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Canon EOS Crop Sensor for HD
APS-C sensor cameras including the 80D, 70D, 7D Mk. II, 7D, EOS M and Rebel models for HD video recording.


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Old May 10th, 2010, 07:26 AM   #16
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tnx Daniel!

i'll try it later
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Old May 13th, 2010, 09:53 PM   #17
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We've been using the T2i on the Merlin for months now, and it works PERFECTLY with the bone-stock camera and kit lens. In fact, I find the T2i almost perfect for the Merlin...and we've gotten some awesome footage with it.

I'll post a balancing recipe tomorrow from work, but I can guarantee you it works.

A couple of brief points: first, there are a LOT of adjustment points on the Merlin...not only the weights at the end of the spar/boom...but weight in the middle...plus stage mounting hole...plus (this one gets overlooked a lot) the positioning of the threaded mount above the gimbal makes a big difference. Finally, the open/closed angle of the spar/boom. So many ways to achieve balance!

The other point is that I've found many people don't understand what "perfect balance" for a Merlin is. I've come across several people using one that have it WAY too bottom-heavy. It seems some people think that the "ideal" balance is one where if you pull the spar to the side (tilting the camera) it immediately rights itself like a buoy.

When balanced perfectly, you should be able to rotate the spar and camera 90 degrees to the side...and it should very slowly drift back upright, taking at least 2 seconds or more.

Stay tuned for a recipe!
Scott

Last edited by Scott Wilkinson; May 14th, 2010 at 08:36 AM.
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Old May 14th, 2010, 02:07 AM   #18
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So, let's see some footage!
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Old May 14th, 2010, 08:30 AM   #19
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T2i Steadicam Merlin Recipe

Okay, here's the recipe I've come up with so far for the T2i (with kit lens at widest setting) and Steadicam Merlin:

Stage Mounting Hole = M

Weights (End of Spar or Lower Weights) = 1 full-size weight, 1 rounded end cap weight (1 "Start," 1 "Finish")

Weights (Middle of Spar or Front Weights) = 1 rounded end cap weight (1 "Finish")

"Z" (the threaded collar just above the gimbal) = -6 (that's 6 full, 360-degree counter-clockwise turns from the point where the collar is fully screwed into/against the stage)

Stage Mark (left) = -2.25 (actually just a hair farther back than -2.25 --- I can see the whole width of the -2.25 hash mark)

Arc Size (+/- hash mark adjustment in middle of spar) = This is a somewhat difficult measurement to specify; Steadicam uses the "distance from lower weight to the top of the stage" but this is obviously touh to measure.

So (Arc Size continued!), looking at the hash marks, if the first mark on the "minus" end of the scale = 0, and the last mark on the "plus" side of the scale = 100, I have the indicator mark positioned right *between* the 25 and 50 marks. (Make sense? There are 5 hash marks, so I'm referring to them as 0, 25, 50, 75 and 100.)

-----end of T2i recipe-----

This should give you darn close to a ideal balance (though if I remember it's still just a *tiny* bit bottom-heavy). And this is also with NO lens cap hanging off the camera and NO hardware in the hot shoe of any kind---just the bone-stock camera and kit lens in the *widest* setting.

EXAMPLE FOOTAGE

Our latest production (a 5-minute fundraising video for the local healthcare foundation) was shot entirely with two T2i's and a mix of tripod and Steadicam Merlin footage (the video opens with a Steadicam shot, and you'll see several more obvious Steadicam shots throughout the video).

The Steadicam footage (with the T2i) really made this video shine and gave it that extra high-end "kick" that everyone notices (but isn't sure exactly what they're noticing, LOL).


Scott

PS - I'm not crazy about the embedded Vimeo interface above, because you can't see how much of the video has buffered (and wait for smooth playback). So if you want the native Vimeo interface, go to...

http://vimeo.com/highrock/videos

And click the "Antietam Healthcare Foundation" video. :-)
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Old May 14th, 2010, 08:59 AM   #20
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Looks great! We've done several videos similar to this and it makes me want to go back and reshoot them with the T2i. :)

What did you do for audio? I'm getting to the point where I want to remove mics from my shots, but haven't worked out yet if I want to start trying to boom everything or hide the wireless mics. I prefer the audio from my wireless lapels, but haven't learned the tricks to hiding them yet.
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Old May 14th, 2010, 06:59 PM   #21
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Hi Bryan---for business/corporate videos like this one, we typically just ignore audio for B-roll shots, since 95% of the time the soundtrack will be music anid narration (so need to worry about capturing quality ambient sound, background audio, etc)

Otherwise, we've been using a Zoom H4 (not the H4n, but the original H4 which works great for our needs) in conjunction with Sennheiser wireless lavs and a boom-mounted Sennheiser ME-80 short shotgun (and syncing audio in post).

For these kinds of shoots the T2i is an awesome camera. We have no need for a 7D or 5D!

Scott
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Old May 14th, 2010, 07:22 PM   #22
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Yeah, I meant for the interviews. I didn't see any mics (maybe I missed them), just wondering what you used.
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Old May 17th, 2010, 12:59 AM   #23
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hi guys

thanks to your info i find that setting the merlin with the reflex is not so easy but is possible
i had a problem with the mounting hole, used N instead of M, that give to me that L+R problem
now i find the right set, and from what i understand, there are more than one, relating the different relationship between them!!

so now i learn how to use it... how to start and stop without have that "pendulum" effect.... is possible, not easy again and need time, but possible!!

i'll post here some video when i'll be good enough.... but for the guys that already have done them, please post
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Old May 17th, 2010, 01:53 AM   #24
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I know it's not a Merlin but thought it would give another perspective as the exact same questions, issues, solutions all work for the Blackbird.

