Human-use Experience

| Steadicam Merlin

Background

What is a Steadicam?

A camera stabilizer is a camera mounting system that prevents or compensates for unwanted camera movement, such as shaking. They allow for smoother, professional-looking video on shots that require any amount of motion.

The Steadicam was invented by cameraman Garrett Brown and was introduced in 1975. In 2005 the company released the Merlin, the lightest and most compact handheld stabilizer for cameras up to 5lbs.

How does it work?

The Merlin has three main parts:

1. The curved frame where the camera attaches

2. The handle grip where the operator holds the system

3. The 3-axis gimbal which joins the grip to the frame, yet allows complete rotation of the grip without rotating the frame

The diagram shows how these elements come together. The grip and gimbal isolate the camera from the body of the operator. The frame provides optimum balance for the camera by adding mass to the system. This increases the moment of inertia, making it more difficult to rotate, and positions the center of gravity right at the gimbal, meaning no moments are applied to the system when you hold it.

merlin

How do you use it?

Using the Steadicam Merlin has three main steps:

1. Assemble - unfold the Merlin and attach your weights and camera

2. Balance - make fine adjustments to the frame so the camera sits evenly

3. Film - start recording

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