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Old July 23rd, 2007, 12:10 AM   #1
Inner Circle
Join Date: Feb 2007
Location: Tucson AZ
Posts: 2,159
I'm learning to use the Merlin and...

I have a couple of questions for the experts

I think it's going reasonably well. I was having all kinds of problems balancing the camera (GL-2 with wide angle adapter and large battery) until I started playing with the spreadsheets on their site. The way the use of the spreadsheet was explained gave me a better idea of the function and effect of each part of the unit and I think I was able to get it balanced fairly quickly

First trial run was (as expected) a disaster! Swaying, bobbing, weaving, bouncing, you name it. Enough to make you seasick watching the footage.

By about the third day, though, things were looking up. I've gotten some good pans, and have managed to climb stairs fairly smoothly.

The thing that's eluding me at the moment though is how to prevent side to side swaying. This seems to be my biggest problem, and I'd really welcome any suggestions.

I'm also wondering if there is any practical way to zoom while shooting, or to adjust the zoom without having a lot of wild gyrations after touching the zoom control. Same for turning the camera on or off - It wants to swing around quite a bit after touching the start/stop button. I've found that using the button on top of the handle seems to induce less movement, but it still isn't pretty.

Seems to me that it would be really nice to have Lanc or other controller on the handle but don't know if it would be practical.

I'd also thought of using the Canon remote control in the left hand to start and stop the camera, but haven't yet had the chance to see if this would work.

By the way, I've noticed that with the large battery and wide angle adapter, the camera sits far enough back on the plate that the bubble level is not visible.

Any comments, suggestions, etc would be most welcome.

Last edited by Jim Andrada; July 23rd, 2007 at 12:14 AM. Reason: Fix some typos
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Old July 23rd, 2007, 01:25 AM   #2
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Join Date: Jul 2004
Location: Juneau, Alaska, USA
Posts: 624
Agreed about the bubble, but it's only really usefull when balancing and if still or traveling for-aft (sideways movement throws it off)

Lots of practice is the big thing.

A slower drop time will make the rig less likly to "pendulum" (as it's not a bottom heavy). But it give you less feedback too. Experiement with just the "Z" adjustment to see what you prefer. - It's very subtle.

The best option for start-stop control is the IR remote (Ha! It does have a use!), hoever zoom is a different matter.

The Merlin's handle is so small that attaching any sort of controller there is impractical at best (i've done it) plus that the wire from the controller would influence the rig. Unfortunatly there isn't much that can be done about this, especially as there arn't any wireless LANC controllers (that I knwo of) on the market, and if ther where, they'd probabaly be too large for Merlin's handle.

For simple changes in zoom, the remote again is the best option so you don't have to re-steady the camera afterwards, but that won't help you while you are rolling tape.

Try out the remote to see how the control it offers works for you. Experiement with drop time and keep practicing and you'll have the thign mooving so fluidly and stable that the bubble wont' matter and you'll never want to stop recoding again! (Untill that large battery runs out)

- Mikko
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