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Old February 12th, 2011, 08:37 AM   #1
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Steadicam Merlin Recipe for Canon T2i

Hi

I'm having real problems balancing this thing! I'm using the Canon T2i with a Tokina 11-16 lens. There's no recipe settings for it online and I haven't got close yet, it's very frustrating. Any help would be much appreciated.

In terms of the vest you can buy for it, does that remove the need to rebalance the thing all the time?
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Old February 19th, 2011, 04:28 AM   #2
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The vest basically just takes the strain off your arm. With an Steadicam you do need to check balance before every shot but it's normally just a question of a little tweak here & there to set it right. When I first had a Merlin I was almost in tears of frustration after a couple of days of trying to get it balanced with an XHA1. Eventually it 'clicked' & I was able to get the balance pretty quickly. Of course I couldn't fly it very long without the vest as that camera is really too heavy for comfort on a hand held stabiliser (or maybe I'm just not strong enough:-). If at all possible get help from someone who is experienced with a Merlin.
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Old February 22nd, 2011, 03:55 AM   #3
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Re: Steadicam Merlin Recipe for Canon T2i

Adam,

Add the bottom and finishing weights according to what the guide book recommends for the weight of you setup. Then mount the bottom plate so it's center is a close to the center of gravity of the camera as possible. Open up the spar to about half way and leave about half the threads of the guide above the grip exposed.

Center the gimbal to about the middle of the Merlin's mounting platform both fore and aft and left to right. I find it helpful to put a screwdriver in a grip head and slide the hanle of the Merlin on to it. So get the Merlin pretty well balanced all by its self, esp. left to right (fore and aft will be greatly affected by your setup's weight).

Place the camera setup on the Merlin's mounting platform and try to balance as well as possible by just sliding the camera fore or aft.

Now adjust try to get the camera to balance left to right by adjusting the rear guide screw. Really pay attention the direction you are turning the screw and look at the arrows on it. Adjust the side fore/aft screw in the same manner.

Adjust the spar and if need be the guide above the handle to get a one second drop. (I have a drop a little of the fast side easier to work with.) Readjust the L/R and F/A screws as above. It's an iterative process. You may need to add or remove weights, but probably not.

I use my Merin w/ an HV-20, so I've found using a baseplate and rods set-up adds a nice amount of extra weight. Also, I can get a very precise blance by adjusting the plate, so when I place the camera and baseplate combination onto the Merlin, I only have to do minor tweaking.

Good luck and HTH's!
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Last edited by Peter Moretti; February 22nd, 2011 at 01:54 PM.
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Old March 9th, 2011, 07:15 AM   #4
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Re: Steadicam Merlin Recipe for Canon T2i

Hi guys

Many thanks for takign the time to post, it's much appreciated. One of the things that's really hindered me is that my camera and lens set up isnt featured in the Merlin cookbook recipe settings, so I've had to really start from scratch.

I think I'm getting there - it's a lot more stable than it was - but there's still some swing either way. If anyone has the exact settings they use for a Canon 550d/T2i and a Tokina 11-16mm lens, they'd be much appreciated!

Thanks again.
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Old March 9th, 2011, 09:04 AM   #5
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Re: Steadicam Merlin Recipe for Canon T2i

Click the link on the left of the page for the cookbook setting to pull up user submitted settings--the 60D submissions will be a starting point (similar in weight to the t2i/550D).
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Old March 9th, 2011, 11:46 PM   #6
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Re: Steadicam Merlin Recipe for Canon T2i

I'm using T2i + battery grip + Tokina 11-16. It is very very stable compared to my hV30 setup before. If you have a battery grip, I can share with you the settings.
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Old March 11th, 2011, 05:10 AM   #7
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Re: Steadicam Merlin Recipe for Canon T2i

Yep I've got a battery grip, if you could mate that would be fantastic, thank you.
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Old March 11th, 2011, 08:31 AM   #8
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Re: Steadicam Merlin Recipe for Canon T2i

Quote:
Originally Posted by Taky Cheung View Post
I'm using T2i + battery grip + Tokina 11-16. It is very very stable compared to my hV30 setup before. If you have a battery grip, I can share with you the settings.

I'm interested in this too..I do use the battery grip too...BUT...I have a tendency to also have it balance with a light (small litepanels) on top...I find that if in dark places or as evening comes I don't have time to rebalance it...do you also do this?

how you go about the use of lights in your merlin set up?

and yes please..will be nice to know your good settings..

thanks
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Old March 11th, 2011, 11:17 AM   #9
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Re: Steadicam Merlin Recipe for Canon T2i

I don't know all the right terms. Hope you know what I'm talking about

- Mounting on hole "H" on dove plate.
- Camera on -3.5" position on plateform
- only the "cap" weight on joint
- end weight is cap-3 units-cap
- "crouch" bar angle is 1 notch down from +

hope it makes sense to you
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Old March 12th, 2011, 12:46 PM   #10
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Re: Steadicam Merlin Recipe for Canon T2i

Many thanks for that, you're a star! Yep, they all make sense. One final question: what setting do you have for the "Z" (the threaded collar just above the gimbal) = i.e if it was , say, -6 that would 6 full, 360-degree counter-clockwise turns from the point where the collar is fully screwed into/against the stage).

I'm guessing you're using the official battery grip rather than a 3rd party one?

Thanks again for taking the time to help mate, it's really appreciated.
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Old March 12th, 2011, 12:48 PM   #11
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Re: Steadicam Merlin Recipe for Canon T2i

That settings is more a fine adjustment. So you can experience to get the best results from your rig.

Yes I'm using the Canon brand grip.
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Old March 12th, 2011, 08:11 PM   #12
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Re: Steadicam Merlin Recipe for Canon T2i

wonderings if you ever balace it with light on top? if so, how much the settings change
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Old March 12th, 2011, 08:15 PM   #13
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Re: Steadicam Merlin Recipe for Canon T2i

I didn't use a light on top of it. I just thought that will make the center of gravity higher, thus causing more swaying.

In case I need extra light, I ask my assistant to hold the light following me. I have worked solo at a wedding before, I asked one of the groomsmen hold the light for me. They are usually happy to do it if you ask nicely.
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Old March 12th, 2011, 09:27 PM   #14
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Re: Steadicam Merlin Recipe for Canon T2i

Don't hesitate to install a light on top, ( I recommend one of those inexpensive 126 LED panel lights with 8 AA batteries installed, a little lighter than a Comer 1800) you can still get it to not sway just like the light wasn't there. Just add more weight to the bottom, and/or expand the spars apart more to get it rebalanced..... The Z adjustment I have found is the final step to eliminating the sway of the balanced assembly when you jerk the camera around.
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Old April 30th, 2011, 12:24 PM   #15
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Re: Steadicam Merlin Recipe for Canon T2i

Hi... Does someone have a recipe for Canon T2i (or T3i) and Canon 15mm 2.8 (or 15mm 2.8 Sigma) ?

Thanks a lot
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