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Old November 30th, 2007, 12:54 PM   #1
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Merlin vest and arm question

So I have been looking at the Steadicam Merlin for awhile and finally went ahead and bought one. I think I can make use of it when I am producing commercials as the shots for a 30 second commercial are generally pretty short. I didn't have the money at this time for the whole vest and arm, so I just bought the Merlin. I was curious though, in a few months, I have a contract to do a couple things that I could use the vest and arm on.....they'd require longer shots and I am betting it would start to be a little tiring to just use the Merlin. Can I buy the vest and arm once I get the money, and will it work with the Merlin I will have? I would think so, but you never know...
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Old November 30th, 2007, 06:34 PM   #2
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Yes and yes. Be prepared for a new learning curve with the vest and arm though.
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Old November 30th, 2007, 09:54 PM   #3
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Thanks for the verification on that Nick. Is it more difficult to use the merlin with the arm and vest than it is standalone? I would have thought it may be easier but I haven't ever used such a rig. Or maybe you just mean different so there will be a totally new learning curve.
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Old November 30th, 2007, 10:37 PM   #4
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Yeah its different to hand held, but once you find the groove operating is much easier because there is no fatigue factor.
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Old November 30th, 2007, 11:18 PM   #5
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Nick, have you noticed any operational differences with the metal gimbal? Different, better, smoother?
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Old November 30th, 2007, 11:35 PM   #6
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Hi Charles, yes that was the first thing that I noticed, there is a slight improvement in smoothness, some of the shots that I've been getting are quite amazing, but having said that I'm upgrading to the Pilot next month and will only be using the Merlin for quick hand held shots from now on.
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Old December 1st, 2007, 01:28 AM   #7
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Good for you Nick, I'm sure you are going to be absolutely thrilled with it. Your Merlin skills will make you a bang-on operator with the Pilot.
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Old December 1st, 2007, 09:57 AM   #8
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Another Merlin in Juneau huh? no kidding.

Gabe, the an Arm & Vest system have a new learning curve as the way you walk for example is slightly different - or rather has more effect - with a vest system. It does of course take the weight, so physically it's much less tiring .. so in the long run, once you get good, it's much easier to concentrate on the shots and not on carrying the rig.

But get proficiant with the Merlin first, all you learn with it will apply with the arm too.


Once I'm back in town (not sure when yet) I can give you a try in the Archer if you are interested in trying on a larger Arm & Vest system.

- Mikko
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Old December 1st, 2007, 05:35 PM   #9
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Nick / Charles

Is the Merlin with the arm/vest as easy to operate for left-handers?

i.e. can you hold the main handle with the left-hand, without the arm getting in the way at all?
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Old December 1st, 2007, 06:39 PM   #10
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There is no problem with either left or right handed operation, however with the Merlin not having a monitor It's better operating on the right side so you can see the camera's LCD monitor better, left hand giding and right hand on the gimbal, this is opposite to hand held-operating the gimbal with the left hand.
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Old December 1st, 2007, 07:36 PM   #11
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Im right handed and i'm considering moving the arm to the left side so the arm is out of the way of my right arm, which is the arm I use to control the merlin... The steadicam arm keeps bumping into my elbow....
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Old December 1st, 2007, 07:43 PM   #12
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I'm right handed as well, keep your elbow elevated out of the way, just a matter of practice. The arm should be mounted on the left side/operated on right for better view of the monitor.
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Old December 1st, 2007, 08:27 PM   #13
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I'm right handed but moved the arm to the left after a few months.... I find it much easier to use now. Had it on for 4 hours straight thursday.... even took of the arm/cam/merlin and drove my car wearing the vest to another location..... probably not a good idea but it was not to bad.

FYI.... I wore a sweater that the velcro was fond of... not a good idea.... made putting the vest on and off difficult.
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Old December 1st, 2007, 09:47 PM   #14
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Thanks for all the info. Good stuff guys! I love all the info you can get on this site......gives you a good leg up on what you need to know.

Mikko, yeah, I had a decent year this year, and 'had' to make some purchases before the end of the year for tax write off purposes. The Merlin is something I KNOW can give a new dimension to shooting, so we're adding another Merlin to the mix here in Juneau. Should be fun times.......do you have to worry about the Merlin rusting in the rain?...j/k.
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