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Canon XH Series HDV Camcorders
Canon XH G1S / G1 (with SDI), Canon XH A1S / A1 (without SDI).


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Old August 21st, 2007, 10:05 PM   #1
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fig rig vs merlin

I'm getting closer to buying one of these. Someone mentioned they get more use out of their figrig than something like a merlin.

I'm wondering what people's thoughts are on the use of either. Or if they are even comparable.

Also, for the merlin - is anyone planning to get the modified gimble that suits the extra weight better? Or does it make the weight without a vest too heavy?

And a question on the figrig - why would you need to mount the mic on the wheel when you can just mount it on the camera itself? Camera noise?

Trish
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Old August 22nd, 2007, 12:18 AM   #2
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Depends on what you are shooting the most with your camera, and what perception you want to throw out there... for instance, if you shoot weddings, then what would it look like if you show up looking like an 8 year old with a steering wheel from his Daddy's old car?

Sorry, some things just look silly. Though it may be fully functional, I still have to laugh anytime I see the figrig.

The A1 is easy to hold steady for handheld use, and though I hear the Merlin is quite good, I haven't used one, but use my Glidecam 2000 easy with it.

But the steering wheel.....................

sorry. </soapbox>
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Old August 22nd, 2007, 01:36 AM   #3
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Never used the merlin. Bought a fig rig and just sold it to get the multirig pro. best move i ever made. i was all about the fig rig but it ended up being pretty cumbersome and un ergonimc for me.i can fit the multirig in my bag even and it can do so many more things. the spring loaded support pod handles all the weight of your rig its great. the merlin would be a great tool but it takes time and practice to use and forget about all day shoots with it unless you get the vest.

i also found it hard to fit thru standard doorways with the fig rig :) it is possible but you gotta watch where you are going instead of focusing on what you are shooting.

My suggestion would be to have a look at the dv multirig pro
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Old August 22nd, 2007, 02:54 AM   #4
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Well I have just taken delivery off my fig rig yesterday and with a little playing around it works excellent. Everything is smooth you can glide through shots and with a little playing i found you can 'recreate' the monster rushing through the woods shot from Evil Dead - which is cool. You will definately need to get the add on to adjust zoom/focus and record onto the fig rig - i haven't got itg yet and even just mucking about felt i needed one. In all I think for the price it's unbeatable!!
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Old August 22nd, 2007, 04:47 AM   #5
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I have them both, different tools...

FigRig is like an extra handgrip, which makes it possible to hold and move the camera in strange positions fairly comfortably. Makes movement also somewhat steadier, true. Clumsy in tight places.

Merlin is a very delicate contraption, it gives smooth moves but difficult to control, need practise. Mostly used for planned shots, and not much longer than a few minutes at a go, forearm feels like it was on fire...

I find the FigRig more usefull.
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Old August 22nd, 2007, 07:48 AM   #6
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thanks for all the replies!

Hadn't thought about looking odd with the giant steering wheel. : )

I'm wondering how useful the remote control would be on the fig - isn't it just as difficult to access controls on any of these things while recording?

Adding on the accessories jumps the price quite a bit - at least in Canada, that is.

I am a little worried about the merlin, as much as I love the possibilities. I'm small and already have trouble carrying the camera around on a monopod for too long.

Looking at the multirig pro now - definitely looks like it would be less arm strain

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Old August 22nd, 2007, 07:51 AM   #7
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The FigRig is pretty much useless without the remote control for zoom etc.(Manfrotto makes two models), as fumbling for the camera controls while tape is running pretty much defeats the purpose of having the steering wheel thingy in the first place.
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Old August 22nd, 2007, 08:15 AM   #8
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I guess it would be difficult to get access to the centre of the wheel when shooting on the fly.

I'm just investigating the multirig - there are 2 'pro' versions

multirig pro and the new DVrig pro HD which someone writes " is set up for both standard camera on the front bar or 35m setup on the side bar over the shoulder."

Anyone tried the newer HD version yet?

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Old August 22nd, 2007, 09:13 AM   #9
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Tip

I have found many approaches to using the fig rig. With regard to the lanc controller, it does make a difference.

One approach I have found helpful is this. (speaking from a right handed person) If you hold the bottom grip, the one under the camera, with your left hand, pull the whole rig into your chest, and move with full body moves, you can get to your zoom etc with your right hand. One downfall is that lcd is so close you can see it.

