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Steadicam Merlin trim/balance question


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#1 Christopher Grosso

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Posted 30 October 2008 - 11:17 PM

I jsut got the Steadicam Merlin for my HVX 200...because of the weight of the camera I bought the arm/vest as well.

I am having some success at balancing the camera but I'm not sure what it's suppose to "feel like" when its perfectly balanced.

When I walk it stays straight but seems to sway from side to side a little if I turn. I have to practice a lot more I realize, but the camera doesn't seem as stable as what Garrett shows on the DVD. I guess the question...basic as it may be...is how do I know when I have the camera perfectly balanced.
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#2 Eric Fletcher S.O.C.

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Posted 31 October 2008 - 12:42 AM

I jsut got the Steadicam Merlin for my HVX 200...because of the weight of the camera I bought the arm/vest as well.

I am having some success at balancing the camera but I'm not sure what it's suppose to "feel like" when its perfectly balanced.

When I walk it stays straight but seems to sway from side to side a little if I turn. I have to practice a lot more I realize, but the camera doesn't seem as stable as what Garrett shows on the DVD. I guess the question...basic as it may be...is how do I know when I have the camera perfectly balanced.



How much have you practiced? this is something that you just pickup and fly, it takes work and practice
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#3 Christopher Grosso

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Posted 31 October 2008 - 09:30 AM

I jsut got the Steadicam Merlin for my HVX 200...because of the weight of the camera I bought the arm/vest as well.

I am having some success at balancing the camera but I'm not sure what it's suppose to "feel like" when its perfectly balanced.

When I walk it stays straight but seems to sway from side to side a little if I turn. I have to practice a lot more I realize, but the camera doesn't seem as stable as what Garrett shows on the DVD. I guess the question...basic as it may be...is how do I know when I have the camera perfectly balanced.



How much have you practiced? this is something that you just pickup and fly, it takes work and practice



Thanks for the response Eric. I just want to make sure that I'm practicing with the camera correctly balanced. To assume that I think I can just fly it out of the box is ridiculous and disrespectful. Typical of some people of forums that like to seem to think that they are the smartest ones in the room and everyone else is beneath them.
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#4 Jerry Holway

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Posted 31 October 2008 - 10:14 AM

Christopher-

Assuming you have a 2 second or so drop time and it hangs upright, try moving the Merlin around without using your "aiming" fingers on the gimbal. When you change directions, stop and start, or change speed, you'll get a little pendular action (go off level, tilt up or down, or both).

You want to prevent this from happening by applying a tiny, tiny bit of pressure on the gimbal. This is one of the first learned skills of operating. You might want to think of this pressure as a preventing "stop" that won't let the Merlin go off level, rather than a moving push.

Regardless of the mental construct, you must practice (After 26 years, I practice, especially with a Merlin, as it is not my usual rig). I suggest you practice with the rig both more and less bottom heavy than "normal" to experience the different feedback the rig gives you, and also, from time to time, play with the Merlin without your aiming hand controlling things, to see what you really must do or not do.

There is no perfect balance, except the balance that helps YOU get YOUR shot.... but it will get better with some diligence, and then the fun begins.

Good luck,

Jerry
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#5 Christopher Grosso

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Posted 31 October 2008 - 12:52 PM

Thanks Jerry. It seem that I have it hanging correctly, but I am getting the slight pendular motion that you mentioned. I just took the rig out to a client to do some practice shots with some decent results. The overriding issue I see is that the camera will sway, so I must practice controlling that better. Thanks again.


Christopher-

Assuming you have a 2 second or so drop time and it hangs upright, try moving the Merlin around without using your "aiming" fingers on the gimbal. When you change directions, stop and start, or change speed, you'll get a little pendular action (go off level, tilt up or down, or both).

You want to prevent this from happening by applying a tiny, tiny bit of pressure on the gimbal. This is one of the first learned skills of operating. You might want to think of this pressure as a preventing "stop" that won't let the Merlin go off level, rather than a moving push.

Regardless of the mental construct, you must practice (After 26 years, I practice, especially with a Merlin, as it is not my usual rig). I suggest you practice with the rig both more and less bottom heavy than "normal" to experience the different feedback the rig gives you, and also, from time to time, play with the Merlin without your aiming hand controlling things, to see what you really must do or not do.

There is no perfect balance, except the balance that helps YOU get YOUR shot.... but it will get better with some diligence, and then the fun begins.

Good luck,

Jerry


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