Let me start by saying I do own a Steadicam Merlin Vest and the Glidecam HD4000 stabilizer. These are two high quality pieces of gear that will give excellent results, but total over $2100+ US dollars. If you can afford this combination, you won't be disappointed with the results.
For those who can't afford such equipment, I have had the opportunity to try several different more affordable vest systems and posted a video about this (below) along with an Arm/Vest I recommend for budget shooters.
So If you are a budget filmmaker, this more affordable Vest/Arm with Stabilizer Combination that can work just as well as some of the more expensive kits out there. The dual ISO arm vest is easy to get in and out of, easy to adjust to fit, and the arm has a quick release system and can be found bundled with the Wieldy Carbon Fiber Stabilizer (Wieldy review found here). Below is a sample video of the Dual ISO Arm and Vest with Wieldy Stabilizer flying a BlackMagic Cinema Camera.
Even with the additional weight of the BMCC, the stabilizer works great. This has been one of the best alternative Vest/Stabilizer bundles i've used that can deliver results similar to my $2100+ US dollar setup, and the kit is often found for around $800. You can find this Dual Arm Vest + Stabilizer via eBay (click here)
Video Camera Steadycam Dual Arm Stabilizer Load Vest
The vest is very helpful for longer video shots, but is not required. You can always purchase the vest at a later time and just start with the Wieldy Carbon Fiber hand held stabilizer. I have additional information and sample video footage shot with a Wieldy (found here). So if you are just looking for the Hand Held stabilizer, that can be found via eBay (Click Here).
No matter how many Honda Civics are out on the road, there will always be the other guy who'd rather drive the more expensive Porsche. Sure it's apples to oranges, but if you just need to make a trip to the grocery store, the end result is the same. My point being that a flying camera movement is a flying camera movement. In any case, here's a quick look at the Steadicam Merlin, the more expensive DSLR Video camera stabilizer that still draws a premium audience. This video is dedicated to that group of people looking for more information on flying a luxury model.
The Steadicam Merlin packs small, trimmed down as light as possible without any extra junk. It's quick to set up, quick to break down, and fast to dial in your camera's center of balance. Just because it does all these things very well, don't be fooled into thinking that it's any easier to fly. As with any stabilizer it's all about practice, practice, and a little bit more practice. The Steadicam Merlin has the option to accept the Merlin vest - possibly the most popular vest in use. The Vest can be purchased separately, or you'll receive a small discount if you decide to dish out for both items in a bundled package. The Vest doesn't really add any additional 'balance', but it will allow you to shoot for longer periods of time. I'll probably be shooting a later video on actually balancing a Steadicam Merlin setup, and If you have any questions so far, leave some comments.
I posted a short sample of some BTS footage with a Glidecam HD4000 Stabilizer about a week ago. The reference to this project can be found here: http://cheesycam.com/3-canon-60ds-music-video/. There were some weird movements and I even flipped the Glidecam upside down. (I don't recommend doing this, but I do it all the time). Some people were asking if the footage was actually usable. I'll leave that up to the editors to decide if a few seconds of this footage would be used, but here's some side by side samples.
On the left is the movement of the Glidecam HD4000 Stabilizer on a Steadicam Merlin Stabilizer Arm and Vest with a Canon EOS 60D flying. On the right is an uncut look at what this RAW footage will look like. Again, we'll just be looking at quick cuts and a few seconds here and there. We'll be mixing it up with other hand held, Crane shots, dolly / slider shots, as well as very static Tripod shots. From what I understand, this music video will be cut in with actual footage from a new movie being released soon. So the movie will be more of the narration and we'll just be highlighting the band periodically. BTW, this is not my usual flying setup and I just rented this lens. So without practicing on this setup, these are the results I got.