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Old May 3rd, 2009, 07:06 AM   #16
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Originally Posted by Marcus Martell View Post
So i really don't know how to have it shipped in Spain...

:(
Marcus, just go their website and order it and they will ship it to you. That simple.
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Last edited by Charles King; May 3rd, 2009 at 04:29 PM.
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Old May 3rd, 2009, 02:20 PM   #17
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Thanks Charles.

Marcus, just so you understand, if you place an order you can select from multiple shipping methods to get the cost including shipping charges. This is what your credit card is charged. But when you receive the product you will also have to pay import duty and VAT. To the best of my knowledge for Spain the import duty will be 3.7% and the VAT will be 16%. Also, I believe the VAT will be applied to the product cost plus the shipping cost plus the import duty. So I believe you will have to pay more than 20% additional over what your credit card was charged when you placed the order.

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Old May 3rd, 2009, 04:34 PM   #18
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Rich... the gyro seems like a phenomenal idea, especially for novices....Do you feel comfortable giving some projected time tables and rough pricing estimates ? (kind of on the order like "maybe 2010" for shipping and "is it bigger than a breadbox" kinda info on pricing?)
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Old May 3rd, 2009, 09:23 PM   #19
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When and how much?

Chris, Of course many people have asked us those questions (my wife mainly the when, like when am I going to stop squandering our money on it), and I usually give the same answer... I don't know. At NAB 2008 I was fairly certain we would be there by NAB 2009. Didn't happen. Well, we let a number of people fly the latest GS2 with the 5DMII, pretty cool, but the rushed show prototype had a nasty pan response and we didn't have time to fix it before the show (there shouldn't be any significant pan response).

We have made significant progress and have some nice motor/flywheel and control technology that is proprietary and not mentioned in our original patent disclosure. Efficiency and battery life is right on target, along with startup time (only a sensorless BLCD motor guru would appreciate the fact that we can reliably start and spin up each half pound flywheel to 18,000 rpm in about 60 sec.) We now get a full 2 hours of operation with 6 AA NiMh batteries on the GS2, and it's little brother which we left at the hotel for NAB can run a remarkable 4 hours. We are very close to our flywheel imbalance goal. We are a long way from our noise goal. And most importantly we need to improve structural design and overall manufactureability for reasons I won't go into. Not to mention it's too heavy.

The potential performance achieved in the lab so to speak, goes something like this. Wobbly shots when stabilizer movements are not too nasty, such as moving forward from dead stop to walking pace (or reverse) are essentially gone regardless of operator skill. You do have to fight the gyros to tilt or roll the camera , but as long as you're not trying to change tilt or roll too quickly you get a decent response. You can pan essentially freely. And wind up to perhaps 20 mph or more depending on camera profile is handled fairly well. When the camera does get off level a little say in roll, it takes a number of seconds perhaps 3 to 6 secs for 10 degrees to come back to level depending on the vertical drop time set unless you force it (slow roll rates are not nearly as noticeable to our brains which are otherwise exquisitly sensitive to, and annoyed by, any visual field roll). Yes, drop time is a factor in how the gyros control the rig.

OK, here are the best uncomfortable answers I can provide.

My target selling price for a handheld gyro dynamic stabilizer is two to three times the cost of a Blackbird. Release by NAB 2010? I hope so, but my track record is not very good.

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Old May 3rd, 2009, 09:49 PM   #20
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Originally Posted by Rich Greb View Post
My target selling price for a handheld gyro dynamic stabilizer is two to three times the cost of a Blackbird. Release by NAB 2010? I hope so, but my track record is not very good.

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Exactly the kind of response I was looking for. Thank you very much....

Chris
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Old May 4th, 2009, 12:06 AM   #21
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Now that is has descriptive has it can get. Thanks for that candid info
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Old May 4th, 2009, 08:51 AM   #22
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Merlin is an awesome piece, but it doesn't work for me now,
I have blackbird and pilot, i shoot weddings mostly and i shoot with EX1;
when there is no room, or time for the full rig, my blackbird can handle ex1, BPu30, WA lens and on camera light, i can't hold it straight for more than 20 sec. , but 20 sec is all i need:)
YouTube - CK
for the stripped Z1 Merlin works great, I used to fly this combo for a while,
but when you'll start to add things to the setup you will go over the merlin's capacity.
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Old July 7th, 2009, 06:40 AM   #23
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My Blackbird experience to date...

I've had my Blackbird since April 09 - to use with my Canon XHA1. My experience is that any stabilizer is a tool - you still need to put in the hours (alas!). I'm sure I don't need to tell that to anyone on this forum!!

