Why does my Merlin rock so much? at DVinfo.net

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Old April 16th, 2007, 09:31 PM   #1
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Why does my Merlin rock so much?

I just got my Merlin a few days ago, but I'm having problems with it rocking back and forth as I move. Does this mean that I am too top heavy? Or too bottom heavy? What could be the cause of this? I'm using it with a Canon Optura 300, thanks.
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Old April 16th, 2007, 09:49 PM   #2
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What's the drop time?

It sounds like it is too bottom heavy.

A 2 second drop time really makes the Merlin float.
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Old April 16th, 2007, 11:16 PM   #3
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What's the drop time?

It sounds like it is too bottom heavy.

A 2 second drop time really makes the Merlin float.
What exactly do you mean by drop time? Are you referring to when the camera is sort of flipped off balance and then returns to a level position?
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Old April 16th, 2007, 11:23 PM   #4
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Also, I can make it level as it holds still, but as soon as I move it just a bit the camera goes wobbling all over the place. I guess this isn't really giving any new information, but I was wondering if the problem is the setup or my lack of experience in moving with the stabilizer.
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Old April 17th, 2007, 12:04 AM   #5
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When you accelerate, deccelerate, go around corners you have to squeeze the gimbal really gently to stop the sway. This is something that you will get better at with lots of practice.
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Old April 17th, 2007, 12:43 AM   #6
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Glenn, I hate to sound pedantic, but if you just got your Merlin, the concept of drop time (or drop test) should be part of your new vocabulary--have you watched the video and/or thoroughly read the manual? (hint: p. 24!!). There's a lot to getting to the hang of this device, and the documentation is thorough and essential.

What you describe is potentially a balance issue, but more likely "new operator-itis", and you may be overcontrolling the rig. Try walking with little or no pressure on the gimbal at all and see if it behaves itself better--once you get started walking, actually release your fingers from the gimbal to see if your influence is what is causing the problems. This is not an operating technique, more a litmus test.
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Old April 17th, 2007, 06:42 AM   #7
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Thanks for the response.

So basically once the camera is balanced while it's still, it is essentially balanced correctly? Right? And the rest is up to the operator, right?

Sorry to be redundant, but I'm still a bit confused as to how to know if the rocking is due to my operation or simply bad camera/merlin balance. Is holding onto the gimbal essential to prevent this from every single gentle movement? I'll check out the manual again, and play with it a lot more to see....

Last edited by Glenn Gipson; April 17th, 2007 at 08:38 AM.
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Old April 17th, 2007, 08:45 AM   #8
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I figured it out. I added more weight to the bottom and that helped, but the real problem is that I'm not holding onto the gimbal good enough when moving it. It's all practice from here on out. Thanks guys.
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Old April 17th, 2007, 10:27 AM   #9
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Glad to hear Glenn. So just to make sure, because adding weight to the bottom can give a false sense of stability, you did the drop test and it timed out to be about 1 second?

Also, as I think has been indicated here, "holding on to the gimbal" is the really subtle part of operating a Merlin--too little (or not at all!) will cause the rig to wander aimlessly, too much will result in rough looking, overcontrolled footage. The difference between the two is fractional. A feather-light guiding touch is all that is needed, although there are times when you need to apply just a bit more momentary pressure and other times when you dial back to essentially none. As you say, this will all come with practice.
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Old April 17th, 2007, 11:10 AM   #10
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One of the quickest ways to note the differences in setup is by doing a drop down test and then practicing. Just watch the DVD and it will explain it well.

Also, when you start to move with the Merlin it helps to bring it up and down just a little. This is demonstrated on the DVD when the operators are in the stairwell. This helps it stay balanced when starting and stopping.

I prefer a longer drop time (about 2 seconds) with vx2100, but your mileage may vary depending on your operating style and situation.
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Old April 17th, 2007, 12:44 PM   #11
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About that drop test....

I did it and the camera goes to the upright position in something like less than a second. The camera then continues to rock back and forth for a bit before leveling off. I'm assuming this is a drop test, right?
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Old April 17th, 2007, 02:11 PM   #12
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Glenn,

Consider the lower weight of the Merlin to be pointing at 6 O'clock when at rest (properly balanced). The drop test is when you tilt the rig so the lower weight is pointing at 3 O'clock (or 9). When you let go, time how long it takes the weight to sweep past 6 O'clock again - not come to rest.

As you describe it, you've got a drop time of less than a second, which is extremely fast.
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Old April 17th, 2007, 02:33 PM   #13
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Glenn,

Consider the lower weight of the Merlin to be pointing at 6 O'clock when at rest (properly balanced). The drop test is when you tilt the rig so the lower weight is pointing at 3 O'clock (or 9). When you let go, time how long it takes the weight to sweep past 6 O'clock again - not come to rest.

As you describe it, you've got a drop time of less than a second, which is extremely fast.

Ahhh, thank you, I understand now. My footage is still wobbly, and this is probably a big reason why.
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Old April 17th, 2007, 07:49 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by Glenn Gipson View Post
I'm assuming this is a drop test, right?
Brother, I'm telling you...read the manual cover to cover, watch the DVD...even if you are the kind of guy that refuses to read directions (like most). This is not an intuitive machine to operate. A fast drop time probably isn't the cause of your wobbles.
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Old April 17th, 2007, 08:15 PM   #15
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Glenn, I agree with Charles, when I first got the Merlin I probably read the manual 5 times. There is so much info to assimilate.
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