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Old June 1st, 2007, 09:19 AM   #91
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Yeah, wind is the #1 enemy of all Steadicam - even the big $60,000 rigs have problems with it.


You shouldn't need to move the dovetail plate off the stage. Using the stage mark in the cookbook should work for you, unless you have some strange accessories on the camera.
If you run out of slide room on the stage (go past mark 5), unscrew the dovetail plate from the camera and re-mount it using a different hole (so essentially "slide" the camera on the dovetail plate!)

When positioning the Z1 on the stage, it helps to observe how the G-platz lines up. Position the camera so that the G-platz screw presses on the little flat area under the lens, then use the fore-aft trim roller to get you balanced as it won't actually move the camera to the stage but rather just moves the gimble to the center of gravity.

Unfortunaly I don't have a Z1 available to check the settings on my Merlin, but the ones listed in the cookbook should work - I helped write them.


- Mikko
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Old June 4th, 2007, 04:31 AM   #92
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Hi Mikko,

I have no idea what's going on: I changed nothing on the camera- it's just the Z1 with a tape in it and the same large battery I used the first time, when I was succesfull...

I'll start from scratch again. I feel like a real fool because it must be something simple, arghhh!!

Wish another Z1/Merlin user could send me some pictures...

Will report back. Thanks,

Wolf
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Old June 5th, 2007, 03:12 PM   #93
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Back again. I don't know why it took me so long to realize it was the arc size that made the difference. Well, actually I do know: because the arc size was fine the first time I used the Merlin. And I also remember opening up the arc as wide as possible for the Z1, so there was not much room to play with.
Changing the arc size was the last thing I tried after setting up from scratch, and it turned out there was more arc than I expected.

Now I can go back to practicing to become a steadicam operator again, a much more enjoyable experience than balancing the Merlin...

One more question, Mikko, and a rather silly one. I received a large black steadicam bag in addition to the neat small one. I guess it's for the (folded) Merlin with the camera attached to it. But the foam cutout shape does not fit the shape of the folded Merlin very well. Is that your (or anyone elses) experience as well?

BTW, is there any place I can see some of the stuff you shot with the Merlin, I'm curious.

happy shooting,

Wolf
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Old June 5th, 2007, 04:00 PM   #94
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I think that large bag was the one supplied with the JR, so the cutout was for that particular piece of gear. Tiffen needs to make one specifically for the Merlin, true enough. Once you have it built there's really no reason to have to break it back down to fit the original case.
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Old June 6th, 2007, 03:44 AM   #95
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Charles Papert View Post
I think that large bag was the one supplied with the JR, so the cutout was for that particular piece of gear. Tiffen needs to make one specifically for the Merlin, true enough. Once you have it built there's really no reason to have to break it back down to fit the original case.
They gave me a bag that belongs to another model??!! That is really cheap!
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Old June 6th, 2007, 05:45 AM   #96
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There is also a larger bag for the Merlin.

It's designed to hold the Merlin folder underneath the camera. - So you would need to lay maerlin flat [stage up] (instead of on it's side) in the cutout in the bottom of the bag.

- Mikko
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Old June 6th, 2007, 06:49 AM   #97
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mikko Wilson View Post
There is also a larger bag for the Merlin.

It's designed to hold the Merlin folder underneath the camera. - So you would need to lay maerlin flat [stage up] (instead of on it's side) in the cutout in the bottom of the bag.

- Mikko
Mikko, that is exactly the bag I'm referring to. It was shipped with the Merlin -in addition to the small bag- so I assumed it was built for the Merlin.(now why would I assume such a thing...) As it turns out, Tiffen apparently had a bunch of bags leftover from the JR and distributed them as Merlin bags... That would have worked, if they had taken the effort to change the interior foam cutout.

Wolf
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Old July 28th, 2007, 04:41 PM   #98
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Hey,

I'm very close to finally buying the Merlin, but have some questions:

Why is the price on the Tiffen site 850$ and on the other sites 800$ ?
Is the Merlin Arm&Vest option ready and shipping?
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Old July 28th, 2007, 10:10 PM   #99
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Traditionally manufacturers post list prices and dealers post their own price, which is their cost plus markup. Manufacturers don't want to be in competition with their dealers so they usually don't show any discounts.

The arm and vest are scheduled to ship in August.
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Old July 31st, 2007, 11:00 AM   #100
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Merlin with wireless accessory plate

I am flying a DVC 80 on my Merlin. I am wondering if anyone has used the accessory plate that attaches to the bottom of the arm? One thing I sorely miss is my Sony UWP wireless receiver when shooting with the Merlin. I know that a plate is available but has anyone used it? Does it work?
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Old July 31st, 2007, 04:51 PM   #101
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I have the accessory plate, and it works very well. Perfect for stuff like wireless mic receivers that can't go on the camera.

- Mikko
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Old August 3rd, 2007, 01:44 PM   #102
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Thought I'd share some experiences with the Merlin/Z1 combination...

Having previously used a PD150/steadicam JR, I can confirm that operating is similar although the merlin immediately feels more precise and controlable. I always felt the JR was going to fall apart (although it never did!).

I used the merlin on a couple of live music gigs, getting general footage for a 3 day trade show at which bands were playing in the evening... One evening I was using it for 2.5 hours, although had to take regular breaks by jamming the lower spar into my belt and staying still to rest my arm. I'm going to see if I can try out the vest/arm when generally available in the UK, although am a little apprehensive as when I tried a full size rig with a DSR-450 I could move!! (Respect to all of you that do that for a living - you earn every penny!!)

When I upgraded, I was a little concerned that the Z1 monitor wouldn't be in the right position as I was used to the JR monitor, but if anything the larger, 16:9 Z1 monitor was better - although it throws the balance way out if you forget to flip it out!!

The footage was much better than I was expecting and despite leaping around following a Freddie Mercury lookalike in a Queen tribute band, is quite watchable unedited! I'll try to digitise a bit and upload it... It also cuts together better with my DSR-450.

Regarding cases, I got a pelicase for the Z1 and a customer foam cutout from my camera supplier. A bit of work with the stanley knife adjusted a cutout for a rain cover to fit the Merlin so the whole lot fits really neatly and safely.

So in summary, a worthwhile upgrade (the Z1 is much better for me than the PD150) and the Merlin is much better than the JR.

Just my thoughts...
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Old August 5th, 2007, 04:27 AM   #103
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Well, I'm happy to say I got my Merlin working and balanced today! The thing flows like a dream now, and all I have left to do is practice till my arm falls off, or the arm/vest ships, whichever comes first! (Honestly not sure at this point)
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Old September 4th, 2007, 05:14 PM   #104
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Finally, my Merlin arrived today! Went thru the DVD and manual step by step. The thing is tricky to balance, but got it quite good.
My first shots are even better than I expected. I'll try to post some samples when I get time.

I have one problem. When I try to fold it, the lower arc hits into the locking lever. I should be able to fold it using some force, but is that the way it's suppose to be?
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Old September 4th, 2007, 05:37 PM   #105
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Do you mean that the lower spar hit's the lever on the side of the stage? And then doesn't fit under the stage?

- Mikko
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