1st Day with Blackbird!

As the description says, this was literally my 1st day ever using a stabilizer. Now that I've had it a week, I'm much more dialed in. (the balance hasn't changed, just my knowledge of how to use it!)
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Old May 17th, 2010, 11:08 AM   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Alessandro Pasini View Post
hi guys

thanks to your info i find that setting the merlin with the reflex is not so easy but is possible
i had a problem with the mounting hole, used N instead of M, that give to me that L+R problem
now i find the right set, and from what i understand, there are more than one, relating the different relationship between them!!

so now i learn how to use it... how to start and stop without have that "pendulum" effect.... is possible, not easy again and need time, but possible!!

i'll post here some video when i'll be good enough.... but for the guys that already have done them, please post
Hi Allessandro (and others)...

When a Steadicam (regardless of size) is well-balanced, it should not "pendulum" at all when you move. In fact, one of my standard "balance tests" is to hold the Merlin (with camera) in front of me...then violently shake it from side to side once or twice and stop it suddenly.

If well-balanced, it won't budge---no swaying, no pendulum motion. It just sits there upright. If you try this and find the whole thing sways after stopping suddenly, you need to work on getting it better balanced.

I've also found that with the Merlin, it helps to work on your "glide step," that is, learning how to walk by placing your heel down first and *rolling* along the outside edge of your foot toward your toe. Basically this helps eliminate the "bobbing-up-and-down" motion that comes from walking normally...and even a perfectly-balanced Merlin can't get ride of this bobbing. (Of course you can minimize it to an extent through using your arms like a vest and boom...but that's harder to do than just learning to walk smoothly!)

Hope this helps!
Scott
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Old May 17th, 2010, 12:58 PM   #26
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Not sure about the Merlin, so I apologize if this is a bit off-topic, but I've excellent luck with the T2i with a Sigma 10-20mm on a Glidecam HD-1000. The lens makes the camera a bit front-heavy, but I find that having 3 weight-plates on the back and 2 on the front, it'll balance out nicely. What I hate, however, is having to rebalance the thing every single time I remove and reattach the camera. I suppose this comes with the territory, however. And yes, I agree with the above. There should be no pendulum effect when properly balance on any steady device of this type.
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Old May 17th, 2010, 03:14 PM   #27
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With tons of respect for the BIG Steadicam artists around the world...I think a well-balanced Merlin (or Glidecam, though I'm not familiar with those) is a joy and wonder.

Like anything, it takes some practice...but with the Merlin/T2i combo, you can get some VERY good Steadicam shots, easily on par (IMO) with film cameras on $20,000 rigs (and you don't need a spotter!)

Of course the achilles heel of the handheld stabilization units is the lack of vertical stabilization...but with some practice, you can eliminate most vertical movement, and even do things that a full-size Steadicam operator would be hard-pressed to do (like boom/crane shots from street-level to overhead...all in one take...all while moving).

What's interesting to me is how it seems like Steadicam shots are almost the norm now for dramatic television series---it seems like 75% of shows are shot entirely with Steadicams. But equivalent use of handheld stabilization systems hasn't caught on with the non-Hollywood, lower-budget DV producers. It seems rigs like the Merlin are almost considered a gimmick by rank-and-file DV folks.

Scott
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Old May 17th, 2010, 10:26 PM   #28
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I think people are put off by the learning curve and honestly, I need to work out more to build up the length of time I can shoot with the Blackbird and T2i. No regrets as it's going to be a wonderful tool eventually.

Out of all the footage I've shot just learning the ropes (about an hour total footage over the week or so I've owned it) , I'd say 5% is useable at this point. Most would be discouraged and give up. That may be the reason for it's so-called "gimmick" status as a pure handheld. It really requires time and effort to learn...much more than any other facet of camera work I've dealt with so far.

Fun thing though is being able to critique TV and movies now that I know what I'm supposed to be striving for. Amazing how much mediocre steadicam & boom style shots make the final cut. And until I started using the tools, I never would have noticed!
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Old May 18th, 2010, 03:29 AM   #29
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Scott Wilkinson View Post
Hi Allessandro (and others)...

When a Steadicam (regardless of size) is well-balanced, it should not "pendulum" at all when you move. In fact, one of my standard "balance tests" is to hold the Merlin (with camera) in front of me...then violently shake it from side to side once or twice and stop it suddenly.

If well-balanced, it won't budge---no swaying, no pendulum motion. It just sits there upright. If you try this and find the whole thing sways after stopping suddenly, you need to work on getting it better balanced.

I've also found that with the Merlin, it helps to work on your "glide step," that is, learning how to walk by placing your heel down first and *rolling* along the outside edge of your foot toward your toe. Basically this helps eliminate the "bobbing-up-and-down" motion that comes from walking normally...and even a perfectly-balanced Merlin can't get ride of this bobbing. (Of course you can minimize it to an extent through using your arms like a vest and boom...but that's harder to do than just learning to walk smoothly!)

Hope this helps!
Scott
Hi Scott

well i did that test too, and it's not like a pendulum effect, but after that violent move or shake it remain fix... but not perfectly, i mean a little oscillatiom really small is still there.... i think this is normal... or not?

tnx again for the patience
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Old May 18th, 2010, 05:46 AM   #30
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@Alessandro...

Yes, a *very* small amount of movement might happen after the "shake test," but it should only be slight. (Or none!) :-)

The other thing about the Merlin is that it was designed to be controlled by your fingertips on the collar just above the gimbal...I've found this takes a very light touch---just enough to "guide" the Merlin, but not enough to cause it to move where you don't want it to.

Scott
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