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Wedding / Event Videography Techniques
Shooting non-repeatable events: weddings, recitals, plays, performances...


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Old November 27th, 2010, 07:32 AM   #16
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I have used a Manfrotto 577 QR adaptor with 501PL plate on both a Canon XH-A1 & Canon 5DII on both the Merlin & the DV Multirig Pro. http://www.amazon.co.uk/MANFROTTO-577-ADAPTER-SLIDING-PLATE/dp/B00009XV3M/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=electronics&qid=1290864537&sr=8-1
Here is a nice video tutorial from Vladimir Chaloupka on using the 5DII with a Merlin & he too uses the Manfrotto 577 QR adaptor
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Old November 28th, 2010, 12:40 AM   #17
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Ana, my Merlin kit came with 1 of those tripod plates. I'm not sure if the kits still come with that plate or not, but I'm sure you could find out pretty easily. On B&H the kit will specify everything that it comes with.

To be honest, regarding the weight, if the Merlin doesn't work out for you I think B&H accepts returns within 7 days or something like that. You could always order it and try it out and see. d;-)
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Old November 28th, 2010, 09:22 AM   #18
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Hello, Ana.

I shoot on a XHA1s and Glidecam HD4000. This is what I can tell you by experience and you probably won't be thrilled at the cost.

For a set-up that is actually usable and sustainable for a wedding you are going to need the X-10 vest/arms and Canon quick release plates that are $140.00 a pop. The quick release plate on the HD4000 is not for run and gun situations, but more realistically to make it easier to balance the camera/set-up. It doesn't dock with anything else but the HD4000. The Canon quick release plates allows you to hang your Glidecam, release the camera with a lever, and place your camera on another Canon plate on your tripod, slider, etc. These plates lock solid and are a must to keep your Glidecam balanced and your camera quickly available to other types of stabilization. I've tried other quick release plates that are cheaper, wasted a bunch of money, and ended up with the system I am telling you about. The X-10 vest is the only way to get prime results with full motion. Anything else has considerable limitations. The XHA1 is just too heavy for handheld stabilization in anything but short bursts and that doesn't work at a live event.

John
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Old November 28th, 2010, 12:33 PM   #19
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For the DSLR's, the best quick releases are made by Really Right Stuff, who have specific plates for each camera. DSLR's tend to not have the secondary pilot hole that keep the camera from rotating on the plate but the RRS brackets wrap slightly around the body, providing a solid lock. Since these guys come from a photo background, alternate brackets are available that allow you to additionally mount the cameras sideways in portrait mode. They are beautifully machined and well worth it. I l learned about these from Shane Hurlbut and have been using them exclusively with my DSLR setups.

I'm a little surprised to hear that there has been little discussion here of the arm and vest combo available for the Merlin, which was designed partially with event shooters in mind. While I'm much more a fan of the Pilot sled than the Merlin, it does function well enough and certainly relieves the burden in the hands quite well. With relatively light setups like you guys are discussing the performance of the arm becomes very critical--the Steadicam brand arms are light years ahead of the competition in this regard.
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Old November 28th, 2010, 01:13 PM   #20
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Boy, I wish I could have waited and got the Merlin vest/arm, Charles. It was a budgetary decision at the time to get the Glidecam set-up, which is a servicable option, but the more I shoot the more important the engineering has become. My next upgrade - funds permitting, but eventually - will be to join the Steadicam family. Looking on the bright side, I'll be able to have a decent comparitive discussion in the future.

Thanks for all the valuable information you have posted present and past, Charles, as I think I have read most of it and learned a lot in the process. I've read from this site for a couple of years before I joined.
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Old November 29th, 2010, 02:08 AM   #21
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The arm & vest for the Merlin costs more than double what the Merlin itself costs. The arm & vest is the self-same one that is used for the Pilot. To my mind it makes more sense if you are going to be using & arm & vest with the extra hassle that involves that you use it with a Pilot which is a better rig to fly.

The Merlin is great for what it was designed for i.e. hand held use. If that limits you in terms of how large a camera or how long you can use it for then that is the price you pay for the convenience of not needing an arm & vest & being able to swiftly move to & from a tripod.
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Old November 29th, 2010, 09:21 AM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Travis Cossel View Post
I just had to chime in since we used to use the XHA1 with the Merlin before we switched to 7D's. It is totally possible to use the XHA1 with the Merlin, and possible to use it without the vest/arm. ;-)
I've been using the Merlin/ XH-A1 combo for 3 years. It is a heavy combination but works great for the limited amount of steadicam shots I take during a typical wedding shoot. The Merlin kit comes with the adapter plate so you can quickly swap back and forth to a tripod or monopod. You can find the "cookbook" receipes on line for balancing differrent cams including the A1. Take your time to setup your camera correctly and you'll be happy with the result.
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Old December 2nd, 2010, 11:21 AM   #23
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Just to come back to my final decision!

I went with the Merlin for now with the hope of adding a canon 7D next year to give me ultimate flexibility.

i bought a new Merlin on ebay for 600 euro deliver to Ireland Included :)

thanks again to everyone who contributed here and hopefully it will help other videographers
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Old December 2nd, 2010, 02:32 PM   #24
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Congrats! Now comes the fun part. I find the shots addicting as you get the hang of it.
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Old December 3rd, 2010, 01:43 AM   #25
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Congrats! Now comes the fun part. I find the shots addicting as you get the hang of it.
You make a good point. Playing golf is supposed to be addictive because every so often even the biggest duffer is able to hit a brilliant shot by accident. So the golfer thinks "All I need to do is practice more so that I can do that consistently" Likewise with the Steadicam because every so often when you manage to get it balanced just right & there is no wind & you are travelling in the direction that the Steadicam wants to point you get a brilliant shot by accident & then you think "All I need to do is practice more so that I can do that consistently".
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