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Old January 15th, 2008, 09:58 PM   #1
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Steadicam Merlin Arm & Vest Footage

Here's a short compilation of shots from some recent jobs. It will be deleted in a couple of days. http://www.vimeo.com/611738
Comments welcome. I will be moving on to the Steadicam Pilot as soon as the upgrade path becomes available. I would really like to see some footage from someone with a Pilot.
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Old January 15th, 2008, 11:10 PM   #2
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Looks really smooth! I can't wait to get a vest of my own.
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Old January 16th, 2008, 12:00 AM   #3
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Nick, I have a funny feeling this is just the beginning of a really promising career in Steadicam--I think your days on the wedding circuit are numbered, mate (in a good way). Anyone who is that deft with a Merlin is going to kick some serious ass with a bigger rig. You are going to be delighted with your Pilot, I'm quite sure. I didn't record anything to tape the times that I've played with the Pilot but as you've read elsewhere I'm a big fan--it feels very much like the big rigs but with that delightful lack of weight (!) whereas I find the Merlin a bit fiddly--it's a great system, don't get me wrong, but it's its own skill.

Your framing instincts are so good that I hate to say anything at all, but--you could probably be a little less generous with the headroom on some shots (toasting by the cake at 1:00 for instance).

Seriously though--bravo, I'll keep watching!
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Old January 16th, 2008, 02:02 AM   #4
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Thanks Charles, will take note of the head room. I agree, the Merlin is very fiddly and no where near as forgiving as a Flyer rig. BTW I will be doing the 5 day Melbourne Steadicam workshop headed by Luis Puli & Phil Balsdon next week, should be tons of fun. I am also making plans to invest in an Archer or possibly a Clipper 2 rig before the end of the year, the bug gave me a great big bite -)
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Old January 16th, 2008, 02:32 AM   #5
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there you go then!

Say hi to Luis for me--haven't seen him in years. Enjoy the workshop, I know you will!
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Old January 16th, 2008, 06:31 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by Nick Tsamandanis View Post
Comments welcome. I will be moving on to the Steadicam Pilot as soon as the upgrade path becomes available.
It looks very good!

Can you tell us the details of what you had on the Merlin?
Camera
Mic
Accessories
Focus setting on Camera

I have the Merlin and am getting the arm and vest. Can you tell me what you mean by fiddly?

Charles, too, can you describe it? I can guess, but would like to hear from someone about it. And then, with the same camera (for example, XHA1, will the Pilot be more "solid"? less fiddly?

Say you want to follow ballroom dancers around on a dance floor... moderate speeds, nothing wild. Could it be done confidently with a Merlin on an arm? A Pilot? Obviously the answer is in the doing, but what is your impression based on your use of the Merlin and Pilot.

I am working on a specific projet, and we are looking for different ways to shoot some dynamic things that have heretofore been shot statically.

The near decision is whether to get the arm and vest for the Merlin then upgrade, or just go straight to the pilot. (Ease of overseas travel light is also a consideration.)

Thanks for any thoughts.
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Old January 16th, 2008, 06:44 AM   #7
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Sony FX1 with large battery + Sony 10/20 light with large battery (same as the one on the FX1), widest zoom setting. I think that the Merlin is totally capable, but you have to concentrate very hard on keeping that light touch all the time. Having used the Flyer at a 2 day workshop a year ago, it felt like a tank compared to the Merlin. Extra weight does make a difference. When I get the Pilot I will be maxing it out all the time with the extra weights for the added stability.
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Old January 16th, 2008, 07:47 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nick Tsamandanis View Post
Here's a short compilation of shots from some recent jobs. It will be deleted in a couple of days. http://www.vimeo.com/611738
Comments welcome. I will be moving on to the Steadicam Pilot as soon as the upgrade path becomes available. I would really like to see some footage from someone with a Pilot.
Holy smokes that second reception was dark. Makes me want to go home and eat with my eyes closed. hehe. What light were you running, good thing you had it. Good job not falling in the pool too.

I liked the shots, I just bought my pilot this month, I plan to enlist it in a wedding in February, after much practice and a little mod done to the sled.
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Old January 16th, 2008, 08:44 AM   #9
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I agree with what Charles said. Beautiful work, and I'm sure you'll keep moving up. I stand by the same sentiments, just with a little bit less weight behind me saying it than Mr. Papert, Steadicam Pro. =D

Carl
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Old January 16th, 2008, 12:56 PM   #10
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Jack:

For me, the lightness of the Merlin and the two-finger control of the post is what contributes to the "fiddliness"...also I find it a bit challenging to work the vernier controls for the top stage. Yes, it's a big difference when flying a camera like the A1 vs the HV20, say, it help quiet down the rig considerably. In comparison though, the expanded inertia of the Pilot design is a world of difference. I thought I liked the Flyer but I LOVE the Pilot.

You are likely very close to the Steadicam factory in Glendale, just head on down San Fernando road and look for the building with the big "Steadicam" on the side! They have a demo room there, give them a call and see if you can't come down and try out the Pilot for yourself which might help sway things for you.

Hey Nick, didn't realize you had already taken a 2-day workshop! That's cheating! (only kidding). Good to hear you are investing in your craft, it's a great way to go. Changed everything for me (way back in '85!)
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Old January 16th, 2008, 10:35 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Charles Papert View Post
Jack:
You are likely very close to the Steadicam factory in Glendale, just head on down San Fernando road and look for the building with the big "Steadicam" on the side! They have a demo room there, give them a call and see if you can't come down and try out the Pilot for yourself which might help sway things for you.
Thank you for your responses.

Yes, I have been to Steadicam and tried on the vest and arm. It's what convinced me to buy it.

Probably I will get the vest and arm for the Merlin (and get the metal gimbal), then upgrade to the Pilot.

I am making one trip I know of this summer where I don't think I can carry the Pilot but can take the vest, arm and Merlin.

I was first amazed by the Merlin, compared to other handheld options I have and/or had tried. Then I was double amazed when I tried the vest and arm. I think this is a case where you get 2-4 times value for the 2-4 times price of competing products.
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