Advantages of the Steadicam Merlin
The Steadicam Merlin is the latest version of Steadicam available. The Steadicam has revolutionized film and video since its inception in 1976. Over the years, the camera has been redesigned to meet the ever-changing needs of the film industry. This camera is light and agile to use. It makes it possible to capture seamless footage.
The Merlin Camera is the latest from Steadicam and is four times more stable that the Steadicam Jr. It also weighs much less and can move just as smoothly as larger camera rigs.
If the camera is new, then it will need to be properly balanced. There are several ways to achieve this. Make all the necessary adjustments and take the time to get the camera properly balanced. An unbalanced camera will make it much more difficult to shoot seamless footage.
There are several different operating positions that can be used. Using two hands is the most precise way to use the camera. The camera moves as if it were floating in space, and your hands simply aim it at the scene. One hand functions as support and the other as the operating hand. It is possible to use one hand, but then it is not possible to tilt or pan the camera and change the angle.
There are several different body positions that can be used. The forward position is standard for camera work as the camera is aimed in the same direction as the forearm. The reverse position has the camera aimed in the opposite direction as the guide arm; this works best using two hands. Make sure you refrain from bumping the camera with your body. It can take some time to figure out how to avoid this.
The Steadicam is small enough and steady enough to make shooting in confined spaces, such as vehicles, easy. The camera is completely stable when driving and can provide a drivers eye view of the motion. It is even possible to use this camera while hanging out the back of the vehicle. For real life vehicle shots, a Steadicam is the camera of choice.
When moving, it is best to first stop your body moving and then to ease the camera to a stop a bit later. This provides smooth transitions otherwise the film may have a jerk to it as the motion stops. When moving, remember to walk your feet along an invisible line. In this way, your arms will not compensate for any body weaving, so the camera is held steady.
The best Steadicam operators will be able to notice what is going on in the scene as well as use his or her peripheral vision to know what is going on around them. This helps to navigate the shot and determine the next place to go. Many times using other senses can help when navigating and using the camera.
As with anything, practice makes perfect. As you become more experience with the Steadicam Merlin, you will uncover all of its benefits. The design of the camera was optimized for ease of use and to produce high quality footage.