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Homemade Car Door Rig?


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#1 Jonathan Bowerbank

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Posted 11 February 2007 - 02:23 PM

Hey everyone,

So I'm starting up a ZERO budget 16mm feature in about a month, and we're looking for alternatives to renting a car door mount.

Does anybody have any plans or examples of a homemade one you've seen or constructed yourself?

I had the idea of using some piping, suction cups and trucker straps to keep it secured, but still not quite sure what would be the best way to mount the camera. I've considered formulating a way for a tripod head to attach securely to the rigging, but I'd like to see it done before I try it myself.

I'm shooting with an Arri SR, so weight is an issue. If our only option is to rent, we will, but we'd like to avoid it if it's possible.

thanks!
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#2 David Auner aac

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Posted 12 February 2007 - 06:51 AM

Hey everyone,

So I'm starting up a ZERO budget 16mm feature in about a month, and we're looking for alternatives to renting a car door mount.

Does anybody have any plans or examples of a homemade one you've seen or constructed yourself?

I had the idea of using some piping, suction cups and trucker straps to keep it secured, but still not quite sure what would be the best way to mount the camera. I've considered formulating a way for a tripod head to attach securely to the rigging, but I'd like to see it done before I try it myself.

I'm shooting with an Arri SR, so weight is an issue. If our only option is to rent, we will, but we'd like to avoid it if it's possible.

thanks!


Hi Jonathan!

Do you have some kind of half bowl adapter available? I've used one that was rented with a doggycam. This one had pipes that attached to the harness. I've used these pipes and mafer clamps to attach the thing low on the dolly we had. I then mounted the head of our tripod.
Maybe you could mount a suction cup and attach a magic arm and mount the camera on the bracket. Then ties this off the to the rails on the roof of the car if there are any.
Whats the weight of your camera setup with mag and lens? And how far out do you need it? Will you be able to secure it with your hands?

Cheers, Dave
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#3 Jonathan Bowerbank

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Posted 12 February 2007 - 01:13 PM

I'd like to keep the focal plane at least 3 feet away from the subject who will be in the foreground. So the camera will most likely need to be rigged about 2 feet out the window.

I'm not sure how much the SR weighs when fully loaded, but needless to say, it's going to need a lot more support than your basic prosumer DV camera.

If I can get a "half bowl" adaptor or perhaps canibalise one from an old tripod, I could probably mutilate and modify that to make for a pretty secure rigging.

Any other suggestions or examples are welcome!

thanks
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#4 Troy Warr

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Posted 12 February 2007 - 02:07 PM

Hi Jonathan,

You might try contacting these guys to see if they have any recommendations based on their product line. Their stuff is relatively cheap and they claim that it can hold up to 75 lbs. - though I wouldn't necessarily trust that in a real-world scenario. With 2 or 3 of the 3-cup devices, some tubing and a very sturdy tripod head/mount, I would guess that you could make something relatively secure. Don't forget a safety cable!

Best of luck to you.
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#5 JD Hartman

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Posted 12 February 2007 - 02:50 PM

Hi Jonathan,

You might try contacting these guys to see if they have any recommendations based on their product line. Their stuff is relatively cheap and they claim that it can hold up to 75 lbs. - though I wouldn't necessarily trust that in a real-world scenario. With 2 or 3 of the 3-cup devices, some tubing and a very sturdy tripod head/mount, I would guess that you could make something relatively secure. Don't forget a safety cable!

Best of luck to you.


If you look at a suction cup mounts like ones Matthews manufactures, you will see that they incorporate a vacuum pump with a safety indicator. These are made using the same cups that carry large sheet of plate glass, granite countertops, etc. The difference is in the holding power and the safety factor.
If you want to build your own tray mount, it can be done if you have the metalworking skills. Tray mounts don't depend primary on a suction hold. As long as the construction is solid and you use good quality straps, the camera should be fine. I'd look at some of the ideas on: rondexter.com
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#6 Natalie Saito

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Posted 12 February 2007 - 05:26 PM

that got me thinking about a home-made dolly. I've heard the ole skateboard but not sure of its reliability. I plan on doing a tiny personal project sometime but I don't want to have to rent out a dolly (and tracks, etc). I want the smallest crew, strictly camera crew and grip/light crew. I don't want to call on too much attention; just wanna setup, shoot and move on.
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#7 Jonathan Bowerbank

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Posted 12 February 2007 - 11:23 PM

As a kid I tried using a skateboard, but it only really works well if your using it to make a skate video or something. Now, longboards, I'd give a try. For interior shoots where I can't get a dolly, I've used a wheelchair which works fantastically...ahem

Back to my car door rig...I've drawn up some plans, I think it'll work. Just gotta get some specs on the tripod head and size of of the car door and I think I'll be in business.
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#8 David Auner aac

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Posted 13 February 2007 - 03:58 AM

Back to my car door rig...I've drawn up some plans, I think it'll work. Just gotta get some specs on the tripod head and size of of the car door and I think I'll be in business.


Hi Jonathan!

