Experience with Merlin Steadicam? at DVinfo.net

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Old August 3rd, 2007, 01:30 PM   #1
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Experience with Merlin Steadicam?

Does anyone have experience with the Merlin? I'm thinking about getting one and wanted to know how it worked with the XH-A1...

I heard that the XH-A1 is a bit too heavy for the Merlin. Can someone with personal knowledge confirm or negate this?
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Old August 3rd, 2007, 05:22 PM   #2
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I've been looking into getting one as well. They have a Vest and Arm option for it now, which also includes an "Upgraded" gimbal that allows the Merlin to support heavier cameras (they claim up to 7 pounds).

According to: http://www.steadicam.com/merlinarmvest.html you can also buy the new metal gimbal on it's own too, in which case the merlin should have no problem with the A1. It also comes with additional mid weights to aid in the balancing.

Now, whether or not your arm can support the whole rig for more than 10 minutes at a time is up to you. :)

I think I'll go for the vest/arm option.
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Old August 3rd, 2007, 06:22 PM   #3
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The A1 in it's out-of-the-box form does balance on the Merlin, with all weights up. Because it is on the top end of the payload of the rig, it is also quite stable compared to a smaller camera. But of course it will wear you out quicker.

It would be an ideal setup for the arm and vest as Brian suggested. I have tested this exact combo and it worked very well.

Bottom line, you can fly it either way but for extended shooting you will want the arm/vest.
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Old August 3rd, 2007, 09:45 PM   #4
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i use my fig-rig (with zoom/focus control) for most stuff especially live performances.. but my friends glidecam for 'movies'.. i was going to get a merlin at first but im glad i didnt.. i dont think id be able to use it as much as i can use the fig-rig..
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Old August 3rd, 2007, 09:56 PM   #5
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You should do a search on the forum, there's plenty of threads about it.

This is my initial impression:
http://www.dvinfo.net/conf/showthread.php?t=98873
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Old August 6th, 2007, 12:06 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Charles Papert View Post
The A1 in it's out-of-the-box form does balance on the Merlin, with all weights up. Because it is on the top end of the payload of the rig, it is also quite stable compared to a smaller camera. But of course it will wear you out quicker.

It would be an ideal setup for the arm and vest as Brian suggested. I have tested this exact combo and it worked very well.

Bottom line, you can fly it either way but for extended shooting you will want the arm/vest.
How about the camera plus wireless receiver, monitor, battery, etc? Too heavy for Merlin (with vest/arm)?

Thanks
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Old August 6th, 2007, 02:29 AM   #7
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Depends on the model of receiver, monitor etc.

If you plan on using an outboard monitor, the smart money is to mount it at the bottom of the Merlin instead of the weights (some or all). There is a Tiffen mounting plate for this sort of thing.

The Merlin with new gimbal is rated up to 7 lbs, so that's about 2.5 lbs of extra stuff you can add. Again, if you mount the monitor instead of weights athe bottom, you are "cheating" this figure as the monitor weight is not added to the camera payload.
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Old August 8th, 2007, 08:30 AM   #8
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I have the A1 and Merlin and I love the combo (now that I've finally gotten it properly balanced). It takes a lot of practice, but with even the right balance it will fly smooth with just a bit of learning. I'm anxiously awaiting getting the arm/vest as well for longer shots, but even for 5 minute takes it does well on it's own.
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Old August 9th, 2007, 01:33 AM   #9
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Just picked up my Merlin. So far, I like. Out of the box, I was surprised how smooth my shots were and with a little practice, I can see where it can be great.

Very impressed with the design.
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Old August 15th, 2007, 05:35 PM   #10
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Charles, have you tried the steadicam pilot? If so, how would you compare it to the Merlin Arm/Vest for the A1?

I like the fact that it supports up to 10lbs in case I decide to throw the canon wide angle lens on.. In this case, would both the merlin and the pilot deal ok with a very front heavy camera?
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Old August 15th, 2007, 11:07 PM   #11
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Pilot is a fantastic rig. It's actually a more flexible design than the Flyer (less capacity of course). I highly recommend it.

Compared to the Merlin, it is easier to configure and rebalance and operate, and the masses can be adjusted more flexibly (and of course it has a monitor).

Yes, both can deal with a front heavy camera (wide angle), I have flown the A1 with the Canon wide angle on the Merlin just fine. Heavy, but fine.
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Old August 16th, 2007, 08:49 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by David Warren View Post
i use my fig-rig (with zoom/focus control) for most stuff especially live performances.. but my friends glidecam for 'movies'.. i was going to get a merlin at first but im glad i didnt.. i dont think id be able to use it as much as i can use the fig-rig..
Does the fig rig actually compare to using the merlin? Or would the footage be very different?

It's about the same price if you go for the version with clamps and remote control. (much cheaper for the basic wheel)

I was thinking of getting the merlin as well. I've seen the fig rig - but didn't think of it as a similar solution to the merlin

Trish
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