Does anyone know what a fig rig is? Unless you’re a film nerd you probably don’t, until recently I didn’t. A fig rig is in fact a video camera accessory, it consists of a length of steel tubing rolled into the circle with the crossbar on which to mount your video camera. It very much resembles a steering wheel with the camera mounted in the center. The point of this peculiar contraption is to get steadier shots with modern lightweight digital cameras without the flexibility sacrifice of a steady cam.

The fig rig is the brainchild of English film director Mike Figgis and a commercial version is produced under license by the Manfrotto Group. Of course hobbyists are loathe to resort to the commercial version. Builders most commonly create the ring from PVC pipe and 45° elbows. All that gluing didn’t really appeal to me so I decided to construct my own fig rig by stretching the steering wheel analogy and building mine by modifying an actual steering wheel. (if anyone else has a leather fig rig please stand up!)

I’d love to share a detailed build log on this however the truth is most of it is pretty obvious and what isn’t is highly dependent on the individual properties of the steering wheel your able to source. So in brief, the center is of course cut out leaving the skeletal stubs of the lower arms intact. The tentative plan was to weld in the crossbar but the steering wheel frame being made of aluminum made that much less practical. So I went with a crossbar of one-inch aluminum angle mounted on screws which originally held the switches for the cruise control, they’re conveniently already true to the plane of the wheel. The crossbar has camera mounting holes for center, 1/2 inch off-center in either direction, and two widely spaced holes which allow to matching cameras to be mounted just in case I get around to shooting in 3-D one day. The camera mounting face is covered with the fuzzy side of Velcro so that the camera is held in a nice warm hug. And I made a thumb bolt to hold the camera on, just a 1/4 20 bolt nut and two washers all braized together.

Advertisements