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Old September 29th, 2007, 08:43 AM   #1
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Merlin Vest & Arm

Been playing around with the vest and arm for a few days now and I just love it. I have configured the arm so the camera is on the right side for a better view of the LCD monitor. With the new metal gimbal and extra weights I have fitted the Sony FX1 camera with a large NP-F970 battery and a Sony 10/20 light with a NP-F970 battery as well. I can shoot anywhere now. My first impression was that I feel I can go all day with this thing, no more arm fatigue. I also find that Don Juan is so much easier now and much smoother. I will post some basic footage on Youtube when I get some time. I don't know why but It seems to take a lot longer to balance the rig for static and especially dynamic balance with the metal gimbal, even before I added the light and larger batteries, it's a bit of a pain. Switching back to the plastic one it only takes around 30 secs.
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Old September 30th, 2007, 09:01 AM   #2
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It doesn't clearly explain, but from the photos it looks like the thin end part of the arm which is at 45 degrees is always pointed to the side and you hold the handle from the flat side. Is this correct? I find it more natural to swivel the end part so it faces forward so I can grasp the handle the same as hand held. Any body know if it makes any difference?
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Old September 30th, 2007, 01:26 PM   #3
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Nick how do you find the tendency to vertical 'bobbing' ? Is it almost eliminated with the arm and vest?

- I appreciate the major non-fatigue benefit of the arm and vest, but am interested in pure performance benefit of the arm/vest vs no arm/vest.
Would be great if perhaps you could stick some vids up - youtube is fine.

- maybe some identical shots with and without arm ?
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Old September 30th, 2007, 04:32 PM   #4
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Nick,
The handle should basically remain in the same hand & orientation as if the rig was handheld - except of course it's angled at 45*. The rotation of the "arm post" in the end of the arm isn't that critical, you can face the rig out sideways or forwards however you like. Comfort and arm-clearance are the key factors in this.

- Mikko
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Old September 30th, 2007, 08:13 PM   #5
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Thanks for clearing that up Mikko. Stu I can tell you that I noticed the performance was better than hand held straight away. The arm is a beautiful piece of engineering it really is so smooth, but you have to work at proper form. Even with the Flyer rig when I tensed up I could see my footsteps. Will post some footage soon.
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Old September 30th, 2007, 10:38 PM   #6
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Yes, what is important to remember is that the gimbal hand (i.e. not the post hand or operating hand) is regulating the consistency of your flight path. With a handheld system the weight of the rig tends to "suggest" to your arm that it travel fairly linearly, but once you add the vest/arm combo and the weight is relieved from this hand, you now have to work at isolating your body's up and down motion from translating through your hand to the rig.
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Old October 1st, 2007, 09:49 PM   #7
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Something for everyone to watch out for. The reason my DB was out of whack is because when laying the Merlin on its side for a break, after a period of time it seems that the lower spar twists/slides out of alignment with the top one. I only just noticed it and twisted it back. DB is ok again, and the metal gimbal does seem better. So far I find eliminating footsteps with the vest is harder than hand held. For slow walking it is ok, but when I speed up a bit there is too much up and down movement at the top part of the arm, exasperating the problem.
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Old October 7th, 2007, 01:35 AM   #8
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I find that the arm performs better with more of a load on it. Shooting with just the lightest battery on the FX1, I find I get too much vertical movement, especially with a quicker pace. With the large battery and a camera light with the large battery attached the camera is a lot heavier and the performance is a lot smoother. I am veeery slowly adjusting to operating the gimbal with my right hand.
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Old October 10th, 2007, 08:31 AM   #9
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It took me a while but I have just found the "groove". I'm amazed how good this system works, some shots look almost like they were done with a dolly, amazing! I'm flying an FX1 with a F-970 battery also attached is a Sony 10/20 light with F-970 battery. I am using all the weights supplied - 8 weights + a start & finish weight as well at the bottom, also a finish weight at the front of the Merlin. The arc is exdended all the way. Only 2 threads showing on the gimbal. As explained before the reason I have maxed it out is to increase the mass for better performance.
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Old October 10th, 2007, 12:07 PM   #10
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Nick, care to post some clips of your improved shots? Maybe 2 clips, one with the lighter load and one with the heavy load. Just wanna see how is the vertical movement being eliminated. :)
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Old October 10th, 2007, 10:41 PM   #11
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here's a short clip, sorry it's a bit dark:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a9U75ttgtHA
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Old October 11th, 2007, 12:50 AM   #12
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Nick, it sure looks great.Smooth like a silk. I'm forsaking my glidecam/flycam to buy a merlin. They are too bulky and too much of a hassle. Won't be getting the arm and vest though. Hope the shots will be as good as yours.
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Old October 11th, 2007, 12:56 AM   #13
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I should be getting a commission from Tiffen :)
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Old October 11th, 2007, 06:52 PM   #14
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Hi Nick,

thank you very much for the footage; any chance of getting some footage of a long walk in a straight line? I would love to see how much less footsteps is trasferred to the footage thanx to the arm/vest.

Unless I am very careful when walking (small soft steps), i notice alot of footsteps transfer when using the merlin & am hoping that the arm/vest will go a long way in reducing this problem.
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Old October 11th, 2007, 09:16 PM   #15
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Hi Michael, here is my first very first practice session, I have put it back on youtube:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y4jllH246Rg
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