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Old June 7th, 2012, 07:09 AM   #1
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Pilot vs. Merlin

How is the Steadycam Pilot compared to the Merlin? I have the Merlin and use it with my GH2. It's not easy to get what I want, so i am practicing. One of the problems is the small weight of the GH2 with a wide angle.

A step up could be the Pilot with an EX-1. Is it easier to keep the camera steady with this combination due to the more weight? If someone has used both rigs, could you please tell me about the differences? Is the Pilot easier to fly for the beginner or is it the same as the pilot?
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Old June 8th, 2012, 03:49 AM   #2
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Re: Pilot vs. Merlin

an easier solution (and cheaper!) may be to simply add weight to the GH2. i use the Merlin with a HV30 and adding a wide angle lens (which weighs as much as the camera!) and a mic makes it way more solid for flying. i would think of mounting the camera with this:

STAGE WEIGHT BRACKET, MERLIN

though this is expensive for what it is! a local metal shop could make a custom plate with mounting holes for cheaper, i would think... if you get wily with the design, it could raise the camera and offset it a bit to allow for battery changes without removing the camera and having to re-balance (which is one reason i don't mount a DSLR to the Merlin).
hhmmmmmmm. i might do this myself!

on a side not, i mounted an XH-A1 and found it way too heavy. maybe i'm too weak, but going for an hour with that rig would kill me! not sure about an ex-1 on a pilot, but that rig looks heavy to me!
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Old June 8th, 2012, 07:58 AM   #3
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Re: Pilot vs. Merlin

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bjørn Sørensen View Post
A step up could be the Pilot with an EX-1. Is it easier to keep the camera steady with this combination due to the more weight? If someone has used both rigs, could you please tell me about the differences? Is the Pilot easier to fly for the beginner or is it the same as the pilot?
it is always easier control heavier rig, because it has more inertia, more inertia means more stable movement. I keep all my rigs close to their max weight limit, that makes them heavier, but at the same time easier to control. The main difference between Merlin and Pilot is that Pilot , besides that it's full rig, is a sled based system, and central post makes much easier to control roll movement (horizon).
EX1 and pilot is one of my setups and I love it, they were made for each other, and with Manfrotto 512EX i have start/stop and zoom. But full rig doesn't mean you have to fly heavier cameras all the time, with additional weight i can fly pilot with small and light cameras like NEX5N :)))
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Old June 8th, 2012, 09:20 AM   #4
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Re: Pilot vs. Merlin

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bjørn Sørensen View Post
How is the Steadycam Pilot compared to the Merlin? I have the Merlin and use it with my GH2. It's not easy to get what I want, so i am practicing. One of the problems is the small weight of the GH2 with a wide angle.

A step up could be the Pilot with an EX-1. Is it easier to keep the camera steady with this combination due to the more weight? If someone has used both rigs, could you please tell me about the differences? Is the Pilot easier to fly for the beginner or is it the same as the pilot?
Pliot. Period. Don't even think about the Merlin if you an afford the Pilot.

The Pilot is easier to manage all the way around. I found the Merlin overly complicated to balance and use. I'm cool with complicated if it is for the legitimate reasons. I found the Merlin to be complicated for no good reason.

The Pilot operates more like the larger rigs. You won't be disappointed in its performance.
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Old June 9th, 2012, 01:04 AM   #5
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Re: Pilot vs. Merlin

I had Merlin and recently bought the Merlin 2. I haven't used the Pilot at all so I can't comment. The reason I go with the Merlin is because of it's foldable design. I can easily put it together with my other gear in the same bag.

I used to have a Canon HV30. Now I have T3i with Tokina 11-16mm lens. Together with a battery grip, it's much heavier. The resulting rig on Merlin is much more stable. So I agree with what other says, add weight to the setup :)
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Old June 11th, 2012, 02:03 PM   #6
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Re: Pilot vs. Merlin or anything for a Canon XF300

hi guys. I love that steadicam footage shot downtown Toronto! at one point I thought I was in it!
anyway...I was thinking about getting a Merlin 2 for my Canon T3i with a Tamron 17-50mm but I would also like to use a steadicam sometimes for short sequences with a Canon XF300 (I know..is heavy..6.2lbs!) only for a few seconds at a time...so the Merlin2 won't take the XF300...or is it the only way to do any steadicam work with something as heavy as the Canon XF300 to have the full vest and arm as well?
Someone told me to get the blackbird but I'm curious about the Pilot or even the Glidecam HD4000...
that footage looked so smooth...
what is a videographer to do?!

