Matthews Develops Special Rig For Virtual Reality Production

With more virtual reality (VR) content being produced each month, it is gaining momentum across the media industry. Looking to capitalize on the nascent craze, Matthews Studio Equipment (MSE), a veteran supplier of professional production equipment, now offers a new spherical camera support system that is specifically designed for VR capture.

With more than 50 years of experience in developing production support products, and lots of customer feedback, Matthews Studio Equipment (MSE) has created the VRig, an aluminum support system. It can be reconfigured as a low-angle mount for a car, tabletop, ground, etc., or with an optional boom arm can provide mounts with extended positive and negative angles. The VRig also integrates seamlessly with standard grip equipment to allow the creation of custom built rigging.

“By their very nature, spherical cameras see everything and are often left unattended amidst the action,” said Tyler Phillips, Vice President Marketing and Product Development for Matthews Studio Equipment. “They require a strong support system that is unobtrusive to the camera view, and can be easily painted out in post.”

The company said that its VRig’s ultra-small footprint minimizes nadir hole and shadow obstruction while maintaining rock solid stability with its low center of gravity barbell weight retainer that works with standard or Olympic style weights. There is also an optional suction Pump Cup for non-porous surfaces and an Auger Spike for exterior locations to further enhance stability.

MSE said that in order to provide VR viewers with an immersive experience at live events, for example, the spherical camera is often positioned front row and center of the action. It’s essential that the camera and rigging remain inconspicuous and minimize the obstruction to the live audience. With this in mind, Phillips said that the VRig’s slim vertical riser and black elastic leg skirt allow camera accessories to be hidden from view. Integrated tapped female mounts for lighting fixtures and microphones are also included to help address the rigging challenges of a spherical environment while still remaining inconspicuous.

The VRig is already in use on several major VR productions, according to Phillips. “Until now [VR content producers] have been kluging together supports from parts using everything from video tripods to still photo monopods and light stands,” Phillips said, adding that the VRig’s sleek design makes the workflow faster because it means less expensive rig removal in post.

“Operators also tell use that they are able to set shots quickly, yet not be afraid to walk away from their rig and hide from the camera view. Plus, the flexible, modular construction means that in most cases it’s the only support they need to carry, regardless of the of the location,” said Phillips.

VRig comes in two versions. The lightweight S30 (at only 7.5lbs or 3.4kg) supports up to 30lbs (13.6 kg), features a minimum height of 26” (66cm) and a maximum height of 64.5” (164cm) with a minimum footprint diameter of 6” (15.2cm) and a maximum footprint diameter of 37” (94cm). The heavyweight S75 (at 14lbs or 6.4kg) supports up to 75lbs. (34kg), features a minimum height of 33” (84cm) and a maximum height of 86” (218.5cm), with a minimum footprint diameter of 9” (23cm) and maximum footprint diameter of 43” (109cm).

A step-by-step video introducing the VRig’s unique capabilities can be seen here (www.msegrip.com/vrig). It will be officially launched at the upcoming IBC Show in Amsterdam (stand 12 G-71).

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