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Glidecam or Merlin for the Panasonic HVX 200?


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#1 David Sunderland

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Posted 26 September 2007 - 05:19 AM

Hi everyone,

Just about to buy either a Glidecam 4000 or a Merlin stedicam for the HVX 200. At the moment my budget will only allow to buy the main part and I will have to buy the shoulder add ons at a later date.

Is it just me or do all the test shot videos indicate that the footage is actually smoother at flying with the Glidecam, even if it is harder to set up?

Also I've heard a few things about the merlin having parts made out of plastic and parts that will become loose with a camera the size and weight of the HVX 200.

Would be very grateful if anyone with experience using either one with the HVX 200 had any information or opinions.

Thank you.

David
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#2 David Sunderland

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Posted 26 September 2007 - 06:00 AM

Hi everyone,

Just about to buy either a Glidecam 4000 or a Merlin stedicam for the HVX 200. At the moment my budget will only allow to buy the main part and I will have to buy the shoulder add ons at a later date.

Is it just me or do all the test shot videos indicate that the footage is actually smoother at flying with the Glidecam, even if it is harder to set up?

Also I've heard a few things about the merlin having parts made out of plastic and parts that will become loose with a camera the size and weight of the HVX 200.

Would be very grateful if anyone with experience using either one with the HVX 200 had any information or opinions.

Thank you.

David
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#3 Robert Starling SOC

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Posted 26 September 2007 - 10:19 AM

Also I've heard a few things about the merlin having parts made out of plastic and parts that will become loose with a camera the size and weight of the HVX 200.
Would be very grateful if anyone with experience using either one with the HVX 200 had any information or opinions.


Check out the new Merlin Vest and Arm. The HVX is a bit heavy for handheld very long on any device so you'll want to have an arm. That new Merlin arm gives you the same features, feel and results as the Flyer arm and is well made. It's a nice entry level vest as well. I flew it for two days in the Tiffen booth at CES and then again a little bit during NAB. I posted some of the images and a short review on the DVXuser.com forum back then and I think Mikko Wilson did too. For a small stabilizer the system, it looks well built to me and at least with my big rig, Tiffen has had excellent customer service and warranty repair when needed.

I don't know what footage you've seen but unless you really know the operator(s) you can't judge the quality of the stabilizer based on what someone else shot.
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#4 RobinThwaites

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Posted 26 September 2007 - 11:13 AM

Hi David

The HVX is a bit of a lump for handheld, worse if you want to add accessories. If you can run to the Merlin with the arm and vest it would be better, it also gets you the new metal gimbal. Call me in Oxford if you want to chat 01869 343835.

Best
Robin
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#5 David Sunderland

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Posted 26 September 2007 - 12:12 PM

Thank you for your replies.

Sorry can't get to the phone, but I have a few more questions about the Merlin and would be grateful for any replies.

* Are you able to shoot from above on a 90 degree angle?

* Where can I purchase it in the UK for a good price? On the steadicam.com website it costs $849 which means in the UK it should be approx £430, but it seems much more expensive everwhere I look.

Finally, either way I am going to purchase the Merlin with a view to get the arm and vest at a later date.

Thank you

David
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#6 RobinThwaites

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Posted 27 September 2007 - 07:32 AM

Hi David

* Are you able to shoot from above on a 90 degree angle?

Not quite sure I understand, do you mean pointing straight down? I am out of the office for a few days but if you e-mail me at robin.thwaites@tiffen.com I will pick it up on my phone.

* Where can I purchase it in the UK for a good price? On the steadicam.com website it costs $849 which means in the UK it should be approx £430, but it seems much more expensive everwhere I look.

Depands on the retailer but don't forget the freight, duty and VAT. Merlins are relatively quite expensive to ship compared to the price.

Best
Robin
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#7 Kevin Mueller

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Posted 20 October 2007 - 08:23 PM

David,

If you are planning to fly the HVX200 on a Merlin, it will have to be the camera only and no accessories. No matte box, microphone or anything. I have flown one and it does work fine but you need to have strong arms if you are flying for more than a few minutes at a time. I have noticed that my original plastic Merlin gimbal has become a little loose as a result if flying a heavy camera. I would recommend getting the arm and vest which comes with the metal gimbal upgrade if you can afford it. This will also increase the maximum payload of the merlin so you may be able to add some accessories to the HVX.

My personal preference for the HVX is the Steadicam Flyer. It feels and flies like a big rig but is light enough to fly for hours and not get tired. You can also balance it in low-mode which isn't possible with the Merlin arm and vest.

With regard to shooting 90 degrees down, you can do it with the Merlin but NOT when it is mounted on the arm because you wouldn't be able to tilt the gimbal handle. The best you can get is about 45 degrees up and down. Again, the weight of the HVX becomes an issue when trying to control a tilt at such an extreme angle and it will stress the plastic gimbal.

Good luck,
Kevin
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#8 Mike McGowan SOC

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Posted 20 October 2007 - 11:07 PM

I shot a low budget feature with an HVX 200 and my steadicam operator used a Glide cam. It worked great. You can see the trailer for the movie here:

http://mikemcgowan.net/dpreel.html

click on the link for hip hop kidz.

mm.

if the link doesnt work, go to: mikemcgowan.net and click on director of photography, dp real, hip hop kidz.
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