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Old July 20th, 2008, 10:56 PM   #1
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SteadiCam question

Well after months of being blown away by the steadycam work here on DVi, I have decided to buy one. Now my question is...which one?

I have an A1 and two HV 30s and if possible I would like a rig that worked with both cameras. If not, then the A1 is the priority. I have zero experience and want to get a "user friendly" rig. Also, is there a clear advantage to the whole vest apparatus? I'm sure the shots are sweet, but it just looks like a bit much for a wedding. I may be wrong.

I would really appreciate your feedback. I am totally open minded to whatever. If I need to spend big bucks, I will. If I can get good shots with say a Glidecam 4000 or a Manfroto 585 that would be even better.

Thanks for all of your help.
Evan
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Old July 20th, 2008, 11:34 PM   #2
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Hi Evan, I would recommend starting off with the Steadicam Merlin, when you have built up your skill level you could upgrade to the arm and vest if you require longer shots. Alternatively there is also the more expensive Steadicam Pilot, but no option for hand held shots with that. Both use the same patented Iso-elastic arm which outclasses everything in it's weight range.
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Old July 21st, 2008, 12:43 PM   #3
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Hi Evan, funny thing is I am in the same position, I have an A1 and decided on the Merlin as many people have recomended it in these forums.

I just ordered it a couple of days ago and I am anxiously waiting for it to arrive so I can try it out.

I will let you know how it goes, but from the info I have gathered from here it is probably the best bet. Cant wait to try it

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Old July 21st, 2008, 02:19 PM   #4
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Great. I'll look into the Merlin.

Thanks
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Old July 21st, 2008, 02:44 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Evan Lloyd View Post
Well after months of being blown away by the steadycam work here on DVi, I have decided to buy one. Now my question is...which one?

I have an A1 and two HV 30s and if possible I would like a rig that worked with both cameras. If not, then the A1 is the priority. I have zero experience and want to get a "user friendly" rig. Also, is there a clear advantage to the whole vest apparatus? I'm sure the shots are sweet, but it just looks like a bit much for a wedding. I may be wrong.

I would really appreciate your feedback. I am totally open minded to whatever. If I need to spend big bucks, I will. If I can get good shots with say a Glidecam 4000 or a Manfroto 585 that would be even better.

Thanks for all of your help.
Evan
I was thinking the exact same thing to myself all this past month. I bought the Glidecam 4000 last week and shot a wedding with it this weekend. I did not trust myself with brand new equipment to put on of my two primary cameras on it, so I stuck my little Panasonic GS320 emergency cam on it. I have not logged the footage yet, but from the feel of it and from the viewfinder, I can tell you everything was far far far too dark for that cheap little camera to get much usable footage.

Part of my problem is the Glidecam 4000 is far to heavy on the bottom for use with a GS320. I strapped the weights to the underside of the camera rather than on the bottom of the glidecam where they are supposed to go! And that barely got a 1 second drop time. When I put the GL2 on it, I can get a 2-3 second drop time.

I also shot my first Save The Date Saturday, but for that I strapped one of the GL2s to it and the other was on a tripod. For that shoot I felt much much better about using the Glidecam. Hopefully that footage will turn out amazing. I'll be logging all that footage today some time.

I went with Glidecam purely for price reasons. This new equipment was not in the budget but wanted to try it any way, so I went with the cheapest device that gets professional results (that eliminates all the DIY stuff and the u-fly from India).

One thing to be aware of is that the Glidecams are stinking heavy (operated with out the $1500 vest & arm). I cannot hold it for more than 30 seconds, so none of my clips are any longer than that. This means (for me) that I need two cameras in order to make use of it (unless I swap my tripods for Bogen heads so I can make use of the quick release receivers).
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Old July 21st, 2008, 02:52 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by Nick Tsamandanis View Post
Hi Evan, I would recommend starting off with the Steadicam Merlin, when you have built up your skill level you could upgrade to the arm and vest if you require longer shots. Alternatively there is also the more expensive Steadicam Pilot, but no option for hand held shots with that. Both use the same patented Iso-elastic arm which outclasses everything in it's weight range.
The Merlin can take an arm & vest? That is news to me. I thought it was a stand along system! Interesting. I'll have to check into that.
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Old July 21st, 2008, 03:05 PM   #7
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http://www.dvinfo.net/articles/camsu...linvestarm.php
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Old July 21st, 2008, 03:13 PM   #8
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I was more surprised because I haven't seen video footage of the merlin being used with an arm & vest. I now notice the paragraph further down the Steadicam site where the arm & vest is mentioned. Is an arm & vest offered as a convenience but not exactly what the merlin was designed for? Seems like it was primarily designed for hand held use.
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Old July 21st, 2008, 03:20 PM   #9
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the arm and vest were designed for the Merlin so it can be used either way. Check out Nick T's posts. He used a Merlin with arm and vest before jumping to the Pilot. Great stuff!

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Old July 21st, 2008, 08:04 PM   #10
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Thanks Don. Jason, the arm and vest is a great addition to the Merlin, not just for convenience, it allows you to step up to another level. Once you get over the learning curve you can do some amazing stuff. Arm & vest in action here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lkTQotLnos4. BTW the learning curve of the Merlin is quite different to the traditional Steadicam design. Gimbal control is totally different. Being good at one won't necessarily make you good at the other.
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Old July 21st, 2008, 10:13 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by Evan Lloyd View Post
I would really appreciate your feedback. I am totally open minded to whatever. If I need to spend big bucks, I will. If I can get good shots with say a Glidecam 4000 or a Manfroto 585 that would be even better.
I think the best rig for the XH-A1 would be the Steadicam Pilot. At $4000, this is the lowest priced Steadicam brand system that has all the basic elements of their larger rigs (i.e. vest, arm, and sled with monitor and batteries).

Having the monitor on the bottom makes a big difference. You can point the lens forward, backward, or anywhere in between and still see the monitor easily. Also, it's really good to be able to see the ground you are walking on.

Think of it this way: The Canon A1, Panasonic HVX200, and Sony EX1 all have the potential to make your project look almost like film. The Steadicam Pilot was made for these cameras. In addition, 5 years from now we'll probably have cameras in this range that have specs like the Red1. Your camera has a short life span. But the Steadicam is a longer term investment. It will last through many cameras.

What's more, this investment isn't just money, but time. It takes some time to learn how to get the most out of a Steadicam. So you might as well start off with one that you'll use for a while.
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Old July 21st, 2008, 11:47 PM   #12
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Yes to all that, however from a practical point of view, and having owned both (recently sold arm & vest), in the case of wedding videography you will still need the Merlin sans arm & vest many times for those quick shots. I still do a lot of stuff with just the Merlin for reasons of time/practicality.
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Old July 22nd, 2008, 01:11 AM   #13
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(recently sold arm & vest)
How much were you able to sell the arm and vest for, if you don't mind saying. Thanks!
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Old July 22nd, 2008, 06:50 AM   #14
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Around $2200. Here it costs $2700 - $3000
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