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Old October 27th, 2007, 03:46 AM   #1
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Merlin Steadicam Arm Vest Payloads

Hello! I wanted to start a new thread for other operators to show the different setup configurations and accessories used with their system.

I'll start by showing in these 3 photos what I explored with so far. Included hardware:

Canon XH A1 HD Video Camera
Canon Extended Battery Pack (fills entire battery cavity)
Sony Rubber Eye Cup (p/n 217941401 or 2-179-414-01) $38.40
BeachTek DXA-2S Dual XLR Adapter
2 Sennheiser Wireless Mics.
1 Bracket1* www.Bracket1.com

*A new Bracket 1 HD is now available http://www.bracket1.com/brackets.php and may be a better choice than what I had...

MERLIN SET-UP:

Dove Plate @ Position H
Collar Fully Inserted
Spar Fully Extended
2 Finish Weights
8 Middle Weights

Also... I just ordered a 'J-Rod' with a 3-Shoe setup from Jeff which I'll have on Wednesday to also test with a RODE NTG-2 shotgun mic, one Zenn Wireless Mic and the much heavier Canon Wide-Angle glass. We'll see...

Surprisingly to me, the Steadicam was more stable overall and more forgiving staying in the horizontal plane longer even when exposing it to sudden movements. The system achieved even smoother footage with the added extra weight. BTW, I calculated the total system at 11 lbs. and that's approx. 3.5 lbs. more than then maximum Merlin/Arm/Vest recommended payload.

Incidentally, the reason why I'm using two wireless mics, I will be following two commentators at a Porsche vintage racing event, also conducting interviews, describing some of the fantastic historical machinery, etc. Should be lots of fun! http://www.rennsport2007.com/index.htm

Again, I'm very interested to see photos, details, setup specs. of what others are doing when hanging accessories to their vest/arm equipped Steadicam Merlins.

Incidentally, I'm NOT recommending anyone to exceed the manufacturer’s specs. but if it works, that's OK by me. For now, check this out...
Attached Thumbnails
Merlin Steadicam Arm Vest Payloads-merlin-steadicam-arm-vest-photo-04.jpg   Merlin Steadicam Arm Vest Payloads-merlin-steadicam-arm-vest-photo-05.jpg  

Merlin Steadicam Arm Vest Payloads-merlin-steadicam-arm-vest-photo-08.jpg  

Last edited by Armando Serrano; October 27th, 2007 at 01:56 PM.
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Old October 27th, 2007, 10:23 AM   #2
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I would think that the mic bracket would impede the ability to pan left as it would hit your left hand/arm, no?

Perhaps a more clean mounting system would incorporate a lower plate that allows the wireless packs to mount at the bottom, replacing a few of the finish weights. Probably the Beachtek would be best mounted there also, as it is desirable to keep the center of gravity of the camera closer to the gimbal.
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Old October 27th, 2007, 11:52 AM   #3
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Hello Charles, You're right and thanks for the tips!

I won't have time to do this correctly before leaving on my trip to Florida Nov 1st, but I'll be for sure trying to improve the current configuration. It was surprising to me to see the system work better than with the lighter load I previously had.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Charles Papert View Post
I would think that the mic bracket would impede the ability to pan left as it would hit your left hand/arm, no?
Actually, it's not in the way at all of my left arm and panning in either direction is not an issue. The added weight using the arm/vest is NOT noticeable to me other than I feel the system is now even more stable (go figure!).

Thanks again!

Last edited by Armando Serrano; October 27th, 2007 at 01:54 PM.
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Old October 27th, 2007, 02:51 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Armando Serrano View Post
Canon XH A1 HD Video Camera
Canon Extended Battery Pack (fills entire battery cavity)
Sony Rubber Eye Cup (p/n 217941401 or 2-179-414-01) $38.40
BeachTek DXA-2S Dual XLR Adapter
2 Sennheiser Wireless Mics.
1 Bracket1
I am missing something here. Why do you need the Beachtek?
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Old October 27th, 2007, 04:00 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Douglas Villalba View Post
I am missing something here. Why do you need the Beachtek?
I'm using two wireless mics. Do you recommend dropping the BeachTek and plug them directly to the Canon XLR inputs? I was under the impression using the BeachTek did allow for better audio control and some level of improvement. Please keep in mind that I need the capability to also use the RODE NTG-2 shotgun mic. and drop the 2nd Zenn wireless. This way, I can capture the sound directly in front of the Canon as well as the commentator on the other Zenn wireless mic. balancing the two sources. Make sense?

