REVIEW SNAPSHOT®

by PowerReviews
Camera Motion ResearchBlackbird Camera Stabilizer Kit
 
4.6

(based on 20 reviews)

Ratings Distribution

  • 5 Stars

     

    (12)

  • 4 Stars

     

    (8)

  • 3 Stars

     

    (0)

  • 2 Stars

     

    (0)

  • 1 Stars

     

    (0)

100%

of respondents would recommend this to a friend.

Pros

  • Professional quality (14)
  • Easy to use (13)
  • Improves performance (11)
  • Compact (7)
  • Lightweight (7)

Cons

No Cons

Best Uses

  • Independent films (12)
  • Complex projects (8)
  • Home movies (7)
  • Documentaries (3)
  • HD shooting (3)
    • Reviewer Profile:
    • Professional artist (11), Business owner (8)
    • Was this a gift?:
    • No (18)

Reviewed by 20 customers

Displaying reviews 1-20

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5.0

Take it to the Next Level!

By fitnesseducator

from Hilo, HI

About Me Business Owner, Film Student, Hobbyist, Professional Artist

Verified Buyer

Pros

  • Compact Design
  • Highly Compatible
  • Improves Performance
  • Lightweight
  • Professional Quality

Cons

  • Complex Learning Curve

Best Uses

  • Complex Projects
  • Independent Films
  • Pan Shots

Comments about Camera Motion Research Blackbird Camera Stabilizer Kit:

We do a lot of commercial work and this piece of equipment just took it up a notch. Gorgeous movement and so appealing to the eye... you look like your drifting with the wind. It's extremely sturdy, the results are awesome, and customization is overboard. However, the learning curve is a bit high. There's a fair bit of complexity to understanding the device and setup. Especially when swapping from one camera to another. It's so worth it though!

  • Was this a gift?:
  • No

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5.0

WORTH EVERY PENNY

By HumbugMedia

from Chicago, Il

About Me Creative Director, Editior, Producer

Verified Buyer

Pros

  • Improves Performance
  • Lightweight
  • Professional Quality

Cons

  • Takes A While To Tune In

Best Uses

  • Complex Projects
  • Home Movies
  • Independent Films
  • Live events

Comments about Camera Motion Research Blackbird Camera Stabilizer Kit:

I decided to take the plunge and buy the Blackbird to help with getting really cool shots for stage shows. IT DELIVERS ON EVERY LEVEL. Be aware it is going to take a while to master!

  • Was this a gift?:
  • No

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5.0

The Goods

By Powder Hound

from Lake Tahoe, CA

About Me Business Owner, Professional Artist

Verified Buyer

Pros

  • Improves Performance
  • Professional Quality

Cons

    Best Uses

    • Complex Projects
    • Home Movies
    • Independent Films
    • In The Studio

    Comments about Camera Motion Research Blackbird Camera Stabilizer Kit:

    I use the Blackbird to film freestyle skiing... Total Game Changer!

    • Was this a gift?:
    • Yes

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    5.0

    Sweet spot

    By Geno

    from Michigan

    About Me Business Owner

    Verified Buyer

    Pros

    • Compact Design
    • Easy To Use
    • Improves Performance
    • Lightweight
    • Professional Quality

    Cons

      Best Uses

      • Web Video

      Comments about Camera Motion Research Blackbird Camera Stabilizer Kit:

      This affordable & portable system takes a little practice to master, but gives great results. It smooths out the bumps in taking a video walk through w/Nikon D800 camera for both exterior & interior use. It is reasonably light-weight & easy to maneuver with.

