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Rig Shots 2: Rigs for automotive photography


John Jovic

Cinematographers have been attaching video and cine cameras to cars for quite some time and they usually call the equipment used to do this a 'car mount' whilst photographers have tended to use the term 'rig'. Cinematographers often refer to vacuum cup based mounts or rigs as 'limpet mounts'.
Rig or Car Mount?  

This rig shows how rigidity and safety can be improved by using as many vacuum cups as possible. It also spreads the load of the camera over a greater area. Such a rig, or a variation of it, is potentially ideal for video use.

This is the same rig as above but mounted on a windscreen so as to face forward. The 3 vacuum cups give a greater security and rigidity compared to a single vacuum cup.   Even a simple vacuum cup and tripod head can be used to great effect give the right conditions and sufficient imagination.

Photographic 'rigs' are often lighter and extend further away from the car than video or cine rigs or car mounts as photographic cameras are much lighter than most video and cine equipment.
A simple full car rig based on an boom attached with vacuum cups.  

A boom with triangulation for additional support.

Tripod based rig.  

Similar to the rig shown above but with a shorter boom.

There are many, many different ways to mount a camera to a car and there is no single perfect 'rig' or 'car mount'. The desired image, conditions, photographic or video equipment, car and many other factors will all determine which rig or car mount will be needed to achieve the desired goal.

For the sake of clarification anything which allows you to attach a photographic device to a car can be considered to be a 'rig' or 'car mount'.

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