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STEADICAM SOLUTION FOR GH2
  • I wonder if anyone tried using steadicams with micro43? It should or should not make sense given our lightweight bodies. I bought a Glidecam pro 200 after Manfrotto's 585 modo didn't work completely (you can have your camera balanced when you are standing still only). So what are the options? I heard somebody was using Glidecam HD1000 with better results. It does have better controls for setting up the weights. It is important because one can't spend 2 hours balancing the system before going out to shoot. So if anybody is able to share his experience on this matter — please do that. Btw theoretically speaking which camera is easier to stabilize: heavier or lighter? My GH2 with 20mm pancake weighs almost nothing, but I can't say it helped.

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  • 158 Replies sorted by
  • I had Merlin for years, and used it with DVX100, HVX200 and HPX171. With those camcorders balancing was very easy with a lot weight, but I couldn't really controlled it, especially stopping and changing directions. With GH2, I could balance it, but any movement made it unusable. I could use just some parts of the footage with a LOT of warp. Then I saw some Japanese RUNNING with Merlin and GH2. I couldn't believe. After a few day and night of intensive testing, I managed to make it totally controllable. Here is the clip, walking around my small town by night with SLR Magic 12mm. One take, many corners, many changing directions. Sometimes I lose it but walking ahead, after few meters it was still again. By the see it was a bit windy and I had to make some "not good" corrections. Still the rest is quite OK.

  • Anybody experience adding weight to the Steadicam Merlin 2 so it works with lighter cameras like the GH2/3 and BMPCC. There's a Stage Weight Bracket that they offer but it's $95. Any other solutions?

  • Show me a rock solid non-boating GH2/GH3 footage (with light lens) that is even slightly close to Devinsupertramp's Glidecam footage, and you will convince me that it's worth even $200.

    I think that you just got problems with physics. It is very bad idea to mount light GH2 + light lens on merlin. You need to add some weight to it. You are not the first, it is know thing that is solved by adding weight.

    As for GlideCam. It was only real alternative some years ago. Now better options are available, but principle here is that bigger length and distanced bottom weights usually make it simpler to get results (add here much better second hand control). Unfortunately such construction is not hand friendly (Merling is better, but not good either without vest).

  • I had Merlin for a couple of years, I could never get that rock solid horizon-level dolly looking footage since I could never stop it from swinging side-to-side. I then bought a Glidecam and had instantly better results. Show me a rock solid non-boating GH2/GH3 footage (with light lens) that is even slightly close to Devinsupertramp's Glidecam footage, and you will convince me that it's worth even $200.

    Bill

  • Wish I was in America just bought 2nd hand original for $300 here in UK.

    First, B&H is shipping worldwide. Anyone can always use Shipito :-)

  • Wow that's cheap. Wish I was in America just bought 2nd hand original for $300 here in UK.

  • The little baby merlin

  • I'm thinking of just going selling the Ares and getting a HD1000 because it seems to be the ticket when it comes to lightness. The one pitfall of having a camera that's too small and too light, it doesn't play nice with stabilizers...

  • @MagicMountainMan Not sure about that Wondlan but if it's the same weight specs as the Glidecam HD2000, maybe. The GH2 is just way too light for that thing and I'm using the Tokina 11-16. I had to strap a shitload of huge washers to the top plate.

  • For all two of you that have a Wondlan Ares, do you find the GH2 to be just too light for the thing? I have the 14mm pancake and the 25mm leica and I suck with both of them. I can't even add any weights at the bottom of the stabilizer because it makes it too heavy. Has anyone had any success at all using the Ares in conjunction with the GH2?

  • @Haberdasher thanks for pointing me in the right direction.

    I now see where you're talking about.

    It's located on the cover plate. Cheers.

  • @Henry Sorry mate it's not either of those 2 silver lugs, but the larger top cover plate that sits horizontally, and the main shaft (post) travels through. The plyers shoud be fine, and the cover plate should easily unloosen in anti clockwise direction.

  • @Heaberdasher Hardware is not my forte, so just to clarify, the "2 locating lugs" is this right: see attached picture.

    Also, is this the circlip plier you are talking about? I guess I'll have to get one and open this thing up.

    So far I have the stabiliser balanced perfectly, it just the gimbal that is the weakest link. If I can get this thing working correctly, I'm positive I can get some smooth footage.

    Thanks again.

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  • @Henry... My gimbal bearing cover plate has 2 locating lugs (shallow holes) and I'm sure they all do, and what I've already had to do is remove it with circlip pliers that fit nicely, and then tighten, or loosen the adjusting collar that is revaled on the shaft when you seperate the bearing cover plate. You should do this from time to time anyway I think, as it gives you a chance to clean any muck out that will get in, and get rid of any slop in the bearing like I developed. At the same time you may want to deliberately tighten it up to suit a requirement and then loosen it again later. Cheers.

