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Old October 11th, 2006, 08:42 PM   #1
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my merlin footage. where am i going wrong?

It looks top heavy...? slight swaying side to side still. have tried all sorts of tweaks but just cant seem to get it level. any ideas.

here is the link..

http://homepage.mac.com/philip.bloom/FileSharing25.html

thanks!!!
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Old October 12th, 2006, 01:39 AM   #2
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The page you linked to is asking for a password.

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Old October 12th, 2006, 08:15 AM   #3
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sorry. try now!
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Old October 12th, 2006, 09:30 AM   #4
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That is a bit rough.

I have my Merlin still on order, so I can't address it, but my Steadicam Jr. would do a similar thing if it wasn't balanced correctly. Have you triple checked your balance?
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Last edited by Cody Lucido; October 12th, 2006 at 10:03 PM. Reason: too soften the blow
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Old October 12th, 2006, 10:52 AM   #5
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rough? ouch!

Well it seems balanced. but maybe somehow i have balanced the wrong way...
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Old October 12th, 2006, 10:56 AM   #6
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Phil, I hope someone who owns a Merlin watches your footage so they can give you more informed feedback. In the meantime, I tried the Merlin when I was a NAB, as well as the Steadicam Flyer. Based on that limited experience, I'd say that your footage doesn't look that bad. It's about what I would expect from the Merlin. With a Steadicam, you control the rig by just ever so lighty touching it with a couple of fingers and thumb. Even then, they say it takes at least a month of practice before you really get the hang of it (thus the reason for all the Steadicam clinics).
The Merlin is hand-held, so its not going to give you the same results as a true rig with a harness and counter-balanced arm. I could be totally wrong, and maybe someone who actually owns a Merlin could pipe in here and help you dial yours in. But to me, the footage looked really smooth, just maybe drifting towards too much head room. I wasn't too bothered by the side to side motion.
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Old October 12th, 2006, 03:38 PM   #7
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The footage looks what I would expect from a new operator, in fact it's not bad at all. As I'm sure you've heard here and elsewhere, Steadicam (from the Merlin up to the Ultra) requires a skill that develops over time, and the typical new user will tend to over-control the rig by applying too much or constant pressure. With the shot you attached, since it is moving at a constant speed and framing, you would apply little or no pressure to the rig, certainly not constant. Try doing the same shot and start out with your fingers on the tongue of the gimbal, then once you are up to speed remove that hand completely from the rig and keep walking (don't make a big show of whipping your hand away, you can keep it near the gimbal, just don't touch). See if that improves the accuracy of the shot. If so, then this is proof that you are exerting too much and the wrong kind of force on the rig.

This is not to say that one should generally operate the rig without a guide hand, but suffice to say that every Steadicam operator is constantly dialing the degree of touch up and down depending on the immediate needs of a given shot. With a straightaway with no acceleration like this, the inertia of the rig should take it in a nice straight line without wobble.
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Old October 12th, 2006, 06:29 PM   #8
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From one Merlin user to another, your footage isn't that bad. My footage looked liked yours when I first started. I couldn't agree more with what Charles said. When I first started using my Merlin, it took time to adjust to its sensitivity and control with my weak hand. Only the slightest and deliberate touch combined with smooth body movement and footwork could produce the shots you want. Patience and practice will help you learn to smooth things out. Here are some of my samples if you haven't seen them already (I had the Merlin maybe 2 months when I filmed these videos).

(check out footage at 1:27)
http://video.google.com/videoplay?do...65487527187046

(a lot of Merlin flying in this one)
http://video.google.com/videoplay?do...97194404541649
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Old October 12th, 2006, 07:54 PM   #9
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Oh, and as far as whether or not a Merlin can approach the smoothness of a body-mounted rig: it should come very close. In fact, it may even do better than some of the lower-end bodymount rigs, as their arms are a bit choppy and may show the footsteps a bit more.

Again, all Steadicam operating takes practicing, not just weeks but months (honestly, years to get REALLY good, but don't let that discourage you) and the handheld rigs require an exceptionally light touch as well as dead-on trimming (balance). Keep at it and have fun!
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Old October 12th, 2006, 09:03 PM   #10
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thanks guys, and Armin your wedding video was cool, just the right amount of cheese and i bet they loved it, merlin stuff was lovely! what camera did you use?

so you think my balance is fine, just my operating that needs work? Does it matter how the balance is achieved even if it is nothing like the cookbook settings, as long as it is level and the drop time is correct?

...about to upload another video that i did today...teeny bit better i think!

http://homepage.mac.com/philip.bloom/FileSharing25.html
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Last edited by Phil Bloom; October 12th, 2006 at 10:02 PM.
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Old October 13th, 2006, 01:32 AM   #11
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Phil,

I thought you did very well on those shots. Do they look like they were done on a dolly-No-but they are smooth with some side-to-side movement.

I agree with Charles...keep your control hand off the dang gimbal as much as possible but keep it close for corrections. The times when I find I need more gimbal control is when I am making "changes" to my movement i.e. acceleration / deceleration, direction changes, and also in windy conditions.

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Old October 13th, 2006, 07:11 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Phil Bloom
thanks guys, and Armin your wedding video was cool......what camera did you use?

so you think my balance is fine, just my operating that needs work? Does it matter how the balance is achieved even if it is nothing like the cookbook settings, as long as it is level and the drop time is correct?

...about to upload another video that i did today...teeny bit better i think!

http://homepage.mac.com/philip.bloom/FileSharing25.html
Thanks Phil, I was flying a TRV900. The other handhelds and stationary cameras were FX1 and VX2100.

The balance looks fine. I'm always tweaking and trimming mine though which I heard is normal. I used the cookbook, but still had to tweak it since I was using a heavier battery.
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Old October 13th, 2006, 05:25 PM   #13
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Sorry for teh late follow up from me in this thread.
I watched both your clips and woudl call them decent. #2 definatly shows a little improvment - and I'm very impressed with how you handled the corner. Not bad at all for a new operator.

About the only advice I can add is in deed; Practice Practice Practice!

You are dooing very well, and your rig appears at least to be in prety good balance. It doesn't matter if your successfull balance settings match the cookbook or not. (I don't use the cookbook most of the time anymore when I balance).

Keep shooting and with time your shots will be even better. :-)


P.S. That doesn't look one bit like London.

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Old October 13th, 2006, 05:47 PM   #14
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thanks Mikko

Have been practicing a lot today and here is the best clip (steady wise not compostion!)

http://homepage.mac.com/philip.bloom/FileSharing25.html

file: merlin3a

thanks for all your tips and advice!

Phil

P.S. er yeah it's a south-eastern suburb called Key Largo, we are having unseasonably warm weather, hence the palm trees in my lovely garden are flourishing!
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Old October 13th, 2006, 06:43 PM   #15
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From the voice of inexperience...Phil, the clips looked great to me. Way better than my first stuff with a glidecam variant.
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