My Personal Merlin Settings With Sony FX1 at DVinfo.net

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Old April 14th, 2006, 07:22 AM   #1
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My Personal Merlin Settings With Sony FX1

I have found the settings in the cookbook to be a bit off. I have set the arc size to it's fullest extension and the Z turns - 2 from tightest setting. Weights are same as recommended in the cookbook. I am using the the Sony F970 battery and the horse shoe mount is attached as well. Drop time is just over a second. With these setting I'm getting great results, very little to no pendulum swing even with acceleration etc..
Hope this helps.
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Old April 14th, 2006, 03:57 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nick Tsamandanis
I have found the settings in the cookbook to be a bit off. I have set the arc size to it's fullest extension and the Z turns - 2 from tightest setting. Weights are same as recommended in the cookbook. I am using the the Sony F970 battery and the horse shoe mount is attached as well. Drop time is just over a second. With these setting I'm getting great results, very little to no pendulum swing even with acceleration etc..
Hope this helps.
There is a place for you to share your settings with fellow merlin users.
http://www.merlincookbook.com/submit.php
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Old April 18th, 2006, 01:27 PM   #3
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Nick,
I'm so glad to hear from another FX1 / Merlin user. I'm trying your settings now. I only have one question...

The arc size on the Merlincookbook says 13.25". It seemed to me that that was all the way open. So it appears to me that the only thing you changed was turning the Z axis above the gimbal two turns tighter, because the cookbook says -4 and you say -2. Is that right, or did you actually open the arc size of the Merlin even farther? If you did, then I basically was doing the same thing as you already.

I've watched the video many times, along with the manual. I think I get the idea, but I'm still not quite sure what the Z axis above the gimbal does. Does it just raise or lower the overall height of the Merlin in relation to the gimbal, affecting the bottom-heavyness slightly?

Thanks again for the posting.
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Old April 18th, 2006, 02:18 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by Roland Sarrazen
Nick,
I've watched the video many times, along with the manual. I think I get the idea, but I'm still not quite sure what the Z axis above the gimbal does. Does it just raise or lower the overall height of the Merlin in relation to the gimbal, affecting the bottom-heavyness slightly?
Sorry to step on anyones toes...
Yes, that's EXACLTY what "Z" does.
"X" and "Y" are the foreward and back movements of the stage with the rollers, and "Z" is up and down. - note that the arc also swings the wieghts forwards and affects fore-aft balance too when you change it. - "Z" is purley bottom heaviness (and very preciscly at that)


- Mikko
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Old April 18th, 2006, 04:36 PM   #5
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Thanks, Mikko.

That makes perfect sense. The real "issue" I'm having with the Merlin is the old pendulum action, but it is getting much better with practice. It's actually amazing what good shots you can get with the unit the first time you use it. I would love to hear from some other FX1, or even Z1, users with Merlins. Anybody have any other tips, tricks, etc.?
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Old April 18th, 2006, 04:48 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Roland Sarrazen
Thanks, Mikko.

That makes perfect sense. The real "issue" I'm having with the Merlin is the old pendulum action, but it is getting much better with practice. It's actually amazing what good shots you can get with the unit the first time you use it. I would love to hear from some other FX1, or even Z1, users with Merlins. Anybody have any other tips, tricks, etc.?
Hi Roland,

To get proper balance the rig will still be slightly bottom heavy so it will have a tendency to pendulum when starting and stopping. Reducing this is all part of the learning curve like you're discovering, you need to use your operating hand slightly to help it along for smooth starts and stops.

I would also say that a 1 second drop time that Nick is using above may just be a bit too fast, I would say that you should aim for between 2 and 3 seconds, but at the end of the day if 1 sec is doing it for you then who am I to argue :D

John.
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Old April 18th, 2006, 05:03 PM   #7
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Hi John,
On the DVD that comes with the Merlin, Garrett Brown says that about a second drop time is what you get when it is set up properly. I haven't heard anyone say they can get a 2-3 second drop time. Can you get this with your Merlin? What camera do you use?
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Old April 18th, 2006, 06:37 PM   #8
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Did another shoot on Saturday and used the Steadicam with the FX1 quite a bit. The shots worked out really well, however I find that with the large battery I get fatigued a lot quicker. I have switched to the F570 just for steadicam work. My settings are still the same except that the arc size has been reduced to 33.5 cm. I am taking my measurement according to the new, revised balance instructions pdf. Drop time just over 1 sec. The Merlin really does perform very well. Once you find good balance it becomes quite addictive!
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Last edited by Nick Tsamandanis; April 18th, 2006 at 07:14 PM.
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Old April 19th, 2006, 03:54 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Roland Sarrazen
Hi John,
On the DVD that comes with the Merlin, Garrett Brown says that about a second drop time is what you get when it is set up properly. I haven't heard anyone say they can get a 2-3 second drop time. Can you get this with your Merlin? What camera do you use?
Interesting, perhaps the merlin is different from the full size rigs but it's always been between 2 and 3 seconds for the big rigs, hopefully someone will back me up with that :D

John.
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Old April 19th, 2006, 04:05 PM   #10
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I was actually looking at some Steadicam stuff earlier today, and the full size rigs do have a drop time of 2-3 seconds, so I'll back you on that. I just thought you were talking about the Merlin specifically.

I went through the entire setup process again, just for review, and the cookbook settings for the FX1 do seem to work better than anything else I've tried. It just takes some practice.

With this unit you have to switch hands every once in a while because it's pretty heavy. Otherwise, you'll end up with one Popeye arm! :)
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Old April 19th, 2006, 08:26 PM   #11
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It states in the manual that the drop time for the Merlin is around 1 second.
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