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Steadicam Merlin Question

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#1 Mstone


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Posted 08 December 2005 - 05:01 PM

Is it possible to operate with an external lcd in your non operating hand and an rca attached to the camera (not physically/operationally, but in terms of the balance of the rig itself)? Does this throw off the balance of the rig (at all, just a little, severely)? I'm considering the Merlin for my DVX100 and there are some situations where the on camera lcd is not really usable. Is this a suitable workaround? Thanks.

Matt Serrins
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#2 RobVanGelder


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Posted 08 December 2005 - 09:09 PM

Hi Matt, as this is your first appearance here on this forum, please take your time to look around and read as much as possible.

Then you will find many discussions about cables, how they hinder us in operation, also with big steadicam rigs, but also how you can get around or "manage" them.

In answer to your question: yes, it will affect the performance and as the camera/rig is already very lightweight so anything hanging off will pull it to that side.

But you can try to lead the smallest, thinnest cable you can find in a nice curve behind the camera and then, without touching the platform or camera other then on the RCA connector, through your handpalm from the hand you hold the handle.
you have to experiment with the slack of the cable here.

But beware: the fact that Steadicam works is for a big part because you have a visual AND physical connection with your camera/rig and the screen you use to frame. The moment you detach that screen, so your handmovements are not related to your screen movements (not what´s on your screen, but the screen itself) you can become disorientated , like video-googles that block the view on the real world.
Try it.

Edited by RobVanGelder, 08 December 2005 - 09:14 PM.

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#3 Mstone


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Posted 09 December 2005 - 12:35 AM

Hi Rob,

Thanks for the reply. I did a cursory search of the archives, but obviously not enough. I really do appreciate your reply and will read further. I'm also gonna try it out and see how it goes.

Interestingly enough, I talked to Frank Rush at Tiffen/Steadicam, and he mentioned that it would be theoretically possible to mount a very lightweight monitor and battery pack where the weights sit on the Merlin. However, a mount would have to be fabricated for the 15/32 threads of the weights. Also, I assume the monitor would have to sit in line with the merlin itself, not off to the side? Maybe someone with more skill than I will create this accessory in the future.

Anyway, thanks again for the info.

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#4 Matt Mouraud

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Posted 09 December 2005 - 09:53 AM

Hi there Matt, from another Matt :P
Garrett Brown played extensively with his Merlin (the sole prototype) at the Paris workshop and this thing does some pretty incredible things (Garrett and the Merlin :lol: ). It seems to be designed for the smallest camcorders out there, and I would have loved bringing one to Afghanistan. Anyways, we mentionned to him this lack of monitor support and he told us that most of those tiny camcorders do have a built-in screen that is usually brighter and of better quality than what you can find around. Furthermore it helps balancing the Merlin.
The DVX100 is a pretty large camcorder to be held like this, I think it will wear you out very quickly... Have you considered something with a vest/arm such as the Steadicam Flyer or Glidecam SoothShooter ?
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#5 Mstone


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Posted 09 December 2005 - 01:42 PM

I've considered the flyer and smooth shooter, but unfortunately I can't afford either. And given the projects I will use it for (short films), it's really cost prohibitive to rent a dolly, build a skateboard dolly, or buy/rent a larger rig with a vest. Also, my project requires a fairly low profile. A full rig may bring too much attention. The merlin seems like the lightest handheld option, so I think I have to deal with fatigue.

Maybe I will bite the bullet and use the in camera monitor but I could also run a rca cable down the handle onto my arm and mount a ultra light (4oz) monitor on my wrist. Not sure how much the cable would affect operation?

Anyway, thanks for the info.

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