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Old April 28th, 2009, 06:25 AM   #1
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Anyone using Merlin/XH-A! and Manfrotto 577 QR

Anyone using a Merlin with a Canon XH-A1 and a Manfrotto 577 Quick Release?

I added the manfrotto 577 Quick release to the mix to try and make for quick changes betwen tripod/glidetrack/merlin.

I had it balanced quite nicely, now, it has gone to pot.

My suspicion is that adding the Manfrotto quick release has shifted the centre of gravity way up and made it too top heavy.

Anyone got this combo working?
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Old April 28th, 2009, 09:24 AM   #2
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Hi Alastair,

I went through the same process and I think you're right - the change in the center of gravity by adding another adapter throws everything off. I went back to the Glidecam 2000 because quick changes were too important to the way I work.

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Originally Posted by Alastair Brown View Post
Anyone using a Merlin with a Canon XH-A1 and a Manfrotto 577 Quick Release?

I added the manfrotto 577 Quick release to the mix to try and make for quick changes betwen tripod/glidetrack/merlin.

I had it balanced quite nicely, now, it has gone to pot.

My suspicion is that adding the Manfrotto quick release has shifted the centre of gravity way up and made it too top heavy.

Anyone got this combo working?
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Old April 28th, 2009, 09:33 AM   #3
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Can you fellas describe what you mean with this issue? You are physically unable to balance the camera on your Merlins because...?

You've lowered the spar all the way, added weights and still it is top-heavy?
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Old April 28th, 2009, 09:36 AM   #4
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Actually.....Problem Solved!

You need to make use of the tripod adapter plate that comes with the Merlin.

Screw this adapter plate to the removable slide plate for your Manfrotto 577.

The ONLY thing your XH-A1 should have on it, is the thin clamp plate with quick release handle, that attaches it to the platform on the Merlin.

When you want to move the camera from Merlin to tripod, you then undo the Merlin quick release, and then re-clamp it onto the Merlin adapter plate that is sitting already attached to your Manfrotto mount or quick release tripod plate.

I had looked at that plate and wondered how/where it worked. Another case of read the manual (although it's not actually that clear)
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Old April 28th, 2009, 10:23 AM   #5
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Good thought Alistair. Theoretically to further simplify matters, you might just get some spares of the tripod adaptor plate ($19.95 on the Tiffen site). Thus you could eliminate the redundant Manfrotto assembly from your tripod, glidetrack etc.
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Old April 28th, 2009, 02:13 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Charles Papert View Post
Theoretically to further simplify matters, you might just get some spares of the tripod adaptor plate ($19.95 on the Tiffen site). Thus you could eliminate the redundant Manfrotto assembly from your tripod, glidetrack etc.
Have you any idea how painful that was to read having just forked out a small fortune on three manfrottos.......OUCH!

You are SPOT on. A much neater/lighter and more elegant solution. Cheers.

Can you post a link to them, as I can't see anything.

Anyone want to buy a Manfrotto mount?
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Old April 28th, 2009, 02:26 PM   #7
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Alastair:

Here is the pricing page on the Merlin bits and pieces:

http://www.steadicam.com/images/cont...rlin_11309.pdf

801-7950 is the tripod adaptor plate.

There is more fore-aft adjustment in the Manfrotto plate especially if you got their long camera plate, but the genius is that if you are using this with your Merlin, you will have found the CG of the camera and mounted its plate spot on, so the limited travel of the tripod adaptor plate should give you more than enough leeway to mount the camera nice and balanced on your other devices (which will be more forgiving of a slightly imbalanced load anyway, should it come to that).
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Old April 28th, 2009, 03:13 PM   #8
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The problem I had using the merlin adapter plates on more than one device was the problem of having to fine-tune it every time I switched back to the merlin from a monopod or tripod. Unlike the bogen adapter, which has one possible position, the merlin adapter must be positioned according to the scale on the stage very precisely for the balance to be correct. Most of the time I just don't have time to fiddle with balancing throughout the day. Or maybe I totally missed something when I tested this out?




Quote:
Originally Posted by Charles Papert View Post
Alastair:

Here is the pricing page on the Merlin bits and pieces:

http://www.steadicam.com/images/cont...rlin_11309.pdf

801-7950 is the tripod adaptor plate.

