How to: Build a Fig Rig

Greetings everybody!

My first post on this blog *happy dance*!

Today I’m going to show you how to build a Fig Rig. In case any of you are wondering, it has nothing to do with figs :P. The purpose of a Fig Rig is to help stabilize shots when filming so that if you’re running it isn’t so shaky.

Before you build the rig, you will need these parts:

3/4″ PVC pipe – Cut to :

5 ~ 6″ lengths
6 ~ 2.5″ lengths (only 4 pictured)
4 ~ 1.5″ lengths

3/4″ PVC connectors:

10 ~ 45 Degree Connectors
3 ~ “T” Connectors (only one pictured)
1 ~ “Cross” Connector

Misc. optional parts:

3/8 pipe insulation
Electrical or black tape
Quick release connector
Long bolt
Big Washer
Wing nut
PVC glue

First step is to assemble everything together. In Photoshop I color coded the parts in the 2 pictures. It might look confusing, but if you just concentrate on one color at a time it isn’t hard.

How to build a fig rig

How to build a fig rig

There is no particular order when you put it together. I just grabbed a piece and started the assembly!

The next step, the mounting system, is kind of tricky. I say it will be tricky because each person uses something different. Since this was my first time, it wasn’t easy putting it together because I was just fitting on random parts I had at my disposal. You can do the same or follow what I’m going to do in the next sentence.

Drill a hole in the bottom of the middle “T” connector and fit a long bolt through it. Slide a big washer on, then a small spacer, and last a wing nut; tighten it all down.

How to build a fig rig

Sort of almost done! πŸ˜‰ Just a few more steps.

How to build a fig rig

Next step is to paint it. You can paint it any color or just leave it white. I picked black because it looks totally awesome. πŸ˜‰

When the paint is dry, grab the pipe foam (I used this stuff) and cut it to the desired length. Then wrap electrical tape, or pretty much any kind of tape, and cover all the foam. I added the foam so my hands would be more comfortable while filming.

How to build a fig rig

And for the final step, screw on the quick release connector. I used this one because it was cheap and got pretty good reviews. There are others that might be better, but this one works fine for me.

How to build a fig rig

VoilΓ , it’s done!

How to build a fig rig

Here is a quick video test I put together. I shot some footage without the rig and then tried to re-create the same shots using the rig.

~Closing thoughts~

I’m really happy with how it turned out. I read online that I should glue everything together using the PVC glue but I decided not to because I might need to take it apart down the road. You can also cut the side pieces (whereΒ  the grips are) smaller so it isn’t so tall. The reason I made it that tall is so the small monitor we use on the DSLR would fit.

And that is the way a muffin is baked. πŸ˜€

As always, we love seeing comments down below, so post away!



5 responses to “How to: Build a Fig Rig

  • Abby

    That’s awesome! I need one! πŸ™‚ I love to make test footage videos (trying out different shots, lighting, etc.), but I always run into the problem of my footage being to shaky. This would really help. Of course, a dolly would be even better… πŸ˜‰

  • Morg

    OMG I have been thinking about this lately, thinking I should get one but have no $$ to fork over for it. Thank you Micah!

  • Micah Swet

    Thanks for the comments! πŸ™‚

  • Nathan Dunn

    Hey, I just put most of this together (thanks for your detailed instructions, they were very helpful) but I was curious as to the purpose of the cross connector

    • Micah Swet

      Glad you liked it. πŸ™‚

      I put the cross connector there so I could add a long-ish piece of PVC, that way I can hold onto that when doing low shots. I ended up hardly using it at all though. You can just extend the PVC instead of adding the cross if you want.

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