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:
Here are some lighting solutions, Shitty Rigs style:
There are Shitty Rigs solutions for audio folks too:
And then there are some Shitty Rigs that are just, well, terrifyingly-shitty:
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.