XH-A1 Merlin Cookbook settings? at DVinfo.net

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Old April 1st, 2007, 05:39 PM   #1
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XH-A1 Merlin Cookbook settings?

Hi everyone!

I've scoured the forums for informaton on the Merlin cookbook settings for the XH-A1, but have only found reports of how great it works (with no settings) or sparse mentions of weights, once or twice. So far the user settings on merlincookbook.com haven't yielded great results. For those of you who succesffully use the A1 and Merlin together, what settings do you use? (Weights, arc, mounting hole, stage position, guide)

Thanks in advance!
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Old April 1st, 2007, 08:39 PM   #2
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Hi Byron....

Go here for the Merlin Cookbook
http://www.merlincookbook.com

Go here for settings for cams not listed above (Including XH-A1)
http://www.merlincookbook.com/user.php
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Old April 2nd, 2007, 12:48 AM   #3
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Thanks for the links Dearl! I've been looking through both sites today previously, and had yet to find cookbook settings that worked very well.
Obviously I know my total inexperience with the device is a factor, but seeing as how many people here on the forums have mentioned owning/using an A1 and Merlin combo, I am still curious to see what they use!
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Old April 5th, 2007, 10:57 PM   #4
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Well, I've tinkered around with the A1 and merlin some more, and continued watching the DVD, but still not finding a "perfet" set-up yet. Any cookbook recipes from the experts here (apart from the two incomplete ones on the merlin user site)?
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Old May 4th, 2007, 05:37 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Byron Huskey View Post
Any cookbook recipes from the experts here (apart from the two incomplete ones on the merlin user site)?



Yes they are actually incomplete and i was not able to set up properly my steadicam.




http://www.merlincookbook.com/user.php



Thanks for any help.

Last edited by Manuel Fantoni; May 4th, 2007 at 07:39 AM.
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Old May 4th, 2007, 05:58 AM   #6
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I initially set it up for the A1 with the user-supplied cookbook settings with no problems. What is missing from those exactly??

From memory, I used one middle weight, then 1 start/5 middle/1 finish weight. The arc was virtually if not all the way extended. Mounting hole was I.

When you guys say you aren't getting "great results", I have to wonder what you mean exactly. If the rig balances statically and you are getting a 1 second drop time, then you are done with the settings. If you are new to the Merlin and find that it is squirrely and not "automatically" dead stable, chances are you are just not used to flying this rig and that no adjustment in settings will improve this, but practice will.

So if you guys post what the problems you are experiencing are, perhaps I can help address them.
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Old May 4th, 2007, 06:50 AM   #7
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Thanks for your reply

I'm not getting a 1 second drop time.

There are two settings for the Canon xh A1,one says that the weigth of the camera is 4,98 lb(maybe with the bp970 battery?) and another one 4,625 lb wich is the one i'm using.

The missing part of the setup is the STAGE MARK.

Last edited by Manuel Fantoni; May 4th, 2007 at 09:09 AM.
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Old May 5th, 2007, 12:12 AM   #8
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Gents:

It's good to get into the practice of being able to balance the Merlin from scratch, without needing cookbook settings to be exact (the stage slides back and forth easily, so you just find the balance point--to me that the stage mark is somewhat irrelevant as it depends on where your rollers are).

If your drop is too fast, try shortening the spar distance. As you get close to your goal, switch to dialing the gimbal (Z) up and down. If you can't get there with the spar, trying removing a weight from the bottom. Generally you want the least amount of weight thus the greatest spar distance.

The rule of thumb with balance is that you start with the most excessively out of whack parameter, and as it gets closer to the right setting the next most egregious parameter will reveal itself. So, if you are massively bottom heavy, as you start to reduce the bottom heaviness the rig may start to fall to one side. You then adjust the side-to-side balance. And then you might see the stage start to tilt forward, so you fix that. Then it's a matter of going around the 3 parameters until they are all dialed in perfectly. With practice this can be done with a new camera in a matter of minutes.
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Old January 31st, 2008, 07:54 PM   #9
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anyone else take about 4hrs+ to setup? I cannot for the life of me get the merlin fully balanced. Its got a just alittle bit offness to it. I am talking little not as perfect as that dvd video.

setting it up is not a walk through the park, and now i can actually feel the pain of the weight. eeesH! so i got the bad boi at 1pm, its now 5:29pm and im still fiddling with it.

I also used the cookbook settings and they are not very perfect because i am still trying to balance it.

anyone have any other tips?

Last edited by Kalulu Ngilo; January 31st, 2008 at 09:59 PM.
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Old January 31st, 2008, 11:33 PM   #10
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Merlin settings

IMHO the cookbook settings are guidelines. My camera was not in the cookbook so I started with a setup of a camera that was close to the weight of mine. Follow the suggestions on the DVD and it will work. I've found on very light cameras < 1lb. it works best to be slightly more bottom heavy than the instructions recommend. (Drop time just less than a second). It can be adjusted to the point where it will "just hang" where it is put but find slightly bottom heavy much better. Wind and air movement affects light cameras much more also.

My EX1 comes tomorrow with the new steel gimbal for the Merlin and want to see how the two work together. Might be too heavy as some posts suggest.

Thanks!
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Old February 6th, 2008, 06:14 AM   #11
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I played with the HV20 and then tried the A1 - both from scratch (might as well get used to it) by mucking about and adding weights adjusting different things I feel I have a better understanding of the beast

It's taken about an hour - I have 1 mid+1 finish weight on the front, 1 start+5 mid on the lower spar - fully extended with a drop time of 1.5 sec. using hole I

I only got it today so I'm not sure what I'm doing but I believe it's balenced. I can hold the gimble and the camera is level, the lower spar is directly under (it's not tilting to one side) and I can move the merlin from side to side without getting a pendulum effect and the drop time is 1.5sec.

BTW - the manual says the tripod adaptor is included but I didn't get one - did everyone else?

also the metal gimble - I got the arm & vest and a spare gimble but it's the same as the gimble on the merlin - how do you tell the difference?

It certainly is a well crafted piece of machinery.
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Old February 6th, 2008, 01:03 PM   #12
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The tripod adapter is a black piece of metal about the size of a playing card but a bit narrower. It has one hole in the center.
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Old February 7th, 2008, 12:48 AM   #13
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The tripod adapter is a black piece of metal about the size of a playing card .
and I'm informed it's now an OPTIONAL extra! only B&H doesn't stock it so I'll have to go to a local agent and most probably pay 3 times the price.
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Old February 7th, 2008, 02:33 AM   #14
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and I'm informed it's now an OPTIONAL extra! only B&H doesn't stock it so I'll have to go to a local agent and most probably pay 3 times the price.
Yes, it seems the package has changed. On the Steadicam site there's a page offering a free tripod adapter plate if you you the coupon that comes in the package:
http://www.tiffen.com/merlin_tripod_plate_offer.html

Here's the Merlin main page:
http://www.steadicam.com/handheldmerlin.html

Apparently with the new metal gimbal they reconfigured the package.
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Old February 7th, 2008, 05:02 AM   #15
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Thanks Jack - unfortunately the offer will cost me $74 in postage!!!!

it's still a bit silly because they supplied another metal gimbal with the arm & vest which is worth a lot more while being less use to me.

I've tried shooting a bit of footage but it looks like I'm getting electric shock therapy while walking - not real good!
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