What stabilization is recommended for 7D at DVinfo.net

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Old September 18th, 2009, 11:27 AM   #1
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What stabilization is recommended for 7D

New to stabilization in general, I'm wondering what most 5Dmii users like to use and what the 7D community will continue/start to use?
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Old September 20th, 2009, 11:59 AM   #2
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So far I had the best experience with the CMR Blackbird. I flew the 7D on a merlin today but it is not easy.
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Old September 20th, 2009, 04:45 PM   #3
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I would argue that while the form factor of these cameras allow them to be flown on handheld stabilizers, there are many other factors in play.

For applications such as wedding/event use, where a handheld stabilizer is quicker and easier to work with rather than having to shlep/don a vest/arm equipped setup, I am hearing anecdotally that the handheld rigs are a good choice. I too would suggest the Blackbird and the Merlin.

These cameras have gained popularity because of their light sensitivity and shallow depth of field. However, when using them without any kind of remote lens control, you are unable to take advantage of the shallow depth of field (you have to set the lens at a fixed focus and/or shoot at a fat stop). Most are using extremely wide angles with their stabilizer/5D shots. This will improve a bit with the 7D as it is not as shallow, so you can use somewhat longer focal lengths before focus becomes an issue. Ultimately, affordable remote focus controls will be the hardware solution to all this, and one such product is due to hit the market relatively soon (the Hocus Focus). I call this specifically a "hardware solution" because the job of pulling focus on a moving camera especially with the incredibly shallow DOF of the 5D is a practiced skill. A remote unit such as the HoFo will add a certain amount of weight and bulk to the camera which will likely push it over the edge for handheld stabilizers.

Another issue is the relatively small, fixed viewfinder. Because stabilizers allow one to rotate the camera independently of the body, viewing can be tricky. A stabilizer that has an outboard monitor such as the Steadicam Pilot improves this issue considerably, and allows you to use your peripheral vision better for navigating your feet around. Another boon of a system with a monitor is that there will also be a battery onboard which can be tapped to power the remote focus system, eliminating the need to carry a separate battery.

So in a nutshell--for simple, wide angle and quick shots, handheld units like the Blackbird and Merlin will do the trick, but to really take advantage of the filmmaking possibilities represented by these cameras, a body-mounted system with remote focus will be the way to go.
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Old September 20th, 2009, 07:23 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by Charles Papert View Post
Ultimately, affordable remote focus controls will be the hardware solution to all this, and one such product is due to hit the market relatively soon (the Hocus Focus). I call this specifically a "hardware solution" because the job of pulling focus on a moving camera especially with the incredibly shallow DOF of the 5D is a practiced skill.
In other words, if you have a really good assistant cameraman, then you''ll probably want the Steadicam Pilot, a light rail system, the Hocus Focus wireless follow focus, and an inexpensive wireless video system. Together with the 7D, you should be able to get cinematic type shots with this combination.

If you shoot mostly by yourself, then you'll probably want a handheld stabilizer. I've heard good things about the Blackbird.
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Old September 20th, 2009, 11:54 PM   #5
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I used the 7D to take advantage of the wide angle options and light weight. As Charles said, the 7D's APS-C is slightly easier to handle over the 5D2 with a wide lens under good lighting.

I choose to use a handheld solution as it is very quick and easy for shooting a wedding alone .
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Old September 21st, 2009, 04:33 AM   #6
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How long before your arm starts to feel like it needs a rest?
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Old September 21st, 2009, 07:30 AM   #7
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anyone had tried the blackbird with the merlin arm & west? with the 5dmII & blackbird, can I mount a lightweight monitor on the rear of the 5d with rails? I think the weight limits of the blackbird can allow this.
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Old September 22nd, 2009, 09:55 AM   #8
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I tried it with the pilot arm and vest but the connection is a little loose. CMR has an adapter for this purpose but I'm not sure if it works well as I have not had the chance to try it.

I can use the 5D/7D on a blackbird and merlin for quite a while. I dun even know how long it is. Its very manageable really. As compared to flying an XH-A1, Z5, HMC-150 for example.
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Old November 5th, 2009, 08:14 AM   #9
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Which one Sean? Merlin or Blackbird

Sean,

I can see you own both Blackbird and Merlin... which do you prefer when flying the 7D at weddings?

I tried merlin briefly but it was a pain to balance, not sure if Blackbird is any better for just 6 or 7 quick shots while filming at weddings?

Does the long length cause problems with low steady shots with Blackbird?

thanks

Steve
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Old November 13th, 2009, 10:08 AM   #10
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a little OT but...

have any of you tried the Balckbird with a Flip HD? Is it heavy enough?
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Old November 19th, 2009, 07:03 AM   #11
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Sean,

I can see you own both Blackbird and Merlin... which do you prefer when flying the 7D at weddings?

I tried merlin briefly but it was a pain to balance, not sure if Blackbird is any better for just 6 or 7 quick shots while filming at weddings?

Does the long length cause problems with low steady shots with Blackbird?

thanks

Steve
Definately an issue on the blackbird for lowmode. its just too long but similar compared to GLidecam HD2000. MErlin has the best boom range but it is really not easy to maintain balance for longer shots like the Blackbird.
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Old April 13th, 2010, 10:17 PM   #12
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I've not seen a blackbird or glidecam first hand, just how tall is the blackbird? I'm looking for a stabilizer for the 7D and am considering the blackbird. The plan is to follow subjects walking through a game field (trails, grass, hopefully not too much brush) where I wonder if the T-bar would be a problem.
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Old April 14th, 2010, 02:44 AM   #13
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Mike, the blackbird's T bar can be in any plane.. it does not need to be perpendicular to the stage so I think it is workable. Its doesnt rock as easily as a Glidecam but its quite a pain in between shoots. They now have some kinda support that allows an SLR to sit on top without removing it but I wouldnt do it if i have a heay L lens on the SLR.
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Old April 14th, 2010, 09:08 AM   #14
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Sean, why do you say it is a pain between shoots? Are you referring to when you take the camera on and off the plate? Or does it get unbalanced when you set it down? I saw pictures of it set on the ground.
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Old April 14th, 2010, 11:49 PM   #15
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Of all the improvements we have made to the Blackbird since it's introduction just about 1 year ago, the RESTING STAND is certainly the most desired by users. Whether you are flying a light or heavy cam, you can flip up the resting stand and set the Blackbird down on any reasonably flat surface (like my gently sloping front yard as shown in the pic on our website). It does not lose it's balance. We've been showing it all week here at NAB.

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Last edited by Rich Greb; April 14th, 2010 at 11:59 PM. Reason: added company name
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