Steadicam Merlin: Trimming For Shots

Steadicam Merlin is a camera stabilizing system for light weight camcorders. Based on the professional Steadicam Technology that is employed in the entertainment industry world wide, it is an ultra-light, ultra-compact, strong stabilizer that allows its users to film with a balanced motion and a steady hand.

Its main purpose is to minimize the amount of shakiness that takes place when you film on the move. With Steadicam Merlin, you can achieve the full potential of your camcorder and take great films of events, people and places that you would like to remember for a very long time. This article examines the ways you can trim the balance settings of Steadicam Merlin to achieve a secure balance necessary to shoot great films.

Step 1: Set Horizontal Trim

You need to first identify if there is any horizontal imbalance with the Stage on which you have secured your camcorder. To do so, firmly grasp the grip of your handle with your right hand, and steady the platform by gripping the upper Spar with your left. Now, slowly release the spar and watch for any minute tilt of the platform. If it tilts forward, steady the upper Spar with your left hand release it slowly. If the Stage tilts forward or backward, roll the For & Aft Trim roller upward and downward to correct the balance. If it tilts sideways, use the Side to Side trim roller to correct the balance.

Step 2: Make a large Fore & Aft Adjustment

In case your Steadicam Merlin is extremely out of balance, try sliding the Stage while gripping the handle forward and backward to get rough balance before to using any of the Trim Rollers.

Step 3: Adjust Top & Bottom Heaviness

If you feel that your camera is trying to roll over backwards or forward, and no amount of trimming is fixing the problem, then you might have a Top or Bottom Heaviness issue, in which case the weight at the top or bottom of your stabilizer is creating the imbalance which you feel on your grip. You can fix these problems with the Steadycam Merlin by adjusting the arc size of your Spars or by adding (in case of Top Heaviness) or removing (in case of Bottom Heaviness) weight to your lower spar.

Step 4: Drop Test

To test if you have achieved the perfect balance for your Steadicam Merlin, you must perform the drop test. Hold out your Lower Spar sideways and let it drop. If the Stage, with or without a camera, passes through vertical in one second, you will have achieved that perfect balance. It is a well accepted technique employed by professional cameramen worldwide and is most ideally suited to test the balance of your Steadicam Merlin. If you feel that it falls quicker or slower, then you must readjust the Fore & Aft and Side to Side trim rollers to correct the problem.