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Malcolm Feth

The Car Rig

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A while ago, I've looked on a car rig from a guy I found in Poland (I was surprised he has an Elise, in PL there is only few Lotuses), quite far, but he was able to deliver me what I want - 4.5m length tubes and everything I need to put it on the car. It wasn't cheap, really.

Then I found some car rigs in UK... prices killed me!

I left subject on side for few months. Quite recently I looked one new rig build by Easton Chang, then spoke a little bit with Echo about his rig, seen some photos, but since he lives in US it would be quite expensive just to send it over...

Got inspired! I've got to point when I thought - "this cannot be so hard to build a car rig!".

Yep... and really it's not, but quite risky if you order things and you have absolutely not experience and idea if what you get is what you need :) Learning on my mistakes... I would probably do few things differently now... but...

I started with tubes... I thought about aluminum - most common really - but damn, I want "an awesome rig|, so I looked for carbon tubes. I don't have any workshop or anything so I thought that making any tweaks to carbon will be probably less messy and easier than cut for example aluminium... I found out that carbon is messy too :P

Tubes arrived. 3x 1.5m + 0.5m, slightly smaller diameter that goes inside of the big ones. I split this one in half and used as connector. All tubes weight about 1.5kg... not much. I think you need to expect double if you use aluminum.

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Next step - I probably need some clamps. Never seen them before, so let's order and see how I can connect things and what I need to order next...

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Now I need something to hold my camera.. I bought magic arm, but after first testing I'm not convinced if this is what I really needed:) Does the job perfectly, probably overcomplicated to my needs at this stage.

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OK... I have tubes (at that point I had them prepared with connections and everything), clamps, arm for camera.... I need something to stick the rig on a car! :) Suction cups... I went with safest choice for now, after initial testing, it looks like I don't anything stronger or more awesome.

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And.. that's pretty much all :) That's how it looks like on my car, during first testing session.

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I found few flaws in my BETA version of The Rig, so little modification will be needed here and there, but so far I'm really happy with the result - better than expected. Now I need more in-action practice - tomorrow going with Sparky to test it on his Esprit, should be fun :)

Below few photos from my test session... I will add more in this thread whenever I will have something worth to show...

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Edited by Malcolm Feth

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First one one 8seconds f15... both below are 15sec, quite long...

I just bough ND16 filter and tomorrow I should be able to take long exposures in full sunlight. Something between 5-15s is perfect for me.

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Well done, though I don't agree with the cups, as they are rated to hold only 4.41 lbs, and carry a consumer-grade pump that is known to fail. Just keep your eye on them :)

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That was fun. Great morning out with Malcolm - thanks mate! Really looking forward to the results.

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Bloody hell. I answered Malcolm's request for a test Esprit only a few days ago, and this is the incredible result. Even better that I was there to witness how it's done! Respect.

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wow great picture, i wish i had the artistic skills imagination etc to be able to achieve results like that :unworthy:

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Yup, I usually use 2-seconds for the wheels/ground, and 4-6 seconds for the background. There are times I use 8+ seconds, but it's rare.

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Some craking shots there Malcom. Really like the last one in your first set.

Like Andrew says - keep an eye on the Avengers - although I had no issues with mine - I saw a couple of failures that ended up VERY expensive for the shooter! Car & camera damage when they let go - just keep a close eye on the pump redlines...

I upgraded from avengers, to these one's from Filmtools - much stronger rating:

http://www.filmtools.com/6woodpowgrip.html

They also do an oval suction cup - not quite as highly rated in terms of hold, but useful on the Elise/exige where the curved panels are occasionally difficult to attach to...

http://www.filmtools.com/filmtools-oval-suction-cup-kit.html

btw, how do you find the carbon tubes for 'super clamping' to? I have a set of carbon tubes - got them from here, but have stuck with the Ali ones for now - I was worried about the resilience of the carbon, when a crushing load is applied to the tube? Have you found any issues yet?

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Thanks for feedback on cups... I do watch them, pretty much every few photos I go to take a look if all is fine. So far did not have any problems, but I've seen sometimes redline appears after little while.

As for crushing... hmm... yes.. when I put clamps and squeeze too much I hear cracking noise, but at this stage I think I found a "right amount". Just in case in place where I usually have a camera, I've put duct tape to make it less slippy and stable.

I was thinking to put maybe an short aluminium tube inside in places where I usually apply clamps...

Hmm... I'm still thinking how to make the whole construction a little bit more stable.

I never seen any other car rig, so maybe what I have is "normal", but I still have a feeling it should be more stable when car is moving.

I think I made mistake and I bought too small diameter. Mine has stiffness 2.76, where slightly bigger one has 4.2... and one step up and I get 5.7KNm2 ... hyh

ps. Martyn - photo you like, I dislike most from this set :)

Edited by Malcolm Feth

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Haha, many of my shots are 10 cakes! *grin

Without wanting to stray too far off topic, do you consider yourself to a photographer, a digital artist or both?

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Without wanting to stray too far off topic, do you consider yourself to a photographer, a digital artist or both?

I think both.. it is hard to be one and not another.

But I still do love to take some shots with my analog canon... from time to time ;)

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Without wanting to stray too far off topic, do you consider yourself to a photographer, a digital artist or both?

Both. The photography side of things will always the most important IMO. Things like composition, exposure, and subject presentation through the use of various tools (dof, background, etc.) are the foundation of a great photo IMO. If you're a fantastic editor you may be able to "save" a badly composed/exposed/presented subject, but it'll never be as good as it could have been. For this reason, photography wins IMO. However, it would be foolish of us, seeing so much every day, even these words, in a digital format, to disregard digital manipulation. So, to me, one must practice both, or master one or the other, to be effective in this age.

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As for crushing... hmm... yes.. when I put clamps and squeeze too much I hear cracking noise, but at this stage I think I found a "right amount". Just in case in place where I usually have a camera, I've put duct tape to make it less slippy and stable.

I was thinking to put maybe an short aluminium tube inside in places where I usually apply clamps...

...

I think I made mistake and I bought too small diameter. Mine has stiffness 2.76, where slightly bigger one has 4.2... and one step up and I get 5.7KNm2 ...

Yeah - that's what i was concerned about... Have you thought about a combined set up? I've seen one rig, where a single clamped section (car end) is Ali, and the rest is carbon - but with a shot ali insert in where the magic arm / super clamp goes... Might be worth consideration.

Be careful with the clamping - i remember crushing an expensive Hardy carbon fly fishing rod, a few years ago, with not a lot of force!!

Regarding stability - I sometimes think that a bit of 'elasticty' in the entire set up alows for some more stable looking shots - on a very short set up, where there's more rigidity to the pole, I tend to see more 'vibrations' in the background: Here's what I mean - this was on a VERY rigid, short length set up: Check out the 'waves' in the passing lights. On a longer boom, those disappear - i think it's down to the dampening effect of the longer length....

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Warp Speed by Martyn Lewis, on Flickr

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