There is more fore-aft adjustment in the Manfrotto plate especially if you got their long camera plate, but the genius is that if you are using this with your Merlin, you will have found the CG of the camera and mounted its plate spot on, so the limited travel of the tripod adaptor plate should give you more than enough leeway to mount the camera nice and balanced on your other devices (which will be more forgiving of a slightly imbalanced load anyway, should it come to that).
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Old April 28th, 2009, 04:53 PM   #9
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With the Bogen piece you have the possibility of sliding it anywhere on its range, no? It's not a "drop-in" from the top arrangement that locks it in a single position, unless I am mistaken.

In any case and with either device, a couple of pieces of tape and a sharpie will let you make a registration mark that should make relocating the camera a breeze. You might have to do a tiny fore-aft adjustment but not much more than that.
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Old April 28th, 2009, 06:12 PM   #10
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I use this:

801-7950 Tripod Adapter Plate | B&H Photo Video


Yes, you have to do a minor adjustment every time you take the camera off of the Merlin, but it seriously only takes 30 seconds or less usually so it's not a big deal. The Merlin kit comes with one of these, by the way.
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Old April 28th, 2009, 06:31 PM   #11
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Same part number, same part. But $1.50 cheaper at B&H, not too shabby (and a DVinfo sponsor to boot)!
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Old April 28th, 2009, 08:02 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Alastair Brown View Post
Actually.....Problem Solved!

You need to make use of the tripod adapter plate that comes with the Merlin.

Screw this adapter plate to the removable slide plate for your Manfrotto 577.

The ONLY thing your XH-A1 should have on it, is the thin clamp plate with quick release handle, that attaches it to the platform on the Merlin.

When you want to move the camera from Merlin to tripod, you then undo the Merlin quick release, and then re-clamp it onto the Merlin adapter plate that is sitting already attached to your Manfrotto mount or quick release tripod plate.

I had looked at that plate and wondered how/where it worked. Another case of read the manual (although it's not actually that clear)

Had to read that a few times to figure out what exactly you are doing there. To help people understand better, 'thin clamp plate' Alastair talking about is the dovetail plate (steadicam terminology) of the merlin.

Thank you for this post Alastair. All these time, I wondered what's the use of that plate. Now I know :-)

Believe it or not, I successfully (I think) had my merlin balanced with the 577 quick release plate attached to it. When I attached the camera to the merlin (via the quick release) I slide the camera all the way back to the quick release and then lock it. This minimize the weight shift hence minimize the need to re-balance every time camera goes on the merlin. Yes, like others, I also have to do some fine tuning. But that can be done rather quickly.

One major issue I had with this set-up is the inability to add a LED light panel on top of the A1 due to weight constraints. Attaching the quick release unit to the merlin pushed it weight capacity to the limit that I was unable to add any additional accessories.

But thanks to your post, I can now take off the quick release and add an light instead.

Btw, thanks for the prompt shipment of my Glidetrack. Did some test shoot with it the other day and just LOVE IT! Meaning to ask you a question. Do you happen to sell some sort of clip/lock for the slider to prevent it from sliding during transportation. I have a 501 head attached so it becomes quite heavy. For now, I'm planning to push the slider to one of the ends and insert a screw in the thread close to the edge. This will limit the slide during transportation. Just wondering if you are selling any proper lock/clip unit. Thanks.
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Old April 28th, 2009, 08:29 PM   #13
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Just a thought for everyone who is wrestling with some of the balance issues touched on here:

The drop time (top/bottom heaviness) of the rig is dependent on two factors; the masses at either end of the sled (camera and weights) themselves and their distance from the gimbal. As you have seen, it is possible to affect the drop time by either opening and closing the caliper, or by adding or removing weights. For a heavy camera, it is generally better to use the least amount of weights possible and the largest arc, as that will minimize the strain on the arm. For a light camera, adding weights is better (although it is best to beef up the camera itself if possible rather than just weighting down the base).

The height of the camera is itself a factor, and this is where the quick release comes in. The QR may not be adding much weight but it gives the appearance of this as you find the rig suddenly becoming top heavy due to the shift of masses. Your best bet, especially with a heavy camera is to effectively shift the gimbal closer to the camera. With a larger rig, this is an easy manuever as you slide it up the post. With the Merlin, outside of the subtle trimming at the gimbal itself you are somewhat stuck with the given relationship, hence extending the caliper and as a last resort, adding more bottom weights (or as we have discussed here, jettison the QR).

Things like camera lights are especially snarky as they live on top of the camera, shifting the center of gravity quite high even if they are fairly light.

One great and often overlooked weapon is the plate that replaces the weights at the bottom of the rig. With this you can re-organize some of the accessories (wireless mike receivers, hard drives) that currently live up at the camera down to the bottom, which will result in a lighter rig=longer flying time for you.
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