Steadicam Merlin Vest with CAME 7000 3 Axis Gimbal

One of the problems with choosing a Stabilizer Vest is finding one that can work with lightweight systems. I tried my Steadicam Vest, and the CAME 7000 Gimbal (no counterweights) is too light to compress the springs on the ISO Arm. Total fail - back to the drawing board...

CAME Gimbal Steadicam Vest

If you're wondering how I have the Steadicam Arm connected to the Gimbal, the hollow handle is placed over my DIY Adapter originally for my Glidecam. Here's a closer look at how I made the adapter:

34 thoughts on “Steadicam Merlin Vest with CAME 7000 3 Axis Gimbal

  1. I'm confused, the whole point of these new gimbals is not having to be constrained by a vest or articulating arm. I use a G5 with C100 and L-series glass, monitor, and audio device so its about 14lbs. all together. I have used mime for periods of 90 mins. continuously and I wouldn't want to compromise the ability to move freely with my gimbal.

    I sold my glide-cam, vest and arm as soon as I used the G5 system. Wearing the whole vest and arm made it seem like wearing a suite of armor compared to the freedom of my gimbal. I'd suggest if you have a problem steadying your shot you should do a little working out and have a balancing stand near by or an assistant to give you (and your back) a break between takes. This is so not needed.

  2. I think the potential for a versatile camera system here is great. I am trying to put a system together that works with my Glidecam V25 system. It almost works except for a hardware problem. The arm is fine as I have a Bartech BFD and motor to help with the weight issue. I am trying to attach the gimbal from below so that the range of the arm will give a near to lower than chest level shot to an over the shoulder shot. Currently, I am dealing with a structural issue. The solution I am contemplating, and waiting on parts for, is based on the MoVI ring featured at NAB. So far I have built a "spine" that just clears the control box to attach my arm to but the weight of the rig twists. It needs to be rigid to work. It also needs to be modular so that it can be broken down or built up for whatever the shot requires. I am sure there will be other issues but that to get as much out of it vertically is what I need to get it to work now. I initially considered an Easyrig but it doesn't get me an over the shoulder shot ( and I already have the Glidecam). I hope this helps.

  3. Project8

    @Emm, Do you think this setup is even worth it to have it just hold the Rig for all day shooting? For a wedding maybe?

  4. Emm

    Post author

    @Andy - I've used them both, and I see them as two separate tools that can both add value to any production. You'll probably have fun with a Gimbal, as I did this past weekend, but don't expect it to replace what you're working with today.

  5. @Emm - Thanks for the responds. I've been using the steadycam/vest combo for a couple years now and haven't jumped on the Gimbal wagon cause I haven't seen a benefit to make it better than my current setup. With all the hype and excitement of these gimbals, no one mentions about the weight on your arms from having the camera out in front of you for a few minutes. Like anything, there's a place for it, but I'll stick with what I've got.

  6. Emm

    Post author

    @Darren Levine - I don't think it's worth spending too much time on. I think the best bet right now may still be an EasyRig setup.

  7. Have you tried dialing one of the springs all the way UP as opposed to both all the way down? Dial the top spring all the way up, and the bottom one all the way down, this should place all the weight of the gimbal & upper arm onto the lower spring. there's a chance that would get some movement, though you of course would only get the movement of one spring, not two.

  8. Emm

    Post author

    @seenamatic - I guess I could make something to weigh down the arm, but I would rather find a way to keep the entire setup as light as possible.

  9. how about sliding a small round dumbbell weight over the hollow adapter ? looks like you have a little space there ?
    or adapt a shoulderrig counterweight so you can add that ?

  10. barry

    @Emm - Would it be ridiculous or defeat the purpose to attach something like the CAME-7000 AIR to a sled and dial down the springs?

  11. Emm

    Post author

    @Andy - First, these gimbals may be light but they get heavy after a few minutes. Second, a gimbal does not stabilize up and down vertical movement. That is another axis. A vest system not only carries weight but also stabilizes up down vertical movement.

  12. Excuse me for asking this, but isn't the 3-axis gimbal basically do the same thing as the steadycam vest and arm? They both stabilize the camera movement and the 3-axis gimbal makes it even more easy to do this for the novice without having to practice using the vest/arm, but putting one on another, isn't that just overkill? or was this just trying to see what happens kind of a situtaion?

  13. pepe

    Emm can you recommend a flexible HDMI cable? the ones I got are so hard I can’t tidy it up around the rods

  14. Lainol

    Maybe I'll say a nonsense... but what if you put some weights of your stabilizer (glidecam or similar) in the top handle of the gimbal's rig?

  15. Jim

    Total fail, I would agree. Because the gimbal is supposed to provide the ultimate in steady shots at numerous elevations, why is everyone trying to strap these things down to a Steadicam arm which completely restricts the freedom of height? I don't get it. If you want steady shots on the end of a Steadicam arm, use the sled.
    BTW, is it too late to say I love your videos? I often come here before I make a buying decision. Keep up the great work.

  16. Bob

    although it would be a pain in the ass, you could replace the springs with lighter duty springs. I'm not sure where you would source ones with the proper length size and shape.

  17. DC

    @Emm - maybe i'm missing something but couldn't you simply add weights to the handle to counter act the lightness? Just throw them on the handle to weigh it down?

  18. Is there any chance that weight could be added to the Came frame, perhaps under the top carrying handle or inside the tubing, in order to make this work? Also do you have a feel for how the Came stacks up against Defy or Movi for solo operation? Thanks for your ongoing genius!

  19. Emm

    Post author

    @MJ - I believe it can, but the frame where the camera sits may not have enough room to properly align the camera's body to find the center of balance.

  20. Kevin

    I was wondering how long it would be before someone tried this. Dialing in the vest to cooperate with the gimble allowing for much longer shoot times without stress to the arms (human ones)

  21. Emm

    Post author

    @Alamira - You may be overthinking this, and in fact I do believe it could work perfectly. A Steadicam Vest has been used for decades and was designed to work with 3 Axis Gimbals (original steadicams). If the arm can be dialed in for the weight of the stabilizer, it will properly stabilize vertical movement up/down. Only if the springs could be dialed in properly, but in this situation the stabilizer is just too light to make the ISO (isolation) Arm work properly.

  22. Altamira

    This looks like a nice rig and idea but it would definitely not work !

    Aside from stabilizing side to side motion and camera shake, it would still rely on the springs for vertical motion.

    To be efficient, the arm movement would need to be controlled by some kind of motors, linear maybe.

    The idea is nice but it need to be refined.

  23. Emm

    Post author

    @Richard - No I don't think the vest would work. These gimbals are very light. It's pretty much just the weight of the camera as everything else is a plastic (carbon like) hollow tube.

  24. Richard

    I've considered something like this myself, so it's interesting to see your results. I don't have the 7000 gimbal yet, but I do have the Laing/Came vest/arm - do you think it would work better with the lighter setup?

  25. Emm

    Post author

    @James - It would be very very smooth if the arm would compress, but it requires a minimum amount of weight. I have a whole story about my Steadicam Vest found here: httpss://

  26. James

    I was planning on doing this but thanks for the heads up? What was the results? Too shaky or hard to maneuver? Also how did you adapt the Steadicam arm to the Konova vest? Thanks in advance!

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