In reference to the fig rig looking funny, it is a conversation piece with interviewing people.
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Old August 22nd, 2007, 11:48 AM   #10
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This video (with Mike Figgis) does an excellent job of showing and explaining what the Fig Rig does and how it is used:
http://www.benwilsondesign.co.uk/movie5.html

Here is a video that shows the Merlin moves and results:
http://www.tiffen.com/userimages/ste...n_demo_med.mov

The Merlin can give you true steadicam shots, which generally, though, need to be planned and practiced. You can run with it and get other fast and fluid motions.

The Fig Rig is designed to move the hands away from the camera to reduce the effect of jitters on the camera. It also serves as a kind of mono-pod/tripod substitute in many situations.

My suggestion is to take your camera and try all the kinds of hand held moves you want to do just by holding the camera.

Then look at the video and see the kinds of problems you have that you want to eliminate.

Then apply what you see in the videos I listed above to see which device has answers for your problems.

Here are some general questions to consider:
--Are you doing planned shots or shooting spontaneously.
--How long are your individual shots.
--Do you need a device to use for several hours in a documentary type situation that will make it easier to hold the camera.
--Exactly what problems are you having handheld that you need to overcome (e.g. do you need more steady moving shots, do you need something that makes it easy to hold the camera for long periods, do you need to support the camera in run-and-gun situations and have no time for setup... etc.)

The XH-A1 is fairly easy to use hand held for short periods, easier I think than other similar cameras. Trying it out and looking at the video will give you the best idea about what kind of stabilizer you need.
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Old August 22nd, 2007, 02:01 PM   #11
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i've a figrig and lanc and used it with my xm2 till i switched to the a1.
now i wouldnt dare use it with the a1.
im not weak, at all, but believe me when i say the fig rig takes it out of you.
and this was with the far lighter xm2.
one fair point though is that it evenly distributes the weight down through your left and right sides.
in response to the mic on the wheel question.
well, if you need a light as well then the wheel is handy.
the lanc needs aperture control.
without it it makes things very annoying for the same reasons posted above.
im selling mine.
and if anyone wants it email me. also the 521pro lanc.
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Old August 23rd, 2007, 08:59 AM   #12
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I checked out the dig and merlin videos - both look great. I guess they each have different uses.

I did notice the fig rig operator was using a smaller looking camera than the A1 which wouldn't tire you as quickly. And he was a fairly big man. But what was good is it could be rested in various positions.

Next thing is to try and get access to demo the diff options and see what feels best. the dvshop in toronto I think alsos hands on for the dvrig pro and figrig - don't think they have the merlin yet

thanks again for all the helpful responses.

trish
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Old August 23rd, 2007, 09:26 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Trish Kerr View Post
I checked out the dig and merlin videos - both look great. I guess they each have different uses.

I did notice the fig rig operator was using a smaller looking camera than the A1 which wouldn't tire you as quickly. And he was a fairly big man. But what was good is it could be rested in various positions.

Next thing is to try and get access to demo the diff options and see what feels best. the dvshop in toronto I think alsos hands on for the dvrig pro and figrig - don't think they have the merlin yet

thanks again for all the helpful responses.

trish

I have used my Z1 with it. I joke that the longer you use the FigRig, the easier it gets. It's kind of a joke, but really, if you look at my coverage over the hours, the later in the night it get's the better my balance is.
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Old August 23rd, 2007, 12:10 PM   #14
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I shot a music video with an XL2 on a figrig. I was using the LetusXL with a manual focus lens. Holding the figrig and manually focusing is a workout!!!
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Old August 23rd, 2007, 12:28 PM   #15
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I have a Figrig which I have found extremely useful. I would not say that i would choose either a Figrig or Merlin, I'd much rather have both. I think they both serve a specific purpose.

For nice stable smooth shots, I'd go for the Merlin. However, some of the shots I can get using my Figrig just would not be possible to do with just a Merlin - for example holding the rig as high up over my head as possible or setting it down on the ground for getting a very low angle shot.

With the figrig, I can also get some interesting dutch angle shots and it gives me a stable device in tight places where there is hardly room for myself and no room for a tripod or even monopod. In these situations, the Merlin would do no good.

For moving shots, I would much rather have a Merlin to get that smooth motion. The Figrig is better than nothing though, even for moving shots. I can use my arms and body to take up the impact and get some better shots that way.

I use the GL1 and also the DVX100 on my Figrig. After 4 hours of flying the DVX on the rig, my shoulders hurt for 2 days - but it is definitely a possibility. I think the DVX is close in size to the A1. I don't have the Lanc for it yet, but I can just push record and get it in position, then cut out the junk I dont need - tape is cheap.
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