Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Steady DV Video: The Fig Rig

The Fig Rig

Most of us DV video shooters have at least three gadgets buried deep within our equipment inventory that we bought with hope it would help us take moving action shots with a tippy smallish DV video camera like the PD150. Steady Sticks, stabilizers, DV Caddies, you name it.

Check out this newest contraption, called the Fig Rig and watch the movie clip of its inventor Mike Figgis showing how it works. Once you hit the Flash intro page click " skip intro" to get to the video demos of Figgis with his rig. It's like a car's steering wheel to which you can attach a zoom controller, mics, lights etc.

The other night in fact I watched in amazement on South Street as a DV shooter used a Steadi-Cam Jr. to shoot a music rap video while on roller blades. He had a friend pull him along as he rolled in front of a gangstah rap type group. He was cursing the Steadicam Jr. at each break.

Since I can't roller blade the Fig Rig just may have to do for now. I haven't tried it out yet. But after I do I will report on it for you.

Broadcast Engineering awarded the Fig Rig five stars in 2005 along with its Pick Hits Award. Manfrotto manufactures this rig so you can order from your favorite retailer.

I don't know about you but my PD150 sure gets tippy when loaded down with the wireless receiver and Sennheiser shotgun mike I use as standard equipment. The first five seconds of each shot look rocky sometimes as I stabilize myself. Take a look at the beginning of my Nightline story where the editor included my first few seconds of shakey shooting. I asked her not to but she said that Nightline likes that " hand held look"...if it moves it grooves.

Whenever I look at this story I cringe. It looks like home movies, as if I can't hold the camera steady. When I was shooting my multimedia tale last Spring on malaria in Africa and Cambodia, I used a DV caddie as I was also doing photography at the same time. It kept the camera reasonably steady but all at the same height. That spells B.O.R.I.N.G. No one else seemed to think so. But hey I know how " moving and grooving" through the story makes it more exciting.

Maybe this Fig Rig will do the trick, to groove with the moves...

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