Introduction: PVC Fig Rig Camera Mount
Hand held filming can be bouncy and jarring. You could spend a lot of money on different set ups or you could build the equivalent of a Fig Rig for $16. If you do any handheld filming, you need this mount.
Designed by director Mike Figgis, the Fig Rig helps produce steady shots. Your arms absorb the shock of walking without transferring those movements directly to the camera.
• 3/4" x 10'-0" PVC schedule 40 pipe
• (10) 3/4" PVC 45 degree slip elbow
• (2) 3/4" PVC tee slip connectors
• (1) 3/4" cross tee slip connector
• (2) 3/4" slip plugs
• 1/4" Hex bolt; 3.5" long I confirmed this size bolt fit my camera before purchase
• (2) 1/4" x 1" washers
Supplies will run you roughly $16. Make sure all your connections are slip and NOT threaded.
• Table saw to cut the PVC pipe. A hand saw could also be used as PVC is easy to cut
• Drill for the hex bolt
• A table saw can remove fingers very quickly if you don't pay attention. Proceed with caution if using a hand saw, don't cut near or on your favorite antique.
• When drilling, make sure you don't accidentally drill through anything you don't want to.
• Spray paint must be used outdoors in a well ventilated area. A respirator or mask is recommended. Allow time to dry fully.
• Wear old clothes for painting. Chances are paint will find a way to get on your clothes.
Cut the 3/4" PVC pipe in the lengths designated below and in the accompanying image. Use a table saw or hack saw.
Cut (6) 10" lengths of PVC pipe to form the perimeter of the frame.
Cut (4) 4.5" lengths of PVC pipe to form the frame at the 'T' connectors.
Cut (2) 6.5" lengths of PVC to form the cross bar.
Cut (2) 1.5" lengths to form the crossbar tee to 45 frame connections.
Drill a 1/4" hole centered in each PVC plug. You will run the hex bolt through the bottom plug and out the top plug after final assembly. With the two washers at the head of the bolt, the bolt is just long enough to protrude through the top PVC plug, and when it slides out the bottom plug it hits the bottom PVC pipe and doesn't fall out.
Before you start gluing, attach everything as you see in the picture WITHOUT glue. This is your test fit to make sure you cut the right lengths and everything fits together. If you are happy with the test fit, proceed to final assembly.
You can use PVC cement or super glue for the slip connections. I used super glue. Assemble on a flat surface. If you don't use a flat surface, some of the connections may become twisted. I dabbed the glue inside the connectors to avoid glue seepage at joints that occurs if glue is applied to the pipe. The PVC pipe will slide fully into the connections with a moderate amount of force. Use the flat surface to ensure connections aren't twisted.
I sanded the entire thing with 400 grit sandpaper in preparation for paint. You don't have to paint it, but it makes it look more professional. I went with black. A wire coat hanger is an easy way to hang the rig during paint from a tree or similar tall structure. Paint outside in a well ventilated area.
Once you've let it dry overnight, you can put the hex bolt, with two washers, through the bottom plug. The two washers serve to shorten the bolt head at the top. The bottom PVC pipe will flex enough to get the bolt in the plug but stop it from sliding out. The flat top surface of the plug provides additional support for the camera. If the bolt hole is snug enough the bolt will not slide out.
Screw the camera to the mount and you are ready to start filming. You may need fewer or more washers, depending. Watch the video to see the stability improvement. If you do any handheld filming, you need this mount.