Best stabilizer for hand-held shooting?

BaldyBaldy SmugMug co-founderMountain View, CaRegistered Users, Super Moderators Posts: 2,853 moderator
edited May 16, 2014 in Video
I'm eyeing the Merlin Steadicam to hold my 5D steady for videos. Any experience with it compared to others? There is no IS on most Canon lenses except for telephotos and the 24-105, which I don't use because it's f/4.

Merlin-only-3_4.jpg

Comments

  • norcalshooternorcalshooter Big grins Northern California, soon the Big Island!Registered Users Posts: 52 Big grins
    edited February 15, 2009
    Baldy, I just picked up the glidecam HD 2000. They make 3 sizes in this new model, 1000, 2000, and 4000.

    I was very close to the merlin and decided to go with the slightly cheaper ($449) glidecam.
    Plan on using it for the 5d now and double duty with scarlet when it comes out.

    Only recently got it, I have it balanced out well with the canon 17-40/f4.
    Ill upload some samples for you to take a look later tonight.
    Maybe the rain will clear up and Ill get some new stuff today as well.

    I also picked up their forearm insert ($140). It allows you to put on a sleeve
    with a post that will insert into the bottom of the handle. Nice set-up.
    I want to splurge on the full harness for it eventually, but its around $1200 for the vest & arm setup.

    Im very happy with it.

    If you cover shipping & ins both ways I would be more then happy to loan you my
    rig while the 5D M2 takes the trip back to canon for the sensor pixel issue I have.

    Drop me a message if you are interested.

    Going to finally send it in, getting tired of looking at my low light stuff with the pixels...
    Hard to part with the 5D for even a day...arggg

    Middle version is the one I picked up, rated to 6lbs. My 5d M2 and the 17-40/4 was about 3.5lbs on the scale.
    I might eventually get the heavier 16-35/2.8 II, been happy with the 17-40 so far.

    http://www.glidecam.com/product-hd-series.php

    HD-Series_Glow_Web.jpg

    Forearm insert:
    http://www.glidecam.com/product-arm-brace.php

    arm_brace_closeup.jpg


    Smooth shooter insert below, about $1200-1300 around the net. One of these days Ill get it.

    http://www.glidecam.com/product-smooth-shooter.php

    smooth_shooter_2000_pro.jpg
    Give big space to the festive dog that makes sport in roadway.
    Avoid entanglement of dog with wheel spokes. - Old Honda Manual
    --
    If you wish to travel far and fast, travel light. Take off all your envies,
    jealousies, unforgiveness, selfishness, and fears. -- Glenn Clark
    [FONT=georgia, bookman old style, palatino linotype, book antiqua, palatino, trebuchet ms, helvetica, garamond, sans-serif, arial, verdana, avante garde, century gothic, comic sans ms, times, times new roman, serif][/FONT]
  • BaldyBaldy SmugMug co-founder Mountain View, CaRegistered Users, Super Moderators Posts: 2,853 moderator
    edited February 21, 2009
    Thanks, that's really good info.

    I got impulsive and went ahead with the Steadicam, took it to Las Vegas, and teamed up with a really good film shooter for 8 hours (!!) to shoot the fountains of the Ballagio.

    He uses a glidecam like you and gets really good results, but tried my steadicam for the night. He slightly preferred the glidecam after all was said and done.

    I'll post the video after we edit it.
  • norcalshooternorcalshooter Big grins Northern California, soon the Big Island!Registered Users Posts: 52 Big grins
    edited February 22, 2009
    Baldy wrote:
    Thanks, that's really good info.

    I got impulsive and went ahead with the Steadicam, took it to Las Vegas, and teamed up with a really good film shooter for 8 hours (!!) to shoot the fountains of the Ballagio.

    He uses a glidecam like you and gets really good results, but tried my steadicam for the night. He slightly preferred the glidecam after all was said and done.

    I'll post the video after we edit it.

    New toys & Vegas, very nice.<img src="https://us.v-cdn.net/6029383/emoji/friday.gif&quot; border="0" alt="" >

    Here is a link to few clips of me running along the river trails with the glidecam & 5D.
    Not entirely happy with the way they look under compression, best viewed in 1920x1200.

    Raw files direct from camera look better on smugmug then the stuff out of Final Cut.
    Weird stuff going on with the grass compared to the full rez file on my machine.

