Tag Archives: Steadicam Smoothee

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Nick Bicanic from http://www.purposelabs.com does a better job than I did with his DIY Steadicam Smoothee (a.k.a Baby Merlin) by shaving down the entire platform to get a perfect fit for his quick release adapter [Thanks Nick]. That little bit of effort definitely makes it look much more solid mounting platform than adding a quick release on top of the stock mini quick release plate.

baby_merlin_shaved

Notes:

I drilled two holes by eye to match the threaded holes on an MH621 Giotto I had lying around. Both are 1/4"/20 - note that the front hole on the giotto as stock is not threaded. So for those of you who don't have tap/die kits - you'll have to use another method. (you could mount with the 3/8" and a 1/4" but I didn't want to take off that much material.

Actually i was originally gonna shave it totally flat but then I realised that the way it's built that might not work (e.g. it could no longer be screwed together. You can see on the picture how far I decided to go.

This is clearly a one-way street 😉 - because if you screw it up you gotta buy another one..ha

That said - I got it right by eye first time - the only extra thing is a washer - see the second picture:

http://www.purposelabs.com/baby_merlin_washers.jpg

(one washer sanded down to fit) the reason for the washer is to tighten the bottom bracket of the quick release - otherwise the thin plastic would flex.

End result is awesome. Btw I didn't use washers at the bottom to spread the load because the bolts sit right on top of the plastic crossbeams themselves.

Here's a picture of how it sits together - very tight and solid.
http://www.purposelabs.com/baby_merlin_lookin_pro.jpg

btw not a lot of clearance down there - so I used hex button bolts.

Tools/hardware needed beyond the usual tools for the original mod are pretty much just those two bolts. (dremel + drill does the rest). Only tricky part is threading the baseplate if it isn't already done

baby_merlin_lookin_pro

If you guys aren't familiar with this project, it's basically taking the cheap Steadicam Smoothee (originally for GoPro or iPhone) and modifying it to fly other cameras like a Canon DSLR. The Smoothee provides you with fine tuning knobs to help get you balanced much like the $800 dollar Steadicam Merlin. You can find the details on that DIY Steadicam project here: http://cheesycam.com/diy-steadicam-smoothee-mod-cheesycam-baby-merlin/

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find-price-button Steadicam Smoothee Stabilizer

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The GH2 or other small video cameras are very lightweight and the selection for a quality stabilizer are few. Lately, there's been some interest around modifying a Steadicam Smoothee to work with such light cameras. I was able to modify one successfully, but I never got around to showing it's full capabilities. So it's great to see other examples out there, and here's one of the best videos i've seen so far about a modified Smoothee (a.k.a Baby Merlin) with a GH2 camera from Vimeo member MKVideoFilms.

If you want to find out how to modify your own, there's an article posted here: http://cheesycam.com/diy-steadicam-smoothee-mod-cheesycam-baby-merlin/

GoPro-Steadicam-Smoothee-DIY-Steadicam
find-price-button Steadicam Smoothee for GoPro and iPhone

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It was only a couple of weeks ago I posted information on how to modify a Steadicam Smoothee, essentially making it a mini Steadicam Merlin stabilizer (a.k.a Baby Merlin). If you have a small camera, and you're a fan of the Merlin steadicam, this mod will come in at about 1/5th the price. In the past few days i've received some comments about successful modifications and am just waiting to see some of those results.

Today I just happened upon Vimeo member dhardjono with a recent video posted showing a modified Steadicam Smoothee and a GH2 camera. I happened upon it, because i've been wanting to get a certain lens for a while, and in this video the Rokinon 7.5mm Fisheye (found here) was used on the GH2. Results are pretty impressive already removing harsh vibrations and quick jerking movements, but i'm sure with more practice, the results will be solid. If you want to build your own, I have my article posted here: http://cheesycam.com/diy-steadicam-smoothee-mod-cheesycam-baby-merlin/

The Steadicam Smoothee stabilizer is currently on sale until the end of the month following the link (click here).

GoPro-Steadicam-Smoothee-DIY-Steadicam
find-price-button Steadicam Smoothee for GoPro and iPhone

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Made some slight mods to support a heavier camera and lens. Now it's a Canon 7D + Tokina 11-16mm on a Giottos quick release plate. I needed to pull the front heavy camera a bit backwards. Threw on some extra counterweights from a Flycam Nano, and then performed a slight test. Brings me back to my roots of flying an expensive Steadicam Merlin, except this one is only 1/5th the price.

GoPro-Steadicam-Smoothee-DIY-Steadicam
find-price-button Steadicam Smoothee for GoPro and iPhone

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So the goal was to modify this Steadicam Smoothee for lightweight cameras, but it was surprising to see it fly my Canon 5D Mark II + 50mm F/1.4 Lens. Getting back to the real reason for the mod, I tested out a smaller setup with the GH2 + 20mm Lens (total 1.2lbs). It took about 6.8oz of counterweight, but she balances just fine. In fact, I really think Tiffen should offer something like this for all the new smaller lightweight cameras coming out. If they can keep the price about the same, they'd make quite an impact. There's some additional information in the video about the Quick Release mount and Counterweight attachment.

If you're late to the party, you can find all the build information on modding a Steadicam Smoothee for your small cameras in the previous article (here).

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Steadicam-Smoothee (1 of 2)Steadicam-Smoothee (2 of 2)

I want to say when these things were first released they were over $200 dollars. Ridiculous pricing if all you plan to fly is a cell phone. They have since dropped down in price, and while they are listed at about $180 dollars elsewhere, this month they're on sale at B&H (click here). Not bad if you could possibly do much more with it.

[Update] here's the video

With one of the smoothest Gimbals on any stabilizer ever, I decided to pick one up and see if it can be pushed to carry much more than a small GoPro. So far the Gimbal is made with a metal bearing, and the frame is mostly a lightweight metal. If it's possible to modify the frame to add more weights, then you're looking at an ultra smooth Gimbal on a Merlin-like stabilizer for almost 5 times cheaper than the Merlin itself.

[Update] It's been Modified here: http://cheesycam.com/diy-steadicam-smoothee-mod-cheesycam-baby-merlin/

GoPro-Steadicam-Smoothee-DIY-Steadicam
find-price-button Steadicam Smoothee for GoPro and iPhone

Steadicam-Merlin
find-price-button Original (more expensive) Steadicam Merlin Camera Stabilizer

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