Even with my limited practice the XHA1/Blackbird combo works really well and I'm glad I bought it. It's manageable for longish periods of time with the XHA1. Once set up you can dismount the camera from the Blackbird to use handheld or on a tripod, then remount on the Blackbird and get going again in seconds. That's valuable. I haven't used it in anger but I'm limbering up to do a couple of music related videos with it in September onwards, and have every confidence in it.

While I was considering my purchase, I looked at all the videos which demonstrated stabilizers. However, many of them are slowed down, which didn't actually help me to see exactly what the stabilizer was doing to the camera shots.

Last night I shot some footage comparing the XHA1 handheld and with the Blackbird, and I hope people find it useful to see the difference. I find the XHA1 difficult to hold steady handheld but I like the pictures it can produce. Apologies to the highly professional level of people who inhabit this site, but even having only spent about 4 hours in total so far using the Blackbird, I decided to share this with you - not because it's even vaguely perfect, but because it shows a straightforward comparison between Handheld and stabilized so you can see the effect without and with the stabilizer, and that's the sort of video I really wanted to see when I was thinking about what to purchase.

If you click the "more info" link on right of the YouTube page, you'll see more about each of the four "shots". I hope people find it useful:

YouTube - Canon XHA1 handheld & with Blackbird stabilizer comparison test

Last edited by Mark Harmer; July 7th, 2009 at 11:45 AM.
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Old July 7th, 2009, 08:36 PM   #24
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I've been able to use both stabilizers and I prefer the Blackbird over the Merlin. I found the Merlin at best OK.

The Blackbird has the advantage over the Merlin in having a shorter setup time, much higher inertia, better stabilization with light cameras, and value for money is no contest. It goes squarely to the Blackbird.

My favorite feature of the Blackbird is the friction control on the gimbal. It is great to be able to add a little friction when you want to use a flick of the wrist to make subtle changes to where the camera is pointing or to tame excess movement if there is a light breeze. It won't overcome the affects of real wind though. Wind is the bane of any stabilizer in this weight class and there just isn't much we can do about it.

So... I've got a wedding to shoot this weekend. The Blackbird is what I'm taking with me.
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Old July 7th, 2009, 08:50 PM   #25
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Wind is the bane of any stabilizer in this weight class and there just isn't much we can do about it.
Doesn't help with weddings much but in a production situation, you can have someone hold a 4x4 double net alongside the rig to great effect as a windblock (net rather than solid, it baffles without creating a vortex for wind to zip around). This works well for full-size rigs and for the little ones that have a lesser footprint, it should work beautifully.
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Old July 7th, 2009, 09:07 PM   #26
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Doesn't help with weddings much but in a production situation, you can have someone hold a 4x4 double net alongside the rig to great effect as a windblock (net rather than solid, it baffles without creating a vortex for wind to zip around). This works well for full-size rigs and for the little ones that have a lesser footprint, it should work beautifully.
Now that is an excellent tip Charles! That one is going in the book for sure. We have a training video to shoot this summer and its entirely outside. This tip could help out a LOT. I'll be using the Pilot for it though. The EX1 plus a wireless is just to heavy for me to hand hold on a stabilizer for long.
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Old July 7th, 2009, 10:48 PM   #27
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It's an oldie but a goodie.

If you have the equipment and manpower, it is even better if you have two guys each with a 4x4 to double the size of the windblock. And if the wind is coming right at the lens, have them make a V with the two 4x4's behind you, this creates a sort of buffer zone that minimizes the effects of the wind.
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Old July 21st, 2009, 08:33 PM   #28
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Received Blackbird in a nice package two days ago. Will be messing around with it. So far, the initial test with the 5D2 seems pretty good. I will be trying it out with the EX1 and Canon Xh-A1. Will keep you guys posted.
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Old August 10th, 2009, 03:06 AM   #29
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My Blackbird arrived today over here in Australia.
It's built pretty good and packaged up nicely indeed.

Flying a little Sony HDV A1 with wide angle straight up.
Try it with my FX1 next.
Came with a DVD too on setting up and tips.

It's good value for money if you ask me.
Good work Rich and co.
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Old August 15th, 2009, 06:13 AM   #30
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Just came back from a shoot with the Blackbird n 5D2. We had a 5D2 setup with both a Glidecam HD4000 and a Blackbird. The Blackbird works better with less potential to pan. The use of the added friction also reduces roll and tilt. It is also lighter due to the design.

I wished the Bird could stand on its own like the Glidecam, and to have a clamp type mounting plate.
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