Will you be able to stabilize any vibration in post? That was a rather big issue we had when mounting a 2/3" DVCPRO PVU onto a train engine. Ended up stabilizing the whole thing in Flame IIRC. But then again, this might depend on the speed of the car...

Cheers, Dave

Edited by David Auner, 13 February 2007 - 04:00 AM.

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#9 Jonathan Bowerbank

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Posted 13 February 2007 - 05:17 AM

The effects used in post will be minimal...at most we'll do color correction and titles, so image stabilization we're not going to worry about in post, but try to fix before it comes time to shoot.

Another one of my plans involves mounting a cinesaddle to my rig. That just might do the trick as far as illiminating vibration goes.

We're going to be goin' pretty slow though, down a residential street, so I'm not too worried about it.
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#10 Drew Hoffman

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Posted 13 February 2007 - 05:41 AM

I was on a production using an Aaton XTR-Prod in a similar situation. No budget, shooting through a car window. What the grip team came up with was ratchet strapping a hi-hat to a stack of about 2 or 3 full apples and throwing a furni pad on the car door and ratchet strapping the rig to that. It worked out fine for what we needed it to do, but the car wasn't travelling very fast, I'd say no faster than 25mph. We also put the picutre cars on trailers and used the poor man's process.
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#11 Paul Nordin

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Posted 13 February 2007 - 12:28 PM

I just wrapped a feature shoot in Mexico where a large number of shots were car/truck mounted both interior and exterior. I was shooting on an HVX200 with a Brevis & primes. We had tried to use a pipe-mounted rig which was rock solid, but that proved to take far too much time to set-up. We ended up using a rig which involved 5 suction cups (woods 6"), a cheese plate for hard mounting the camera, and a bunch of gobo arms and knuckles. It worked really well and we could pretty much rig the camera anywhere we wanted. The best configurations always comprised three connection points to the camera base covering the X-Y-Z axes, and then two more connections: one to the camera handle securing any side-to-side wobbe, and one to the end of the mattebox rails securing any up/down wobble from the front-heavy lens configuration of the adapter/prime (almost a foot out in front of the camera body). This might not be suitable for a zero-budget production as there is -some- cost involved. But, since you are local to SF, if you are interested contact me and maybe I can help out with what I have.
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#12 JD Hartman

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Posted 14 February 2007 - 09:48 AM

Another one of my plans involves mounting a cinesaddle to my rig. That just might do the trick as far as illiminating vibration goes.

We're going to be goin' pretty slow though, down a residential street, so I'm not too worried about it.


Worked with a Cinesaddle on one shoot, I wasn't impressed with it. I could have done the same with a couch pillow and a couple of sandbags.
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#13 Jon Rosenbloom

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Posted 14 February 2007 - 06:56 PM

Apple boxes and suction cups can be made to work, but you're just tying your own hands behind your back trying to work that way. Part of being a DP is putting the odds in your favor, and in this case, that means telling the production that you must have the side-mount. How much is it, $200?? Real hostess-trays are a pain to adjust; how much time and effort are you going to waste trying to adjust and secure some crazy McGyver rig?

You might want to look into getting a ski rack for the car, then you can brace the hostess tray, or the mag, or both up to the rack.
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#14 Daniel Madsen

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Posted 15 February 2007 - 01:57 AM

Drew, I'm having a hard time visualizing that. The grips were able to rachet strap 3 apple boxes, a high hat and the camera to the car door???? They fed a strap under the door and through the window, no?
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#15 James Steven Beverly

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Posted 19 February 2007 - 01:25 AM

We used one on a project down in Mexico, as well as a hood mount. There's really not that much to them. I was planning on building one for my upcoming project prior to the beginning of principal photography. I would suggest getting some pics, (well Hell, I'll upload some pics and post em for you) buy some box tubing, bolts ect, improvise the needed hardware and find a friend who can weld. I'll lay money you could build one for $35 to $75 bucks. B)
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#16 James Steven Beverly

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Posted 19 February 2007 - 01:40 AM

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Here ya go. This is really a piece of cake to build in mild steel, aluminum would be lighter but a Hell of a lot more expensive and difficult to weld.
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#17 Jonathan Bowerbank

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Posted 19 February 2007 - 03:59 AM

Coooool! Thanks James!

Let's all hear it for James, hip hip!

It's pretty close to what I drew up...only simpler, I'm definitely going to try this. My father-in-law's a welder, so I could probably get him to make me one.

thanks again!
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#18 James Steven Beverly

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Posted 19 February 2007 - 06:26 AM

Te Nada, Amego. When you get it done, post some pics so we can see how it came out. B)
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#19 Tim O'Connor

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Posted 26 June 2007 - 07:59 AM

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Here ya go. This is really a piece of cake to build in mild steel, aluminum would be lighter but a Hell of a lot more expensive and difficult to weld.


I've been searching and I just came across this! James, you rock! It's people like you who take the
time to post pictures like this who make this forum great!

By the way, Jonathan how did your project go and what did you finally come up with for a rig?
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#20 Jonathan Bowerbank

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Posted 26 June 2007 - 11:39 AM

In the end I didn't need it. The car scene was taken out of the script, ha ha
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