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Old March 3rd, 2011, 12:53 AM   #1
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Steadicam Merlin + NXCAM

Hi all,

So, its been a long while. But I've retrieved the Merlin from under the bed and given it a red hot go. I never did get the settings right with the NX5 and Merlin, and I still can't today.

Is there anyone that would be willing to share their exact settings with me?

I feel I have wasted a lot of money on the damned thing!

Cheers in advance!

Ben
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Old March 3rd, 2011, 08:13 AM   #2
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Re: Steadicam Merlin + NXCAM

Sell the Merlin and buy a Glidecam HD-4000. The weight restrictions of the merlin can handle the NX but your pushing it. Also after a while your arm wont hold up. You can get at least 600$ US for the merlin which would easily cover the GlideCam. Good luck.
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Old March 4th, 2011, 08:33 PM   #3
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Re: Steadicam Merlin + NXCAM

Hi Ben

I've used the Merlin for two weddings with the NX5. Firstly, I would agree that the NX5 takes the Steadicam Merlin to the absolute max.

I could only get it to work consistently with the NP-F570 batter I got with my NX5 - not with the battery I'd prefer to use at a wedding (maybe the NP-F970?).

Settings wise, I did not write them down, as everything was set to max - the reach, the weight at the bottom etc. I even found that the screw at the top of the handle had to be very close to the top - to lower the centre of gravity to below the handle plate.

After that the balance on the plate was crucial - much more so than when using with the (much) lighter Canon XM2, but the results were absolutely excellent.

I've just cut a little of one of the weddings and (once rendered, uploaded etc.) I'll post again the link to the footage on Vimeo.

cheers,

Ian
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Old March 4th, 2011, 09:05 PM   #4
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Re: Steadicam Merlin + NXCAM

Here's the footage!


What do you think???????

cheers

Ian
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Old March 5th, 2011, 05:46 AM   #5
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Re: Steadicam Merlin + NXCAM

Hi Ian,

Thanks very much for the info and the video. Looks fabulous - exactly the look I am going for.

Unfortunately I have read a few bits of info on assorted forums (including these) from users who say its certainly possible to use the combination of an NX5 and a Merlin and give a few tidbits of useful information, but fall short of definitive settings and such. I appreciate the help but at this point all it does is get my hopes up and ends up wasting a rare day off with me tinkering with it. Then invariably I get annoyed and spend the night banging my head on the door.

I guess at this point I am hoping that someone will step up the plate with some firmer settings. Do you still have the Merlin? Would you be willing to help me out a bit further? I'm not sure what I can do to compensate you for your time, but I'd surely appreciate it.

Cheers
B
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Old March 5th, 2011, 07:17 AM   #6
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Re: Steadicam Merlin + NXCAM

Hi Ben

The steadicam was borrowed from a good friend. I hope to see him on Tuesday, so may be able to take my camera along, and ask him to bring the Merlin. I recall it only takes a few minutes to set up, so - I'll just make sure I write down all the details, and I'll post them here.

regards

Ian
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Old March 5th, 2011, 08:12 PM   #7
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Re: Steadicam Merlin + NXCAM

If you come through for me, I'll buy you a wedding ring :-)
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Old March 9th, 2011, 05:08 PM   #8
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Re: Steadicam Merlin + NXCAM

Hi Ben.

My camera set up is quite vanilla. The Camera is with mike attached and top screen out. I don't have the eye cup fitted. The hood is fitted. The battery is the NP-F570

The Merlin uses all the available weights

Weights: 6 + 2 ends at bottom
Single end at elbow (probably already there - the case has nowhere else to store this weight).

Distance - max open - all the way to the end of the screw thread. I make this length adjustment screw tight, then I back it off 1/4 turn, before I tighten the thumbscrews that connect the two arms etc. tight. I didn't get the chance to measure distances, but this approach is quicker than reaching for the tape measure. Go full wide! If you are wider than I managed - great!

The screw that is above the gimbal is tightened all the way in - so it puts the gimbal as high as possible. This is crucial. Move it down a couple of half turns, and the C of G is above the Gimbal.

Camera fixing Screw goes through the plate at hole M - right at the back.

Plate goes at about position 2 (just behind it). I then get balance with the fore / aft screw at about 2/3 the way forward, and the left / right screw at about the middle - maybe slightly to the right.

The balance top / bottom is just so - there is very little weight below the gimbal when it is set up like this. If you have it way off center, then it will look hopeless with the camera swinging very quickly, and I am sure this is frustrating. The first time I let go of my NX5 on top of my (borrowed) Merlin, it almost turned upside down (I was very wary about damaging the gimbal) - not a fun moment, because I turned the handle to protect the gimbal and trusted everything to hold together on my brand new NX5!

So with the platform roughly right, just use the thumb wheels as necessary - if it swings forward, bring the nose up - look at the arrows!, if it was swinging to the left, bring the left up - look at the arrows!

I really find the Merlin system quite straight forward, it took less than 10 minutes to set up yesterday, when I had literally 15 minutes with the kit at my local film making club - thanks Steve!!

Good luck - let me know how you've got on!
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