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Old May 2nd, 2010, 08:37 PM   #1
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recipe for merlin and rode mics?

Hello,
Just purchased the merlin and was wondering if anyone has had any success flying with the canon T2i and a rode mic. I managed to balance pretty easily with the kit lens alone, but when adding the mic I'm not having much luck. Any recipes out there? Thanks in advance.
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Old May 3rd, 2010, 04:12 AM   #2
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Canon T2i/550D and Steadicam Merlin with Rode VidoMics

I don't have a recipe for you but both the plastic Rode VideoMic and, especially, the much heavier Rode Stereo VideoMic will significantly increase the top heaviness on a Merlin from what I've learnt already flying my 7D on one (as yet without these mics attached - I have both mics so at some point I'll try that!). I'd expect this to be even more dramatic with a light 550D/T2i.

If you're having problems maybe approach the problem from "the other way up" and start out with the Spar somewhere close to being fully extended and several mid-weights on it (3?) so that it's very bottom heavy. Get the Merlin plates hole position identified (trial and error I'm afraid if no recipe out there) and then the Forward/Aft & L/R trims sorted so it sits level. It should now be a VERY heavy but hopefully stable Steadicam and have a fast fall time - well under a second - due to the excessive bottom heaviness. Maybe add a mid weight (as well as a needed start weight) at the Spars elbow to allow the rig to be better balanced Fore/Aft to level as needed/give it more stability.

Then work on reducing the Spar angle to raise the center of gravity and, depending on how that goes, taking one of the bottom weights off etc...fine tune with the half weights if needed. Fore/Aft trimming will be needed at every step - stop and assess, then move on until you feel you've gone too far - and you'll know! I'm no (at least not yet!!!) expert with Merlin Steadicams and Canon DSLRs but that's how I'd approach the problem with my own Steadicam 7D setup. Only when you're super close would I start to play around with the adjustment - just at the gimbal - which manipulates the centre of gravity/top heaviness to bottom heaviness further, and then only if needed.

The other thing to bear in mind is that with both the VM and the SVM, especially if they have deadcats on, will increase the susceptibility of the rig to catch the wind so it may be (even) more difficult to fly in slightly breezy conditions. Also, make sure the mics cable is well secured as you don't want that flapping around screwing up the trim (the VM has some great little cable hooks - brilliantly thought out thing for that).

Have fun!
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Old May 3rd, 2010, 08:50 AM   #3
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Thanks for the info Andy!
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