How to Build a Car Roof Camera Rig

Let it be noted at this point that this is not the original design, but for safety reasons the original can never be seen by human eyes. Check out some snaps from the build process and feel free to make any suggestions or ask questions. All up this build cost me around NZ$25 (US$17).

Car mount on the ground

It’s a pretty simple design really. All you need is a plank of wood from your hardware store, a few bolts, wing nuts and some rope or ties.

Materials

Tools

Materials:

  • Wood
  • Four long bolts (any size)
  • Five wing nuts
  • Tripod bolt

Tools:

  • Drill with a wood bit and various drill bits
  • Saw
Exploded view

Build Tips

An easy way to get the tripod mounting bolts in the right place is to get a sheet of paper, hold it on the bottom of your camera and push through the two holes. Draw onto the piece of wood through the holes in the paper and you’re set.

Shooting

You can shoot off this type of mount in a whole bunch of different styles. You could show the passage of time or depict traveling with a time-lapse, you could shoot it normally to show movement or use it as a massive dolly!

Car mount on car

If you want to achieve a smooth time-lapse effect like In this shot, but don’t have variable frame rates or an interval recording mode then shoot with a very slow shutter speed. When you speed up the shot in post you will get a smooth looking time-lapse. You can also get cool light trails if you shoot like this in traffic at night-time.

Final thoughts

I hope you understand that putting your camera on top of a car and driving is potentially risky. So if you do decide to give it a try, remember you are doing so at your own risk. With that said, if you do build it then post up a link to your rig or your final clips, I’d love to see what you come up with. Happy building!

I have a few ideas for improving the design and even some cool additions that I’ll be sharing with you all soon, I hope to adapt the design for cars without roof racks too. I’ll keep you posted!

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