Doug, you may be right, I don't really know for sure at this point since I have yet to field-test either configuration with an actual recording...

PS: Doug, I noticed you're in FL. I'll be flying out of California and arriving at Orlando to attend the Rennsport Reuniun III being held at Dayton Raceway, are you going? ; )

Last edited by Armando Serrano; October 27th, 2007 at 07:11 PM.
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Old October 27th, 2007, 06:10 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Armando Serrano View Post
I'm using two wireless mics. Do you recommend dropping the BeachTek and plug them directly to the Canon XLR inputs? I was under the impression using the BeachTek did allow for better audio control and some level of improvement. Please keep in mind that I need the capability to also use the RODE NTG-2 shotgun mic. and drop the 2nd Zenn wireless. This way, I can capture the sound directly in front of the Canon as well as the commentator on the other Zenn wireless mic. Make sense?

Doug, you may be right, I don't really know for sure at this point since I have yet to field-test either configuration with an actual recording...

PS: Doug, I noticed you're in FL. I'll be flying out of California and arriving at Orlando to attend the Rennsport Reuniun III being held at Dayton Raceway, are you going? ; )
I really don't see how another accessory can help. I don't use the XH A1 as my main camera, but I pulled it out and it has independent controls for both left & right inputs.

As far as the Rennsport Reuniun III, I don't even know what it is about. Daytona is about 5 to 7 hours from me depending on traffic and how fast you can go ;-)
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Old October 27th, 2007, 07:06 PM   #7
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If those are the Sennheiser G2 wireless systems, you should have got the twist lock mini-to-XLR cable with each system, so there's no need for the Beachtek.
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Old October 27th, 2007, 09:35 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by Armando Serrano View Post
Actually, it's not in the way at all of my left arm and panning in either direction is not an issue. The added weight using the arm/vest is NOT noticeable to me other than I feel the system is now even more stable (go figure!).
Huh, I would think that a 90 degree pan to the left or more (as in Don Juan position) would be restricted by the proximity of the mike packs.

Adding weight will always make a rig more stable, that's the principle of inertia. You'd be amazed if you were to spin the post of a full-size rig, it feels like a fluid head in comparison to the super-touchiness of a Merlin. But the addition of a single pound onto the Merlin changes the feel substantially, it's true.
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Old October 27th, 2007, 10:46 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Charles Papert View Post
Huh, I would think that a 90 degree pan to the left or more (as in Don Juan position) would be restricted by the proximity of the mike packs.
Sorry Charles, I missed the "Don Juan" portion of your question. Yes, the equipment would interfere and I would have to be aware of the limitations with that setup.

By the way, following Doug's recommendation, I took off the BeachTek and tried to re-balance the Merlin for over 2 hours to get it to work as well as before but to no avail. Amazing what a little more weight and re-distribution will do to that Merlin. I'm almost tempted to add the BeachTek back on or figure out some similar payload distribution to get it back to work as before.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Douglas Villalba View Post
As far as the Rennsport Reunion III, I don't even know what it is about. Daytona is about 5 to 7 hours from me depending on traffic and how fast you can go ;-)
Hi Doug!

Racing car enthusiast waits for years to see this event. The Porsche Rennsport Reunion is held every three years or so. It is open to the public and brings together an unprecedented gathering of significant Porsche vintage and current racecars and famous Porsche race drivers from ALL over the world. If you like vintage automobile racing, and Porsches, this IS THE EVENT to see worldwide.

I don't want to get off the subject here, but attached are some photos from the past 2004 event. See the Gulf Blue livery 917K with the #20 on the door? Did you ever see the 1971 movie "Le Mans" produced and directed by Steve McQueen? That's the car in that movie, now owned by Jerry Seinfeld who normally also drives it at the event (he did last year).

Sorry, I just had to post some photos...
Attached Thumbnails
Merlin Steadicam Arm Vest Payloads-917s-20at-20monterey-20-201.jpg   Merlin Steadicam Arm Vest Payloads-100162.jpg  

Merlin Steadicam Arm Vest Payloads-rennsportdaytona2004015.jpg   Merlin Steadicam Arm Vest Payloads-rennsportdaytona2004049.jpg  

Merlin Steadicam Arm Vest Payloads-rennsportdaytona2004055.jpg   Merlin Steadicam Arm Vest Payloads-rennsportdaytona2004184.jpg  

Merlin Steadicam Arm Vest Payloads-rennsportdaytona2004159.jpg  

Last edited by Armando Serrano; October 28th, 2007 at 02:40 PM.
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