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Steadicam Merlin v.s. Pilot - Wobble


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#1 Elliot Gabor

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Posted 12 October 2011 - 09:51 AM

I currently own the Merlin with arm and vest. I'm noticing from footage i've seen of the pilot that it appears to be a lot less susceptible to side to side wobble. What is it about the pilot that helps in this regard? Is it the length of the sled or the depth of the bottom counterbalance or maybe it's just the way the gimbal is designed that makes it easier to use without accidentally wobbling it?

What are some tips setup or operational to limit the amount of wobble I experience with the Merlin?

I'm using the Merlin with the 5D II and either the 24 1.4 or 24-70 2.8 @ 24. Is my camera too heavy for the Merlin?

Edited by Elliot Gabor, 12 October 2011 - 09:53 AM.

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#2 Sam Morgan Moore

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Posted 13 October 2011 - 04:16 PM

I currently own the Merlin with arm and vest. I'm noticing from footage i've seen of the pilot that it appears to be a lot less susceptible to side to side wobble. What is it about the pilot that helps in this regard? Is it the length of the sled or the depth of the bottom counterbalance or maybe it's just the way the gimbal is designed that makes it easier to use without accidentally wobbling it?

What are some tips setup or operational to limit the amount of wobble I experience with the Merlin?

I'm using the Merlin with the 5D II and either the 24 1.4 or 24-70 2.8 @ 24. Is my camera too heavy for the Merlin?


Your rig is kept stable by inertia

Inertia is Mass X distance from gimbal Squared

A Pilot typically has twice the mass, double the distance from the gimbal, that makes it 16X more stable than the Merlin

As for the 5d and those lenses.. they are fine on the merlin Id use the 24 prime as you might find the zoom mechanisim in the other lens causes 'jitter'

Its a bit lighter too and easier on the arm

S
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#3 Elliot Gabor

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Posted 17 October 2011 - 08:46 AM

Thanks, this helped. So what your saying is that the heavier my camera is (and the greater the distance between the camera and counterbalancing weights), the less susceptible to wobble it would be?

I'm probably pretty close to the weight limit of the Merlin but based on what you are saying, it's preferable to use all Steadicams just under their maximum recommended weight (fatigue aspect aside). If I were to mount a really light camera to the Merlin, it would be more stable if I somehow increased the weight of said camera?


Thanks Again!
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#4 Sam Morgan Moore

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Posted 17 October 2011 - 11:52 PM

yes, using a small camera you could mount it on a small block and lift it up a little and increase the inertia

but considering the toughness of the merlin and the fatigue of operating (no vest) I would not bother

I would enjoy the merlin for what it is and consider a bigger rig for more demanding shots/cameras

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#5 Elliot Gabor

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Posted 18 October 2011 - 11:48 AM

Now that I am realizing the limitations of the Merlin I'm wondering how much it would cost to upgrade to the pilot. I have the arm/vest which I hear is the same as the pilot. Can anyone confirm this? Is the connection on the arm the same for the merlin and the pilot? Will I need to buy an adapter or anything or can I just buy the pilot sled and use the arm and vest as is?

Edited by Elliot Gabor, 18 October 2011 - 11:49 AM.

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#6 Brian Freesh

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Posted 18 October 2011 - 11:52 AM

The arm and vest are the same, except the post on the merlin arm is longer and turns to a 45 degree angle. the real issue though is that you can't buy just the pilot sled, it only comes in the package with the arm and the vest. Unfortunate, but true.
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#7 Elliot Gabor

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Posted 18 October 2011 - 12:09 PM

Isn't this just the sled?

http://www.bhphotovi...led_Camera.html
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#8 Sam Morgan Moore

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Posted 18 October 2011 - 12:53 PM

I think I managed to wangle just the sled :)

Remember the main 'limitation' of the Merlin is probably still your operating !

Edited by Sam Morgan Moore, 18 October 2011 - 12:54 PM.

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#9 Brian Freesh

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Posted 18 October 2011 - 01:18 PM

Ha, despite the fact that the specifications say there is an arm, it does appear to be just the sled. The one review indicates such. That's awesome, I was wrong, go get your sled.

What bothers me is that the review is over 2 years old, which means not only that I was wrong today, but that I probably knew at some point you could get just the sled!
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#10 Elliot Gabor

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Posted 18 October 2011 - 01:20 PM

I agree, any bad footage coming from the merlin is probably due to not operating it precisely enough. I get some very nice results in controlled environments, however I wish the wobble was more forgiving for event work. I always felt the full size rigs seemed more stable and now I understand why.

Ha don't sweat it. Do I need to buy the pilot arm post to replace my merlin arm post?

Edited by Elliot Gabor, 18 October 2011 - 01:22 PM.

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#11 ryan t jenkins

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Posted 04 November 2011 - 12:20 PM

so to recap the main lesson from this thread, having a taller sled, that weighs more, helps reduce the wobble in a rig? Even if the camera is further away from the gimble? I must not understand a fundamental aspect of things, as i figured the camera being as close as possible to gimble would reduce wobble.
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