Filming Fundamentals: When Should You Use a Camera Rig?

June 05, 2019 3 min read

Movo - Filming Fundamentals: When Should You Use a Camera Rig?

By definition, a camera rig is any piece of equipment used to add a special feature or to enhance the functionality of your camera, such as creating stability, adding a lens filter or helping you capture that impossibly challenging shot. In short,adding a camera rig to your DSLR or smartphone setup can help take your video content from basic to viral-worthy, even if you’re not working with particularly fancy equipment to begin with. Here are some situations where it makes sense to ramp up your rig. 


When It’s Time to Bust Out the Rig

  • When You Need to Stabilize Your Shot — One of the most popular reasons to use a camera rig is to gain stability during active shots. Unlike a tripod, a camera rig is meant to move, capturing footage while creating even, jerk-free movements. The stable look contributes to your content’s professional, polished feel. Think aboutpoint-of-view style horror movies that are meant to appear amateur, likeBlair Witch Project andCloverfield. They all share shaky camerawork, which screams DIY.
  • When You Want to Create a Smooth Sliding Motion —Some camera rigs allow you to maneuver your camera across a track or a rail to achieve a perfectly even, smooth shot. These kinds of rigs work with what are called sliders or slider systems because they allow the camera to safely slide across a track or rail. Use a camera slider when you want tocapture dynamic, dramatic shots, both of moving and still subjects, and when you want that extra-professional feel.
  • When You Need to Stabilize and Protect Lighter Cameras — The added weight and size of the rig arefactors of stabilization, so many photographers and videographers useheavier, stabilizing camera rigs to make their equipment feel more stable. Using the right rig or cage can also protect your small, lightweight camera because it helps keep weight evenly distributed, therefore reducing the risk of accidentally dropping it or bumping into something.
  • When You Want to Use Other Accessories— Manycamera and video accessories are designed to work with camera rigs, attaching to the actual rig rather than the camera itself using universal mounting hardware. You can use your rig to hold a microphone, a matte box, a follow focus (allows for manual focus adjustments without touching the camera) lighting, filters and other popular options, helping to enhance the functionality and performance of otherwise basic photography equipment, even smartphones.

camera rig

  • When You’re Filming Any Kind of Movement— It doesn’t matter if you’re capturing a moving car, an up-close tutorial or footage of your dog playing in the backyard, you’ll get a much more desirable, deliberate-looking finished product when you stabilize your camera. A stabilizing rig will help prevent your viewers from getting sick to their stomach as you capture dynamic, interesting subject matter.
  • When You Need that Perfect Shot— If you’re trying to nail an especially challenging shot — say, something high up in the air or close to the ground — but don’t want to be stuck in a weird position during long days of filming, it’s time to employ your trusty rigs. These accessories are designed to make capturing those hard-to-obtain shots just a bit easier and more comfortable.

Popular Kinds of Camera Rigs to Consider Adding to Your Stash

The most popular kinds of stabilizing rigs include shoulder rigs (held on the shoulder for stability and support), handheld rigs (held in the hand, usually with one or two handles to stabilize the movement) and full-body harness rigs (worn on the body with straps with camera attached to a vest or harness). Almost all of these rig types feature bars, poles and handles that you can mount with various accessories, helping you create a totally custom rig to suit your unique project.

If you’re looking to get the most out of your existing video gear and to add a professional look to your amateur videos, camera rigs are a must-have. They turn even first-time camera-wielders into full-blown cinematographers, and they don’t require a huge investment. Movo Photo has one of the best selections ofaffordable camera rigs and accessories anywhere, so be sure to explore our complete variety for ideas.