    Ill have to find a better setting even though Im maxing out at 500mb for 1:45.
    Final cut makes a decent file, but I think the convert from mov to smugmug mp4 might be a issue.
    Smugmug handles the raw camera .mov better then the final cut h.264 .mov I think.

    I also need to work on being more steady with it, handles up & down stuff well.
    Have to slow down my camera moves & pans, takes some practice.

    Link & embed below, 6 more in the gallery.
    2 other galleries of raw camera 5D HD files with no Final Cut output or edit on my site too.


    Glidecam Gallery


    Grass looks much better on my 24"IPS and the 17" MBP before upload , wish I could find a fix.<img src="https://us.v-cdn.net/6029383/emoji/headscratch.gif&quot; border="0" alt="" >
    Link to full HD of version of video below in 1920x1080

    <object width="640" height="362"><param name="movie" value="http://cdn.smugmug.com/ria/ShizVidz-2008120101.swf&quot; /><param name="allowFullScreen" value="true" /><param name="flashVars" value="s=ZT0xJmk9NDc3Njg5NjkyJms9WVByTDImYT03MzgxMjA0XzM3WjdEJnU9c2FjcmFtZW50b2ltYWdl" /><embed src="http://cdn.smugmug.com/ria/ShizVidz-2008120101.swf&quot; flashVars="s=ZT0xJmk9NDc3Njg5NjkyJms9WVByTDImYT03MzgxMjA0XzM3WjdEJnU9c2FjcmFtZW50b2ltYWdl" width="640" height="362" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" allowFullScreen="true"></embed></object>

    Wish I could fix this compression issue.
    Full 1920x1080 verison

    Another clip:
    <object width="640" height="362"><param name="movie" value="http://cdn.smugmug.com/ria/ShizVidz-2008120101.swf&quot; /><param name="allowFullScreen" value="true" /><param name="flashVars" value="s=ZT0xJmk9NDc3NjY4Njg1Jms9M1JEQVMmYT03MzgxMjA0XzM3WjdEJnU9c2FjcmFtZW50b2ltYWdl" /><embed src="http://cdn.smugmug.com/ria/ShizVidz-2008120101.swf&quot; flashVars="s=ZT0xJmk9NDc3NjY4Njg1Jms9M1JEQVMmYT03MzgxMjA0XzM3WjdEJnU9c2FjcmFtZW50b2ltYWdl" width="640" height="362" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" allowFullScreen="true"></embed></object>
    Give big space to the festive dog that makes sport in roadway.
    Avoid entanglement of dog with wheel spokes. - Old Honda Manual
    --
    If you wish to travel far and fast, travel light. Take off all your envies,
    jealousies, unforgiveness, selfishness, and fears. -- Glenn Clark
    [FONT=georgia, bookman old style, palatino linotype, book antiqua, palatino, trebuchet ms, helvetica, garamond, sans-serif, arial, verdana, avante garde, century gothic, comic sans ms, times, times new roman, serif][/FONT]
  • BaldyBaldy SmugMug co-founder Mountain View, CaRegistered Users, Super Moderators Posts: 2,853 moderator
    edited February 25, 2009
    Wow, what great info and impressive results! I can't believe the results were so good while you were running. You just caused me to upgrade mine and get a vest.... I'll post some results in a few days.

    I'm experiencing the same thing with video that has gone through Final Cut Pro, but I know a lot of pros whose video looks amazing coming off it. I'm gonna ask Curt, one of our artists in residence, how he does it.
  • norcalshooternorcalshooter Big grins Northern California, soon the Big Island!Registered Users Posts: 52 Big grins
    edited February 25, 2009
    Baldy wrote:
    Wow, what great info and impressive results! I can't believe the results were so good while you were running. You just caused me to upgrade mine and get a vest.... I'll post some results in a few days.

    I'm experiencing the same thing with video that has gone through Final Cut Pro, but I know a lot of pros whose video looks amazing coming off it. I'm gonna ask Curt, one of our artists in residence, how he does it.

    Thanks for the comments Baldy, getting the right output from Final Cut has been tough.
    I still working on it, Doc and your other help staff have been helpful with suggestions.
    Trying to find the best output with the least amount of compression, and stay under 512mb per clip.

