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Old April 14th, 2007, 12:43 AM   #1
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Magiqcam experience

First I do want to say that Magiqcam company is NOT dead...they have "reorganized" and are under new leadership...I emailed requesting a manual and was told it was lost on a crashed hard drive, and the *new* Magiqcam team is putting together a new one...the support guy was even nice enough to provide me with the cell phone number of the new owner if I should have any problems.

First experience with the Magiqcam 2A was quite an thrill. In preparation I had read up on all the techniques but like they say, you can read the skating manual a million times but you'll still fall first time out. I got some pretty darn tootin' steady shots the first time I got it set up, but boy...did it kill my back. I'm used to having weight on a vest like that since I played quads and snare drum for two years in a marching band, but boy...walking like that and balancing and framing and all that jazz can really put a strain on things.

I've found the hardest thing is that because of my stance, the entire rig wants to swing away from me...I try to stand straight, but the only way to remedy this is to lean back, which is no good. I've seen videos of ops taking their hands away and the camera remaining in front of them...I certainly can't do that! The moment I let go the thing swings away. Any suggestions?

Another thing I've found is that the strain on the bearings on the vest have cracked the thin sides of the bearings. I've since reinforced it with a solid coating of JB weld, which will hopefully prevent the thing from falling apart. The key is to put the arm on the vest with both hands, and sliding it in carefully. What had done the most damage was me flying around with it for about 5 minutes not knowing the metal peg wasn't inserted completely into the hole, and was being supported only by the top bearing.

Oh and please...the docking post? Is this a joke? How is a flimsy light stand supposed to support 30+ pounds on one side without tipping over faster than a Pennsylvania cow at 2:30 am on a Saturday?

Overall, I'm giddy with excitement having realized that following some tedious practice with this thing, some really exciting shots can be achieved.
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Old April 14th, 2007, 01:06 AM   #2
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Hi Ron, I'll like to comment about the rig wanting to drift away from you. That's is one of the reason's why the high end systems differ from the low end. They have socket blocks where you can adjust the fore & aft of the rig, or where the rig wants to go. With it, especially on larger systems, it will be very difficult. This is also one of the reasons why fatigue sets in, because you're constantly trying to fight the rig by using your body, to counter react the forward movement of the rig. The socket block is a real gem and no professional operator will be without it.

Secondly, concerning the stand. You must use a sandbag on the opposite side of the stand when you rest the rig on the stand. I do not remember how the stand looks like but on the high end systems you still have to use a sandbags to counter balance the weight of the sled. Thee a ready made sandbags that you can purchase from manfrotto. Or just make your own if possible.
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Old April 14th, 2007, 01:05 PM   #3
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Hey Charles,
The Magiqcam does have an adjustable socket block; it's on a hinge with screws holding it at a certain pitch, unscrew one end and screw the other and you can adjust it to any angle you'd like. My question is, how do you calibrate this?
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Old April 14th, 2007, 01:43 PM   #4
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If the sled is flying away from you, then you need to use the socket block to "lean" the arm back, the same way you are having to use your body now.

You know you've got it right when you are standing straight (normally) and the sled doesn't want to pull in any direction.

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Old April 14th, 2007, 10:00 PM   #5
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This adjustment is one of the suggestions that I made to the owner of Magiqcam in an extensive meeting that we had about 4 years ago; at that time none of the DV rigs had socket block adjustments. I'm really glad to see that this concept has been embraced by many of the manufacturers.
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Old April 15th, 2007, 12:18 AM   #6
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Unfortunately upon further examination it has a left/right adjustment, but not a forward/back tilt adjustment, which makes the kind of adjustment I need unavailable. I've made appropriate adjustments with some slight bending of the harness with some applied pressure.
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Old April 21st, 2007, 09:18 AM   #7
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I've found someone selling a IIa second hand in Australia (where I am) for the equivalent of $1,250 US.

This is about $500 more than I can get the Steadicam Merlin for (which I was going to buy until I found out about this one for sale) and I just wanted to ask what the advantages of this are over the Merlin. Or vice versa as the case may be.
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Old April 21st, 2007, 09:30 AM   #8
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Well, I assume the price for the Merlin doesn't include the arm and vest. So this is one of the biggest advantage the Magiqicam has over the Merlin, that's if you'r not going for the armand vest combo of the Merlin. I would advise you to wait a little while and get the complete Merlin combo than buy the Magiqcam. If you must use a stabilizer in your production at this time than rent one. Again, it all depends on your budget.
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Old April 21st, 2007, 09:33 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Charles King View Post
I would advise you to wait a little while and get the complete Merlin combo than buy the Magiqcam. If you must use a stabilizer in your production at this time than rent one. Again, it all depends on your budget.
I thought about that but figured that the arm and vest alone for the Merlin could be as much as the whole package of the Magiqcam...

The other thing is that my Z1 is just about the maximum weight the Merlin can carry - so no chance of adding a monitor and battery unless the arm allows the maximum load to increase.

Thanks for your advice though.
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Old April 21st, 2007, 09:52 AM   #10
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Well, do you really need a complete steup? Ask yourself that first than it makes narrowing down your needs a little better.
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Old April 21st, 2007, 10:07 AM   #11
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Well, do you really need a complete steup? Ask yourself that first than it makes narrowing down your needs a little better.
It sort of makes it easier but I think I've decided that I do need the whole rig - I shoot weddings mostly and have decided that for what I want a stabilizer is the next step. And I think a vest is the only way my weak arms could last.
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Old April 21st, 2007, 10:13 AM   #12
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As I heard from Mikko, the Steadicam Merlin, complete combo,arm & vest will go for about $2850. If I had to choose I would go for the Merlin setup. The advantages will out weight the advantages of the Magiqicam in the long run. This is, if you decide to remain in the weight range of the Merlin and not go any higher.

I would again advise that you try systems out, the Glidecam shooter is another option, now that they have come out with a dual arm. Try the systems out before you make your decision. It's vital that you do. If you have the opportunity that is.
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Old April 21st, 2007, 10:17 AM   #13
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Try the systems out before you make your decision. It's vital that you do. If you have the opportunity that is.
I wish it were that easy. In this part of the country, tracking down demo equipment is near on impossible. That's one of the reasons I was excited about this Magiqcam, as I would actually get a chance to test it beforehand.
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Old April 21st, 2007, 10:24 AM   #14
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Well, go ahead and test it and see how it behaves. Don't make your decision right away. Play with it a little if you can. But again, if you do get the chance. A rental house or call Rig engineering. They are a stabilizer company in your neck of the woods. They may have a demo rig of the merlin for you to try out. Here is the website: http://www.steadyrig.com/
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Old April 21st, 2007, 09:19 PM   #15
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You can also buy the Merlin now (after you try the Magiqam) and use that untill you need the arm and buy the Arm & Vest later when you have saved a little more.

And there is now a metal gimble upgrade available for Merlin that incresses it's camera capacity to 7lbs.

The gimble upgrade comes with the Vest & Arm, or you can buy it seperatly.

- Mikko
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