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Putting It All Together: Flying the Sony A1U on the Steadicam Merlin

Now that all my equipment is here, I'm in the process of putting it all together. The first step to this is spending the next 3 weeks really learning how to fly the Steadicam Merlin and the Sony A1U. For this first video, what you'll see is essentially my first flight with the basic setup of nothing but the camera on the Merlin. The only additional piece of equipment on the camera included the larger camera battery which required that the doveplate be moved forward to compensate for the heavier backend. The footage was shot inside a home with no additional camera lighting and shows that the A1U captures adequate lowlight footage but definitely needs more light. I would never attempt to use this kind of footage in a professional project as it doesn't hold up in the darker areas from a purely technical viewpoint ignoring the newbie Merlin mistakes.

The Steadicam Merlin is not a tool for people with limited patience as it requires a great deal of tweaking to maintain good balance. If you watch closely, you'll notice some subtle (and not so subtle) pendulum swings in the footage. For the first flight, I'm pretty happy with the overall look of the footage. I'll continue to add more Merlin footage over the coming days and weeks to document my progress with it and to show what both it and the A1U can do in better lighting conditions.

For most Merlin work, the camera will be flying with both the XLR mount and either a Sennheiser G2 100 wireless receiver for a wireless Boom or the Rode NTG-2 shotgun mounted in a shockmount on the camera so as I get each setup balanced I'll include a post listing my settings as well.

How about posting a photo of the camera mounted on the steadicam?

As soon as I get the camera back I will. The first camera had a defect in the lens and I'm waiting for B&H to ship the replacement so I'm currently camera-less. Once it arrives, I'll post some more pics and videos along with a comprehensive look at all the components.


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