  • No worries @geddyt My gimbal and handle will probably cause me to return this stabiliser.

    Even after balancing it correctly, a stiff handle & gimbal just throw everything off axis b/c it can't isolate any movement.

    @Haberdasher seems you are making progress.

    @Haberdasher @geddyt how are your gimbals?

    Try to do this 'test' demonstrated in the video (10:00); your camera should remain pointing in the same direction.

    Regardless of the speed I rotate around the camera, my camera rotates with the handle.

  • This is my 3rd effort with the Beginners Steadicam. Sorry if I haven't set up & posted it correctly for youtube viewing, but I'm quietly happy with the progression I'm making and what I see on my desktop in 1080.

    Won't bore you all any more until I have something more substantial to show. Cheers.

  • "the quick release plate does slide off, watch this video, it will show you how. "

    Aw man... I feel like an idiot. Thanks for the tip! And thanks for that video in general. That helped a lot.

    Interesting that your gimbal bearing seems tight. Mine seems too free. I wouldn't mind tightening it a bit.

  • I just got the all black version of this stabilizer from eBay also known as the Mini handheld stabilizer S-60. Mine came already assembled in the box, a carry bag, and a Disc containing a video (see below).

    I haven't balanced it yet, but my first impression; Considering the price, I like the build quality.

    @geddyt: For starters, ZERO documentation is included, so it's up to you to figure it out. Right off the bat I was confused by the top plate. I assumed it would slide out so I could affix the camera and slide it back in. This is not the case, as the top plate does not come off. Makes it very time consuming to attach the camera, so I'll be adding a QR down the road.

    • the quick release plate does slide off, watch this video, it will show you how.

    I'll post footage once I've practiced using it.

    UPDATE:

    Does anyone know how to adjust the friction on this gimbal? (image attached). It is similar to the Wondlan gimbal.

    I have it balanced while stationary. Done the drop test (2.5 second drop). But I have a few problems with the Gimbal:-

    1. Once I start moving–even taking baby steps at snails pace–the stabiliser becomes very unstable.

    2.The gimbal isn't isolating any movements. The pole moves with the slightest movement of the handle. For example if you turn a corner the stabiliser turns in the same direction. It doesn't spin, it just moves in the direction I (wrist & handle) turn. Seems counter intuitive for a stabilizer.

    1. When I spin the pole, it doesn't rotate more than a couple of times. There is definitely some friction in the gimbal or handle. Spins 2-3 rotations then stops. I doesn't even come close to spinning like the Laing P-03 in the video below.

    Have contacted the eBay seller, but any help/advise to fix this would be appreciated.

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  • @balazer

    Also remember that Laing will be coming with upgraded things :-) We are working on them.

    You can check some of stuff for not so small cameras at http://www.nex-hack.info/wiki/laing-photos

  • I also found the Merlin 2 to be pretty bad, though all I can compare it to is the Flycam 3000. See "flawed design" review at http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/839957-REG/Steadicam_MERLIN2_Merlin_2_Camera_Stabilizing.html

    Hoping the Glidecam HD1000 will be a good one.

  • I posted about a month ago, expressing my frustration with Merlin and how it swings side to side. Since then, I've 'upgraded' to a Glidecam HD 1000. After a few practice runs, I've used it for a commercial with much better results. Somebody here mentioned the physics of Merlin vs. Glidecam. From experience of using both models, Glidecam design is much better for a smaller camera like GH2, in both ease of use and smoothness. I have a long ways to go, but I get pretty good results using just one hand. I can't seem to get silk smooth results guiding with left hand just yet. One thing for sure though, no more uncontrollable side-to-side swinging!

  • Do you take the shoulder strap off?

    Take it off and do not have anything that can move.

  • Thanks for the tips. Do you take the shoulder strap off?

  • @geddyt My beginners steadicam differs slightly from the one shown on page 5 with regards to the (fixed) top block that accomadates the side adjustment plate, and mine has different weights (lighter by the looks). However on comparison to mine, which I'm looking at, it looks very close to my set up.

    I have the LCD closed (at this stage still), a 14-42 lens, and a lens hood attached. My weights (4 of them the same size) sit exactly the same on weight plate as page 5 picture, and my main post (shaft) would be approx 1/2 inch longer. My drop time for outside recording, from one side to the other is about 3, (plus1,plus 2, etc, is the way I count, and everybody counts differently. In studio drama some Cameramen have a drop of 6 or more from side to side with the real steadicam set ups.

    I think you should always try and roughly balance the top first, and then the drop. I don't adjust the angle of the weight plate unless the camera drifts left or right by itself, and I found that having the weights spread (page 5 pic helps me)

    Learning to use your thumb and index finger (VERY LIGHTLY) to guide the camera will help to solve most of your problems, and stay at eye to chest height like I am, until your confidence grows. Also maybe just slowly incorporate stabilised shots into the home movies, and not base your shoot around it. Cheeers.