Day 626 – How I Spent My Evening
Here’s one i never expected to say, but i spent 4 solid hours balancing a Steadicam Merlin this evening. Why am i doing this? Several reasons: first i like toys, second, a colleague approached me with a project and i’m endeavoring to help solve her task.
The Merlin is a remarkable little device. Getting it balanced (and i remain unconvinced i’ve got it 100% correct) is equal parts art, science and persistence. The “secret” is use as little weight as needed to achieve “neutral buoyancy.” When i started work on balancing i proceeded from the incorrect assumption i needed some magnitude of weight above and beyond the camera (and the Sennheiser wireless receiver attached by a rubber band to the camera).
After watching numerous Youtube vids i came to understand i wasn’t shooting for large negative buoyancy, but just enough weight (and distance, and x, y and z-axis positioning) to achieve a stable system that, barring unwanted vectors, will remain at rest independent of its motion in three dimensions. Ain’t easy to achieve. Now i know why professional steadicam operators are paid lots of money.
My plan is to shoot a campus tour tomorrow and then, Friday morning, do the “real” shoot i rented the little thing for.
At this point i’m on the fence. The Merlin seems to perform as advertised, but to really get serious results (without committing many tens of thousands of dollars for a professional Steadicam rig that is) requires the addition of the Steadicam vest and arm. Maybe if these two shoots prove useful i’ll try for the vest and arm on a future shoot. Hell, could be the start of a new career!