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Mirror rigs. What's all that about then?

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Dylan Hargreaves
Mirror rigs. What's all that about then?
on Aug 4, 2011 at 3:45:32 pm

Hi all,

Caught a reference to mirror rigs the other day and it got me wondering what their applications are. A quick Google points to a lot of 3D work being done with a mirror rig in place of a dual lens camera, but how about for 2D work?

Could you for example, build a mirror rig with 2 cameras shooting with different size lenses, so you get the same shot with a different field of view? I'd imagine you could have some fun with that in post!

Also, where do you get them? Do you rent em, or can they be jerry built?


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Todd Terry
Re: Mirror rigs. What's all that about then?
on Aug 4, 2011 at 4:06:45 pm

I think you must be talking about the mirror rigs that are used sometimes in 3D photography. Those are used when the physical size of the two different cameras will not allow them to be placed close enough next to each other. Using the mirror rigs, they are now able to place the lenses as close together as human eyes are, even though the bulk of the camera bodies would normally prevent that.

Other uses are to marry the field of view from two different cameras so you get the exact same shot from each camera (exact lens, exact same field of view, everything), but can simultaneously shoot with two different exposures for each camera. This is done so the two different versions can be married together to create high-dynamic range images. Normally, of course HDR still shots are created by taking multiple exposures one after another with the same camera but with different exposures. Obviously with a moving subject you can't do that, so the mirror rigs are used with multiple cameras.

I guess you could build one, but it would take some very precision building and machining. Commercially, the rigs are made by several companies... the first one that comes to mine is the one made by P+S Technik. It's available from their US distributor, ZGC.


Todd Terry
Creative Director
Fantastic Plastic Entertainment, Inc.

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