The Camera Motion Research Blackbird Camera Stabilizer Kit allows easy leveling, balancing and positioning of DSLRs and camcorders weighing up to 8 lbs. The handheld system includes a camera stage/chassis with support arm, mounting plate, locating pin, gimbal and extender, T-bar assembly with 2 horizontal bars, counterweights, universal docking bracket with table clamp, tripod adaptor, resting stand, and a custom case.
The camera is attached to the stage via a mounting plate that has a friction pad to securely mount the camera with or without use of the camera locating pin. The plate also provides additional front/back adjustments and has a safety pin to prevent the camera from sliding off the stage during adjustment.
The stage features a scale to reference the position of the plate so that re-balancing time is minimized when attaching the camera. Low backlash screw drives and internal dovetail guides ensure secure positioning of the camera when in use and the built-in tilt and roll bubble levels make balancing easy in both the axes.
The gimbal assembly with 6 precision ball bearings can take a minimum static load of 57 lbs in any axis; the main operator control ring gives you roll, tilt and pan control whereas the second ring below the gimbal controls only pan. The gimbal extension is used for cameras weighing less than about 2 lbs.
The SmoothTouch technology provides you with controlled friction (adjustable for different camera weights) to reduce roll and tilt motion artifacts. It also reduces the initial stabilizer motions from acceleration to avoid the pendulum effect. During outdoor shots, constant and smooth gimbal friction reduces the effects of the wind and results in better shots, irrespective of the operator skill levels.
The stabilizer can be easily adjusted to achieve correct vertical balance for different cameras by the use of counterweights. The weights interlock mutually as well as with the crossbar to prevent shifting that can create noise during movements. Finer adjustments can be made by moving the T-bar up or down, with the locking lever providing fast and secure locking. The gimbal vertical position can also be adjusted by rotating the gimbal up or down.
The horizontal counterweight bar can be positioned side to side to allow holding of the stabilizer close to the body; it can also be positioned front to back during shots that require the stabilizer on either side of the body. The 11" horizontal bar gives adjustable angular position for better performance, whereas the 15" horizontal bar provides maximum pan axis moment of inertia and stability.
The Universal docking bracket can be used to balance the camera and Blackbird on a tripod, C-stand or table edge; the table clamp has maximum open adjustment of 1-3/4 ".
The tripod adaptor has a similar mounting surface and clamping screw as that of the Blackbird camera stage and thus lets you quickly shift the camera between Blackbird and the tripod.
Made of stainless steel and anodized aluminum components, the resting stand is lightweight and yet strong. When not shooting, the stand can be used to set down the stabilizer with the camera attached on reasonably flat ground, or any such surface, in a safe and stable position. While shooting, the stand can be folded down.
Blackbird's compact case with die-cut foam protective pads ensures safe storage and transport of Blackbird and all its accessories. The chassis/stage gets separated from the T-bar to occupy less storage space inside the case and helps easily pack in the entire system in to the case.
A user manual and instructional DVD are included to quickly guide you through the setup.