    The 5D video in my other galleries look decent, the grass on the glidecam stuff isnt converting well.
    The FC file, while it does look slightly worse then the raw, still preserves the
    grass without as many artifacts as the file after the upload convert seen above.
    Give big space to the festive dog that makes sport in roadway.
    Avoid entanglement of dog with wheel spokes. - Old Honda Manual
    --
    If you wish to travel far and fast, travel light. Take off all your envies,
    jealousies, unforgiveness, selfishness, and fears. -- Glenn Clark
    [FONT=georgia, bookman old style, palatino linotype, book antiqua, palatino, trebuchet ms, helvetica, garamond, sans-serif, arial, verdana, avante garde, century gothic, comic sans ms, times, times new roman, serif][/FONT]
  • norcalshooternorcalshooter Big grins Northern California, soon the Big Island!Registered Users Posts: 52 Big grins
    edited April 28, 2009
    How is the glidecam working out for you Baldy?

    I havent been using mine much as of late, hope to get some walking around stuff done soon.
    Give big space to the festive dog that makes sport in roadway.
    Avoid entanglement of dog with wheel spokes. - Old Honda Manual
    --
    If you wish to travel far and fast, travel light. Take off all your envies,
    jealousies, unforgiveness, selfishness, and fears. -- Glenn Clark
    [FONT=georgia, bookman old style, palatino linotype, book antiqua, palatino, trebuchet ms, helvetica, garamond, sans-serif, arial, verdana, avante garde, century gothic, comic sans ms, times, times new roman, serif][/FONT]
  • kdogkdog artistically challenged San Jose, CAAdministrators Posts: 11,678 moderator
    edited May 1, 2009
    Norcal, your videos are super cool. I could have used a Glidecam back a week ago when shooting a run down mountain run at Squaw Valley. It was pretty sad how much angular motion I had on every turn. Kinda made you seasick to watch. The Glidecam would have been perfect for this. The model you got is priced well too. The optional vest on the other hand... :wow

    Cheers,
    -joel
  • tijosephtijoseph Major grins Knoxville TNRegistered Users Posts: 187 Major grins
    edited May 1, 2009
    Regarding the merlin, check this out....

    http://vimeo.com/3995746
  • ODOGODOG Beginner grinner SocalRegistered Users Posts: 1 Beginner grinner
    edited May 2, 2009
    Help!!!! With my Glidecam 2000 HD
    Hi Norcal Shooter. I read your information and it convinced me to order a glidecam 2000 HD. However I am now on day 3 and I am having a very difficult time trying to balance it. I have a Canon 5DM2 on it with a 16-35mm and I just cant seem to get it to keep it from rolling a bit to the left or right. It does not flip over so I know I have the right amount of counter weight, but I can seem to be able to adjust the weight on the side. I can move the knob to move it front and back, to keep it from rolling forward and backwards, but not too much from left to right. I am wondering if I have a defective product because it does not seem to be able to move as much. Do you know if that is normal? Do you know anywhere I might actually be able to take this to get a good balance done, I am just getting frustrated at this point and might go with some thing like the Merlin and Return the Glidecam, not too user friendly.

    Thanks!!! Save my Glidecam from return shipping!!!
  • norcalshooternorcalshooter Big grins Northern California, soon the Big Island!Registered Users Posts: 52 Big grins
    edited May 3, 2009
    Man I wish I could help you out more, but I bet the 16-35 weighs too much more then my 17-40 to give you an exact setting.

    Try pulling the weights all the way out if you have not already for more stability.
    Also expand or shorten the center post and see if that helps.

    Experiment more with the hole you mount the camera in too.
    If its rolling one way, mount the camera over a hole or 2 farther.
    You could be at the limits of adjustment with your screws if you are not in the right mount spot.

    If you tell me the total weight of the body & 16-35 on a scale,
    I may be able to recreate it and try to help you more.

    Let me know how it goes.
    Give big space to the festive dog that makes sport in roadway.
    Avoid entanglement of dog with wheel spokes. - Old Honda Manual
    --
    If you wish to travel far and fast, travel light. Take off all your envies,
    jealousies, unforgiveness, selfishness, and fears. -- Glenn Clark
    [FONT=georgia, bookman old style, palatino linotype, book antiqua, palatino, trebuchet ms, helvetica, garamond, sans-serif, arial, verdana, avante garde, century gothic, comic sans ms, times, times new roman, serif][/FONT]
  • joearndtjoearndt Beginner grinner USRegistered Users Posts: 1 Beginner grinner
    edited May 16, 2014
    Check this video for Flycam Nano. Its simply Owsum...clap.gifivar

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZUufiFLWtkc
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