Erick
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Old June 12th, 2012, 07:07 AM   #7
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Re: Pilot vs. Merlin

A Pilot and EX1 work really well together. Its very easy to get great shots with them.
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Old June 12th, 2012, 07:24 AM   #8
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Re: Pilot vs. Merlin or anything for a Canon XF300

Quote:
Originally Posted by Erick Perdomo View Post
hi guys. I love that steadicam footage shot downtown Toronto! at one point I thought I was in it!
anyway...I was thinking about getting a Merlin 2 for my Canon T3i with a Tamron 17-50mm but I would also like to use a steadicam sometimes for short sequences with a Canon XF300 (I know..is heavy..6.2lbs!) only for a few seconds at a time...so the Merlin2 won't take the XF300...or is it the only way to do any steadicam work with something as heavy as the Canon XF300 to have the full vest and arm as well?
Someone told me to get the blackbird but I'm curious about the Pilot or even the Glidecam HD4000...
that footage looked so smooth...
what is a videographer to do?!

Erick
Once you get everything mounted and balanced the 6lb camera will be a +10lb rig. That will be a real challenge for your wrist. Once you get into that range you really need a vest and arms for support.
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Old June 12th, 2012, 08:04 AM   #9
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Re: Pilot vs. Merlin

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Originally Posted by Chris Medico View Post
Once you get everything mounted and balanced the 6lb camera will be a +10lb rig.
absolutely, plus the challenge will be not just for your wrist, but also for the merlin's gimbal, i tried couple times loaded with WA lens and mike EX1 on merlin, with additional weight it's doable, but it's heavy and i was getting a feeling that gimbal will snap any time;
Eric,
i shot that video with NEX5N on pilot, but there was a 5lb barbell weight on top of the mounting plate, my largest IDX battery and all pilot weights that i have to make the rig heavier, so it was looking close to this :)
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Pilot vs. Merlin-5lb.jpg  
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Old June 14th, 2012, 06:31 AM   #10
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Re: Pilot vs. Merlin

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bjørn Sørensen View Post
A step up could be the Pilot with an EX-1. Is it easier to keep the camera steady with this combination due to the more weight? If someone has used both rigs, could you please tell me about the differences? Is the Pilot easier to fly for the beginner or is it the same as the pilot?
The Pilot allows you to add weight at the top, so you shouldn't need to buy a heavier camera, unless you want it for other reasons. Specifically, you can buy additional screw-on middle-weights:
Steadicam 801-7920-05 Middle Balance Weight 801-7920-05 B&H

I bought 8 of these. Together with the weights that came with the Pilot, this allows me to add up to 3.5 pounds of weight. I always use the same number of weights at the bottom, but use varying numbers of weights at the top, depending on what camera/accessories I'm flying. I basically always fly at or near the 10 pound limit.

Speaking of accessories, rails will also add weight. A DSLR with rails and mattebox can be fairly heavy. And then there's wireless mic receivers, wireless video transmitter, batteries, etc.

I've never used the Merlin, so I can't comment on that.
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Old June 15th, 2012, 10:29 AM   #11
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Re: Pilot vs. Merlin

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Originally Posted by Buba Kastorski View Post
absolutely, plus the challenge will be not just for your wrist, but also for the merlin's gimbal, i tried couple times loaded with WA lens and mike EX1 on merlin, with additional weight it's doable, but it's heavy and i was getting a feeling that gimbal will snap any time;
Eric,
i shot that video with NEX5N on pilot, but there was a 5lb barbell weight on top of the mounting plate, my largest IDX battery and all pilot weights that i have to make the rig heavier, so it was looking close to this :)
HI Buba. So how heavy do you think your entire rig was? It looks like it was heavier than 6.5lbs...which is the weight of my Canon XF300...did you use the arm and vest?
thanks
E
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