Creative Inspiration: Car Photography Rig Shots - Part 2

Posted by Joel
Building & Mounting The Rig Assembly
The basics of it are simple - attach the cups to the car, roll the car, take a photo while it's moving. I'll go over some of the specifics below.

First of all, attach two super clamps to the end of your cups and then one to the end of the magic arm. The cups should be arranged on the car and positioned. Remember to put as much distance as you can between camera and car so that you don't have to shoot at the widest angle possible - this helps avoid distortion.

You want to find sturdy, flat sections to attach the cups. Try putting the cups close to the edges of the body panels where they are most sturdy, not directly in the center where they have less support. If you aren't careful, you can dent or flex a panel and possibly crack the paint.

Remember to always use the covers on your cups when you aren't using them. I clean the surface with spray on glass cleaner before I apply it. These cups can leave small pressure rings on paint, and if any dirt is on the cup you can cause deep scratches so be extra careful. Warn the owner of the car that a slight buffing may be needed afterwards. Never apply to a freshly painted surface.

If you have it available, the spray on clear bra can help prevent many issues with paint damage if you apply it before you apply the cups!

Next, you'll want to pump your cups up until they grip and the red line is no longer visible. Now you can apply your pipes to the clamps. Tighten every knob on the cup and clamp, and give it a firm tug to make sure everything is sturdy. Now you can attach your sections of pipe using the compression couplers mentioned.

Attach the Manfrotto Magic Arm to the end of the pipe via the super clamp. Position the camera and set it to shutter priority mode, or manual mode. Attach your wireless shutter trigger or set the camera to timed shutter release. Now you're ready to take the shot! Its time to push!

When pushing the car, you'll want to move very slowly. The slower the better, to prevent camera shake. Make sure the engine is off, and if possible lock the steering wheel in place to keep it from moving.

Taking The Shot
The technique to taking the shot is to take a long enough exposure to show a sense of motion while still showing detail in the background. This is really up to you and your own preference - try a few at a slower shutter, and try a few at a longer shutter. You may need to use a neutral density filter to get the exposure times you need - the fastest shutter speed I'd recommend is 1.5 seconds. I've done as long as 20 second exposures.

Set the timer or use your wireless remote, and slowly push the car and take the photo. You may want to take a static shot first so you have a sharp image of the body of the car you can merge and blend into your moving shot if it doesn't come out as sharp as you desire.

Post Processing
Notice you don't see the rig on any of the car shots. You will need to post process the rig away. As far as the post processing goes, it takes a little creativity - practice with your clone tool! Remember, use the biggest and softest brush you can get away with. Practice makes perfect, and never rush the job!

Below is a YouTube video of the rig removal in post production.

Also, take a look at some of James Evins Rig shots on his flickr when you get a chance. His rig photography is awesome..
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