June 9, 2015

'Shitty Rigs' Shares Hilarious & Terrifying Photos of Sketchy DIY Filmmaking Rigs

shitty rigs
You know how some TV shows come with the disclaimer, "Don't try this at home." The Shitty Rigs page should probably have one as well.

What is Shitty Rigs, you ask? Well, for starters, it's a tumblr blog, and its content, well, it's probably exactly what you're imagining. You see, when filmmakers are forced to improvise with their gear because they lack the budgets or time necessary to do things the traditional way, they come up with some truly inspiring and oftentimes downright sketchy rigs, contraptions, and creative solutions. Some may call these rigs "shitty," but others see them as a work of art. These are rigs that MacGuyver would be truly proud of, and Shitty Rigs makes it their mission to share these masterpieces with the world.

There are more amazing Shitty Rigs entries than you could count on 20 hands, but here are just a few of my absolute favorites. First up, what filmmakers do when they don't have a proper dolly:

Shitty Rigs Dolly
Shitty Rigs Dolly

Here are some lighting solutions, Shitty Rigs style:

Shitty Rigs Traffic Cone Snoot
Shitty Rigs Light-Stand

There are Shitty Rigs solutions for audio folks too:

Shitty Rigs Boom Mic

And then there are some Shitty Rigs that are just, well, terrifyingly-shitty:

Shitty Rigs
Shitty Rigs Birdeye View

Despite some these filmmaking contraptions – some would call them atrocities – being sketchy and not particularly safe (those last two in particular), they do encapsulate the independent filmmaking spirit in a way that's difficult to verbalize. Very rarely do we have the budgets to professionally capture the kinds of shots that we imagine. In those circumstances, we can either change our shots to something less ambitious, or we can channel our inner MacGuyver and use any and all tools at our disposal in order to capture something (hopefully) incredible.

Of course, I'm not advocating that filmmakers make unsafe rigs just for the purpose of getting a cool shot. If there's even the slightest chance of a rig putting cast or crew members in danger, that rig should be re-thought to be safer, or it should be scrapped altogether. Safety always needs to be the first priority on any set. However, if you can scrap together shitty rigs that are both safe and functional, then you truly are a DIY filmmaking rockstar.

If you're interested in checking out more Shitty Rigs, you can follow them on Tumblr, Facebook, and Instagram. Plus if you find yourself crafting shitty rigs in your own work, you definitely ought to submit them to the site so that the rest of the world can enjoy them.      

Your Comment

23 Comments

AAAHHH!!! I love this! I've got to contribute something. Although that'll be kind of difficult since everything that I do is super professional and high quality........................ (slowly backs out of room)

June 9, 2015 at 10:47PM

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Donovan Vim Crony
Director, DP, Editor, VFX, Sci-Fi Lover
258

Amazing.

June 9, 2015 at 11:41PM

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Andrew Abballe
Director of Photography
169

That first photo is only crappy because gaffer tape was not used.
Duct tape would have indicated stone-cold dedication to the idea
of the tripod never leaving that shopping cart.

But really, MacGyver'ing a shot only "looks bad" if the shot looks bad.
If you're embarrassed about your rig, don't do behind the scenes shots.

June 10, 2015 at 12:21AM, Edited June 10, 12:21AM

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Sean Bokenkamp
Animator
137

hahahahaaaaaaaaaaaa this is super hilarious but still creative....thumbs up dude

June 10, 2015 at 1:08AM

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Temitope
Director of Photography/Editor
79

Some of these are terrifying (i.e. the second one!) but, as you said, this just shows the the spirit of indie filmmakers who don't necessarily have the financial capacities of more professional filmmaking teams.

June 10, 2015 at 1:57AM, Edited June 10, 1:58AM

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Dan S
Film Student, Director
8

Either you do what you need to do to get "the shot"...........or you don't.

June 10, 2015 at 6:12AM

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Jerry Roe
Indie filmmaker
870

Hey. If it's stupid and it works, it ain't stupid.

June 10, 2015 at 7:43AM

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J.W. Hendricks
Writer/Director/DP/Photographer
81

This.

Although, when it doesn't work (and if you do things like this all the time it WILL eventually fail), it will be a costly learning experience.

June 10, 2015 at 8:46AM, Edited June 10, 8:46AM

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I'll admit I've done the tape around a Zoom H4N.

June 10, 2015 at 10:10AM

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I've gaffed a shotgun mic to a fishpole/broomstick/c-stand/long stick a time or two before. As long as it gets the job done and everyone is safe.

June 10, 2015 at 12:21PM

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Matt Clark
Producer / Writer / DP
635

LOVING the "ceiling rig." Pure awesome.

June 10, 2015 at 12:45PM

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This post looks just like my weekends.

June 10, 2015 at 1:12PM

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Edgar More
All
1149

Honestly film sets are dangerous enough and shouldn't be fetishized into some macho danger arena. I mean, we do what we have to to get by... but so did Sarah Jones. I know it doesn't matter for taping up an H4n, but let's not forget our duty to make a safe film set.

June 10, 2015 at 10:34PM, Edited June 10, 10:36PM

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Paul B
310

All good filmmakers look for results, and filming is one of those Arts that require thinking out of the square when there is no time to hire in the right gear. Those that can find a solution with limited time are the winners. Australians are skilled at making do.

June 11, 2015 at 8:54PM

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I have a shitty rig posted there, but these shitty rigs are so shitty they make my shitty rig look like shit in comparison to the other shitty rigs.

Shit.

June 11, 2015 at 10:29PM

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I'm actually going to use some of them! Great ideas! Shitty....but "great'ty"

June 12, 2015 at 11:18AM

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I postulate that the best shitty rig is the pimped up BMCC in the second shot. What a wank.

June 13, 2015 at 10:19AM

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Ingenuity baby!

June 14, 2015 at 12:29AM, Edited June 14, 1:02AM

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Ryan Gudmunson
Recreational Filmmaker
320

Beautiful. I can't paste photo's in comments, but I remember following an indigenous tribe in the jungle of the Philippines when a huge rain fell over us, like a shower, coming from nowhere, suddenly. To protect our gear we dived in our bags, searching for rain covers. I couldn't find it. Worried, soaked wet, I looked up to my camera that I'd given to a native Philippine 'indian', afraid my camera would be drowned by then. But the man had simply chopped of a banana-leaf, using it as an umbrella, keeping himself and my camera dry, waiting for me to finish my business. One minute later the rain stopped as suddenly as it had started. He threw away the banana-leaf and we went on. I've never used a rain-cover that journey anymore.

July 9, 2015 at 7:20AM, Edited July 9, 7:21AM

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Jan Willem den Bok
Documentary Filmmaker
154

hecho en casa

July 25, 2015 at 11:52PM

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GUILLERMO
Director/Actor
67

For my first short film, I needed a shot in which the camera spins around the room several times at dizzying speeds. My solution was duct taping my tripod onto my office chair, grabbing the back of the chair, and then running around it in circles. Probably the best shot of the film.

July 10, 2016 at 9:10PM, Edited July 10, 9:10PM

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HAHAH The best!

February 4, 2017 at 2:25PM

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Foundation Digital Media
Who's telling your story?
9

The best!

February 4, 2017 at 2:25PM

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Foundation Digital Media
Who's telling your story?
9