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Old April 13th, 2007, 07:13 AM   #16
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I have just hotfooted it over from a query I made on this very subject at DVXUser, and was kindly pointed here! Just the photo alone has me excited at what the Merlin HV20 combo will do for me in an upcoming shoot, so thanks for that.

The mystery of the need for extra weight has me slightly confused, is it really too light on its own combo (without the Canon wide lens attached)?
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Old April 13th, 2007, 09:48 AM   #17
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Enough, already,.... what about some footage ?? :)
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Old April 13th, 2007, 03:21 PM   #18
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I'll get there! I'll get there! I don't want to have to preface like so many posters do with a bunch of mumbled excuses: "I know the framing sucks and the lighting is dark and I was kind of rushed and it's pretty sloppy, but I figured I'd just throw it up for you guys to look at...!"

I'm just finishing up some other priorities but I plan to do some test shooting mostly for myself this weekend (trying out the different modes with the camera and see if I can wrap my brain around the softening in Cine mode that people have been talking about), so I will do some Merlin also. We've had ferocious winds the last couple days in LA so that made it less enticing to show youse guys the stuff.

As far as too light--no, it isn't, it balances perfectly well. It's just that the lighter the camera, the more sensitive the Merlin gets and the more delicate the touch required. The A1 performs much smoother overall. Again, not a design issue, just plain physics. Anyone who has played around with the little rigs like this are astonished at how much inertia is involved with the full-size rigs--takes a considerably greater amount of operator input to pan, tilt etc.
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Old April 20th, 2007, 09:04 AM   #19
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OK OK, I shot some stuff for youse guys! Actually it was an eye-opener--I haven't really spent much time with the Merlin and this footage really reflects that. It's not what I call top-notch. There's definitely a specific learning curve to the Merlin that is different than the big rigs. So even though in the last post I said I wasn't going to post a bunch of excuses...well...!

I added the WD-H43 and the DM50 on for extra ballast, which required another middle weight and lengthening the spar, but the Merlin responded with a more solid feel as a result.

http://web.mac.com/chupap/iWeb/Films/MerlinHV20.html
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Old April 20th, 2007, 09:37 AM   #20
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Looks great, though I'd expect that from a professional operator! I wonder what the average shooter could get with the Merlin...
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Old April 20th, 2007, 11:50 AM   #21
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Wow!

Thanks Charles, that is really impressive. How much experience to you need to be able to handle it that smoothly?
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Old April 20th, 2007, 02:40 PM   #22
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It seems to me with the Merlin there is a minumum usable camera weight and that the HV20 is below that weight. I think they need to create counter weights that attach topside with the camera to bring the total weight of the camera up to a sweet spot where you will also have to add additional bottom weights. It seems if the camera is too light movements exerted on the gimbal affect the camera more than on a heavier camera with heavier counter weights.

This rig seems unusable with a bare bones stock HV20.

Agree? Disagree?

-Jonathan

Last edited by Jonathan Gentry; April 20th, 2007 at 04:28 PM.
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Old April 20th, 2007, 05:18 PM   #23
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I'm experimenting with some things to try to keep this little camera stable. It seems like when you lower the arm as far as possible it becomes a little more stable. To compensate for this you must unscrew the gimble just about as far as it will go. Seems to be more stable in this confiuration.

I'm around 11.5 inches at this point.

-Jonathan
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Old April 20th, 2007, 08:13 PM   #24
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Looks fantastic!

I want one...no... I need one now!
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Old April 20th, 2007, 08:51 PM   #25
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Does your cat talk??
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Old April 20th, 2007, 10:05 PM   #26
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Tony, I showed that clip to my wife and she said the same thing, 'sounds like the cat is talking!". :)
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Old April 21st, 2007, 12:38 AM   #27
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Angus is a real chatty beast--I plan to start capturing his various yowls and cut a piece together for Youtube, maybe to a beat!

I think that Tiffen should offer thin weighted plates that would mount between the camera and the plate to help with the underweight cameras like the HV20. It does work by itself, but it is squirrely indeed.
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Old April 21st, 2007, 08:48 AM   #28
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Charles, I think the footage looked great...very smooth.
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Old April 21st, 2007, 07:45 PM   #29
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Thanks for your posts and footage, Charles. The HV20 + Merlin has been described as a killer combination. Everything you said seems to confirm it. You mentioned "ferocious winds" -- did you venture out into them to see whether this lightweight combo gets unduly buffeted? That's my only concern -- that it's so light and so sensitive (as Jonathan Gentry suggested) as to be only suitable for calm, still days. What about at the beach, when the wind is blowing in off the sea?
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Old April 21st, 2007, 09:47 PM   #30
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Mike:

Wind is a killer for all Steadicams, big and small. Certainly a Merlin will be very prone to gusts but its tiny footprint is a big advantage here over many other stabilizers as this will improve things. The beach is going to be tough. Your best bet is to have a pal hold a windblock for you in these situations. On set we use 4x4 double nets (they create less turbulence than solids) which cover most of the rig--this would do amazing things for a Merlin as it would create a much bigger relative buffer. Thus you could achieve decent results with a 2x3 double or if you were inclined to homebuild, a frame with some sort of perforated sailcloth etc.

In general, the rule for windy days is to use a heavier touch in controlling the rig.
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