Merlin metal gimbal too frictionless??? at DVinfo.net

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Old September 9th, 2009, 09:14 AM   #1
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Merlin metal gimbal too frictionless???

i bought a Merlin this summer (lightly used demo model) with the plastic gimbal. i spent many hours getting it balanced with a HV30 (Canon WA lens/Canon DM-50 mic/XHA1 hood/nb2l-24 battery) and practicing ALOT. It worked great, but i read that the metal gimbal was smoother and could hold more weight (i also have an XHA1) so i ordered it.
i have spent a long long time balancing it as perfect as possible with the new gimbal, but it still rocks and swims slightly even when holding it perfectly still, and when i'm in motion it seems WAY too sensitive and i really have to work to keep it level. i've tried making it really bottom heavy to top heavy and everything in between, but it just won't sit still. i've actually switched back to the plastic gimbal! it seems that the less friction-free plastic gimbal yields better results and will naturally stay level.
i think my technique and balance are good, so could the gimbal be defective?
has anyone else tried both gimbals and found this to be the case?
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Old September 11th, 2009, 12:31 PM   #2
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Brian,

I know that the more frictionless gimbal will be harder to balance but will work better when it is. The reason it's harder to balance is that if anything is out of balance the better gimbal will show it.

Have you checked to make sure your metal gimbal is OK? Since no stabilizer is made in heaven, there's always a possibility of a defect.

It looks like you have done a lot of practice and trial and error. How does the thing move when holding still? Does it pendulum (bottom moving back and forth) when moving? The pendulum effect is caused by a bottom heavy rig while a top heavy rig will be almost impossible to balance. 1.5 to 2.5 second drop time works well for many of us.


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Old September 11th, 2009, 12:35 PM   #3
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Hi Brian, I have flown the A1 on a merlin metal gimbal very well. It must be the balancing. HAve you tried the side to side and fore and aft movements in a fast manner? It will tell if the balance is right. If the bottom seems to rock, it is too bottom heavy.

Aslo, take note the no of turns on the part that connects the gimbal to the stage.
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Old September 15th, 2009, 01:09 AM   #4
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thanks for your responses.
i'm going to put in another couple of hours with it to see if i can get it right. i work in situations that are run and gun, so i may have to stick with the gimbal that is most quickly stabilized and is better with a breeze... but i would hope that i could balance the metal gimbal perfectly and quickly... i'll post results either way!
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Old September 23rd, 2009, 09:23 AM   #5
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I just received my Merlin yesterday and want to make sure I'm getting off on the right foot balancing the XHA1.
Using the Steadicam stand I can get the bubble level even. It seems that when I take it off the stand, move around with it, and then put it back on the stand it is no longer level. I won't have time to really dig into it untils this weekend, but is that something anyone has seen before? Any suggestions on what I'm doing wrong?

I watched videos and read anything I could find before I got it, but there's nothing like trying to ge this thing right in hand....lol
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Old October 2nd, 2009, 05:48 AM   #6
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in my experience, the plastic gimbal has a bit of friction, and sometimes when you move the handle to different angles it 'sticks' a little and the bubble is slightly out of level. if you give the handle a quick, small shake, it moves back to level...
that said, it seems that is impossible to keep 'perfect' level in motion, and the bubble will always move around, but will return to level more or less...
by the way, i could not get the metal gimbal into a satisfactory balance after many many hours spent, and have switched back permanently to the plastic gimbal, which i can level and control really intuitively... if i wasn't in Burundi i would send it back to Tiffen for analysis...
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Old October 2nd, 2009, 03:47 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by John Ray View Post
Using the Steadicam stand I can get the bubble level even. It seems that when I take it off the stand, move around with it, and then put it back on the stand it is no longer level. I won't have time to really dig into it untils this weekend, but is that something anyone has seen before? Any suggestions on what I'm doing wrong?
The bolt that connects the QR plate to the camera has a very small bit of play in the QR hole. The locating pin also has some play in the camera's hole. Taken together, everytime you pick up the camera, it will shift on the QR plate just enough to throw off the balance.

Try shimming the locating pin for a tight fit in the camera's hole, and also shim the camera mounting bolt so it won't move in the QR plate.
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Old October 4th, 2009, 07:49 PM   #8
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I don't have either, nor have I used either - just lurking trying to decide what to do/buy/invest in, but just in the general "for what it's worth" category, remember Charles Papert noting that in his evaluation of the Blackbird that the addition of the ability to add some friction to the gimbal made it actually easier to ue than the Merlin (or words to that effect). He noted that the result seemed counter intuitive, yet appears to hold true. May explain the original posters preference for the plastic gimbal.
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Old October 5th, 2009, 09:49 AM   #9
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i've had my Merlin and Arm/Vest for about two weeks now and have used it on gigs twice...The second one went a lot smoother than the first..and i"m sure the next one will be even better..i'm getting more comfortable using it...running around inside and outside the house has helped..lol. Mine rocked a lot too until I got some advice on a similiar setup and starting tweaking from there. Now it's pretty solid and behaves the way I see it done in the video demos. After that just practicing and getting used to it has made the most difference
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