lbs. Overloading it I'm sure makes it do more harm than good.
Many have worn the ferryman's chain...

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Re: Extolling the virtues of the Fig Rig

Postby alecchristie on Mon Jul 28, 2008 11:47 am

I've just added some photographs of the Spiderbrace to Another Funking Blog. The Director of Photography who was using it recommended it as an alternative to the Fig Rig when using larger cameras like the HVX200. It can also take bars for lense adaptors.

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