Learn More About Camera Rigs
Whenever you feast your eyes on videos featuring silky smooth camera movement or watch in awe as videos display perfectly level panning and cinematic footage, producing virtually zero camera shake. Whenever you get a glimpse of clear underwater photos and videos -- you (and the filmmakers who captured said footage) have a family of specialized camera gear & equipment to thank for those possibilities -- camera rigs.
Different camera rigs are (part of) the reason why filmmakers can shoot and showcase epic quality videos from epic locations while on the move. If you’re one of the relentless filmmakers, who will stop at nothing to capture the best videos you’re capable of, we’re going to show how, with the right gear, you can start filming videos like Parker Walbeck -- or at least look like you know what you’re doing.
We’ll go over different types of camera rigs, use cases, then help you shop for the right gear & equipment for your next photo or video shoot.
What Is a Camera Rig?
Camera rigs can be many things, from gimbals for your smartphone to waterproof housings for your camera. At its core, a camera rig is meant to stabilize, support, or protect your camera while you’re filmmaking. Different rigs also enable you to mount attachments to your camera for added functionality, while certain rig types function specifically to allow your camera to move freely among its three axes, helping you seamlessly shoot steady video. As you can see, camera rigs serve a multitude of purposes, each with a job of its own -- so let’s get a bit more specific.
What Are The Types of Camera Rigs?
Camera rigs come in various types, sizes, price points, and functions, intending to allow videographers to have an easier time taking photos and videos, especially when you’re not sitting perfectly still. Here are a few common examples of rig types and use cases for them. After we go through some of these, we’ll show you features to look for when finding the perfect rig -- regardless of your specific use case for it.
Though the rig family includes large film cranes and overhead mounts, we’re going to focus on rigs for the common consumer (professional or otherwise). The most common, especially here in our shop are handheld rigs. Handled types account for the majority of this sort of equipment.
They include shoulder mounted rigs, gimbals, waterproof housings, and camera cages. Here’s a little more info on each of these.
Shoulder Mounted Camera Rig
Shoulder mounted rigs, or shoulder mounts, are rigs that move alongside the person holding the camera. They allow filmmakers to support their equipment while shooting moving subjects. It’s said that shoulder mounts are meant to put your audience directly into the narrative -- so an example of a use case would be shooting a fight scene, for instance. However, most of your filmmaking probably won’t involve that level of “action.”
Gimbals are another type of rig, and we offer plenty of options in this department, from your cine camera and DSLR to gimbals for your mirrorless camera and smartphones. Gimbal rigs are essentially arms for your camera that facilitate creating buttery smooth shots. Gimbals use sensors that enable your camera to rotate freely while shooting from different angles when on the move -- think of those dramatic overhead shots, follow shots, and other tracking shots.
Check out our list of The Best Phone Gimbals if this sounds like a piece of equipment you need.
Another rig type is camera cages. Camera cages are exactly what they sound like -- housings that go over your camera while allowing access to your camera’s functions. These mount accessories are a bit like a swiss army knife, as they provide protection for your camera while providing better grip and transport (easing what can quickly become the burden of holding your camera -- think of a cooking pot, briefcase -- not the biggest items in the world, but can become quite awkward to hold without a good handle). Camera cages also allow you to attach certain accessories, lenses, mics, or otherwise to your camera as well. Great pieces of gear for serious photographers.
Similarly, waterproof housings are essentially camera cages that use clamps and specialized exterior and interior design materials to keep your camera completely safe while in or underwater. Adventure lovers especially appreciate these lifesaving tools.
Accessories: Ease Camera Shake & Camera Movement
Camera handles are rig accessories that attach to the sides of your camera or cage to provide better grip, stabilization, and allow you to mount accessories like mics. Pistol grips are rig attachments that help extend your reach and enable one-handed shooting.
Leashes are accessories that attach to housings for extra support, keeping your camera tethered to your wrist. We carry dome attachments that clamp onto your waterproof housings as well, allowing you to capture even clearer underwater images, and, of course, covers and cases for most of the gear mentioned above.
See some of our favorite rigs below.
Best Camera Rigs
Though we have an exhaustive collection of high-quality rigs that help filmmakers optimize and take full control of their process of creation, we want to highlight some of our best-selling essentials.
The AquaTech EDGE for the Canon R5 Sport and for the Sony a7 III are world-class waterproof housings, considered the “culmination of the design principles AquaTech has been perfecting for over 20 years.” Perfect for true adventure photographers/filmmakers.
Our DJI RS 2 is our flagship gimbal. The most powerful of its size and an industry leader, being the first stabilizer to use carbon fiber axis arms, making it not only more powerful but lighter than its competition. Benefits are too long to list. See a full DJI RS 2 Review and Comparison here.
For smartphone users, we offer the Freefly Movi, a powerful phone gimbal in its own right. See it in action in our Freefly Movi Review on YouTube. As far as smartphone cages go, the Beastcage by Beastgrip is a superb rig accessory that snaps onto your iPhone like a case, yet enables you to attach Moment lenses and strap, while giving you full access to your phone’s functions -- it’s compatible with every version of the iPhone 11 & 12.
We defined what types of equipment & gear are considered rigs, and what their main purposes are, and shared some of our favorites + where you can find more information on each item. Now, let’s answer your FAQs.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
What are camera rigs for?
Camera rigs serve various purposes, mainly to support your camera while facilitating mobility and attachments to your camera so that you can capture your best images ever. They enable filmmakers to create jaw-dropping, emotional movie moments by enabling smooth shots while in different angles while moving and while shooting in unusual positions or places (such as underwater).
What camera accessories are essential?
We can write a whole other piece on what camera accessories are essential for creating content. But, if we must limit it to a few words, we’d say: different lenses, storage solutions, lighting equipment, filters, mic attachments, editing software, and, of course, stabilizers like the various rigs and accessories we went through in our article -- for easy transportation, capturing cleaner shots, and seamlessly connecting other accessories.
We understand it can be quite a task to search for the proper camera gear for your creations. If you’re hesitant to click the "Checkout" button, just remember the stunningly smooth, clear, and clean video footage that's only made possible via the camera gear in the creator's grip behind the scenes. As much as our imaginations conjure up ideas for phenomenal content, our gear is quite literally the wands behind the magic. Reach out to our expert Gear Guides to help you find the perfect camera rigs for your next project.