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Old June 21st, 2007, 09:05 PM   #1
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Merlin question: Does "size" matter?

Currently, I have a Sony HVR-A1U on my Merlin. This is a much smaller camcorder than a Sony Z1 or a Canon A1... My question is this: does the extra weight of these camcorders help that much to "steady" the shot? I've heard that the extra mass will help to give smoother shots (but more fatigued arms). Right now I'm having trouble getting really smooth pans and walking shots (although I'm practicing)...

Thanks,
dave
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Old June 22nd, 2007, 12:28 AM   #2
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Hi Dave,

Just an opinion, but I don't think a heavier camera is much help.
(The XH-A1 is right on the upper limit for a Merlin)
I actually thought a slightly lighter camera would make it easier(!)

Either way, it takes tons of practice and tons of patience.
But the first time you nail a good moving shot it will be worth it.

All the best,

David
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Old June 22nd, 2007, 12:48 AM   #3
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Glidecam 4000pro has a weight limit of about 10 lbs per the manufacturer... Just the stock A1 is EXTREMELY CHALLENGING to balance correctly...
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Old June 22nd, 2007, 02:35 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by David Koo View Post
...does the extra weight of these camcorders help that much to "steady" the shot?
Hi David, I find it is easier to keep a larger, heavier camcorder "steady" on my Merlin; the Sony Z1 and Canon A1 are a good size and weight.

Conversely, if I get out of practice, my forearm starts to shake after 10-15 minutes...
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Old June 22nd, 2007, 04:09 AM   #5
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I agree with Tom that a heavier camcorder makes for smoother Merlin shots, although the extra mass makes turning a little trickier. After 6 months of practice with an FX1 I'm also finding that I can shoot for longer without tiring so much. I recently shot a rehearsal of a musical using the Merlin/FX1 for over two hours, on and off, and I could still use my right arm the next day.
A few weeks ago I bought a tiny Sony HDR-HC7 palmcorder and managed to get it balanced on the Merlin fairly easily, but it was like starting from scratch, and I'm still struggling to get shots with it that are as smooth as with the FX1 - practice I guess.
The main problem I noticed with the smaller camcorder is that it is more easily affected by the wind - the LCD panel is proportionately larger on a palmcorder in relation to the body and seems to act like a sail. I'm hoping the addition of a large capacity battery and a wide angle adaptor will improve the handling.
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Old June 22nd, 2007, 05:09 AM   #6
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Thanks for the responses....

In my setup, I find that everything seems so light that everything from wind to slight left hand corrections near the gimble transmits some movement... I am definitely not getting anything as smooth as this video from Nick (who flies a FX7, I believe)... INCREDIBLE VIDEO, BTW!

http://dvinfo.net/conf/showthread.php?t=96767

dave
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