Definition of A Rig

What's a rig? Webster's New World Dictionary defines "rig" as a verb: to put a makeshift or hurried fashion, to arrange in a dishonest way for selfish advantage: like an election, manipulate fraudulently or to fit or assemble pertaining to aircraft or boats. Take your pick.

As a noun Webster mentions, oil rigs, horse rigs, tractor trailer rigs, costumes but nothing about movie rigs. The teamsters might talk about tractor trailer rigs, but.....

So here is a movie definition: a makeshift, attachment arranged in a hurried fashion for a selfish advantage in a dishonest way. That is: make-shift a rig out of speed rail in a hurry, something that could be made out of a two by four to impress the onlookers and charge more money for it..... and look like a hero with super talents.

All of this can be legitimate except the hurried fashion. That's where people get hurt. Hopefully the rigger knows what he is doing and production realizes that rigging is a deviation from the normal way of doing things and the normal set of safety rules may not seem to apply.

So, what is the purpose of rigging,? Usually to put a camera, light or other device in an unusual position other than hand held, on a dolly crane or tripod. In commercials we rig product to make them do things better than real and to look more appealing.

I hate to be a kill-joy , but we should not lose sight about what we are doing and rig just for the sake of it. If the standard movie hardware will work, use it because everyone is used to it. If it won't do the job, think about Speed Rail (c) and pipe and rigging, but do know what you are doing, OR HIRE A PROFESSIONAL, before you make a dangerous structure or rig on a moving vehicle, fly people or things around people.

No notes or discussion will make a rigger out of a non-mechanic or even an engineer with no mechanical experience. Even a seasoned grip with no other mechanical background is not necessarily a rigger. It takes some understanding of forces, bracing, leverage, the design of vehicles, inertia, attachment, strength of materials etc. to make a safe rigger. I have a background in engineering and building things all my life, but almost all of my rigging was learned by trial and error, testing and trying to solve problems as they arose in the pre-production.

As a beginner, start with a small collection of Speed Rail (c) and get a feel for attaching pipe and wood together. Put a strain on anything you build to see how it bends, when the drywall screws break or pull out, how a knot holds, or what leverage can do. Master what you have before you buy new stuff that you think that you "might" need. Make do with the minimum number of knots, pipe sizes, the three main Speed Rail (c) fittings: cross, floor and wall flanges.

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