      • Was this a gift?:
      • No

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      (2 of 2 customers found this review helpful)

       
      4.0

      Much faster set-up

      By cwinasia

      from Toronto, Ontario

      Pros

      • Easy To Use
      • Improves Performance

      Cons

        Best Uses

        • Home Movies
        • Independent Films

        Comments about Camera Motion Research Blackbird Camera Stabilizer Kit:

        The design of this piece is not as slick as the Merlin but I've found it much easier to set-up and that is mostly due to the 2 level bubbles on the back of the blackbird. Functionally I find it superior. With the Merlin I was flying blind and always seemed to go past where I wanted to for balance and I found it difficult to eyeball "level" . With the blackbird I know where I am and how much adjustment I need. I've now got marks for my camera with various lens and use that as my jumping of point, then from there it's small tweaks. I find it useful to move in increments of 1/8th of a turn and 1/4 for larger jumps.
        The kit is great mostly so you have the bar for balancing on a stand or table, I like using a stand so it's at an easy level to work with. Also when working with it I know when I'm level when I start and when I'm drifting. It still takes considerable practice to get good, the professional operators that I know practice constantly and I am trying to keep that in mind.

        I sold my Merlin out of frustration, this was easier as it's my second crack at it but I feel they have made this more user friendly. The enclosed video helps demonstrate how to set it up and some tips, it helps speed up your learning curve.

        This is not a professional steadicam but it will add some production value to smaller projects when you don't have the resources or simply have to travel light.

        • Was this a gift?:
        • No

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        (3 of 3 customers found this review helpful)

         
        4.0

        Blackbird flies with the best.

        By Dundee10

        from Dundee, IL

        About Me Business Owner, Professional Artist

        Verified Buyer

        Pros

        • Compact Design
        • Easy To Use
        • Improves Performance
        • Lightweight
        • Professional Quality

        Cons

          Best Uses

          • Complex Projects
          • Independent Films

          Comments about Camera Motion Research Blackbird Camera Stabilizer Kit:

          This is well worth the money for what is does do. I was a Steadicam operator from the middle 1990's on, using the larger heavier cameras. As I migrated to the smaller HD, now raw cameras my work necessitated a stabilizer. I appreciated The Blackbird for quite a few reasons. First was the ease of use. Secondly the speed of set up from footplate mount to smooth stabile shots in seconds! Next the learning curve for The Blackbird unit was brief. I found the weight distribution to be much different from my old larger Steadicam unit. So, after finding my new center of balance, I am busy making smooth shots running, escalating stairs and awkward walk and talk shots through sand.
          As I said, there IS a learning curve before going out on your first serious shoot.
          What it doesn't do is make my lower back ache anymore.

          • Was this a gift?:
          • No

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          (1 of 1 customers found this review helpful)

           
          5.0

          Great Product !

          By Pierre

          from Hong Kong

          About Me Professional Artist

          Verified Buyer

          Pros

          • Easy To Use
          • Highly Compatible
          • Professional Quality

          Cons

            Best Uses

            • Complex Projects
            • Home Movies
            • Independent Films

            Comments about Camera Motion Research Blackbird Camera Stabilizer Kit:

            This stabilizer really does what it claim it can do if you follow the instructional DVD. The DVD last for over an hour and it is very useful. There are very important tips and techniques to show you how to make the best use of this piece of equipment. So don't just grab it and to. Spend some time on the techniques because you need to combine the equipment and techniques in order to make the best use of it. This package is quite complete in itself. I think it would be great to also include one more shorter T bar for smaller camera (the shorter T bar can be found on the producer's website)

            • Was this a gift?:
            • No

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            5.0

            just buy it

            By PhotogRealtor

            from Asheville, NC

            About Me Business Owner

            Verified Buyer

            Pros

            • Compact Design
            • Easy To Use
            • Highly Compatible
            • Improves Performance
            • Lightweight
            • Professional Quality

            Cons

              Best Uses

                Comments about Camera Motion Research Blackbird Camera Stabilizer Kit:

                Im sure a $3-4,000 model is better but I wouldn't know. I have used a flycam nano and this blows it away! Set up is easy and it is a very well made piece of equipment. It is more difficult to shoot with then it looks like it would be but it will just take practice. The instructional DVD is priceless.

                • Was this a gift?:
                • No

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                (3 of 3 customers found this review helpful)

                 
                5.0

                High quality, easy to use, great shots!

                By Ricker

                from Sydney, Australia

                About Me Professional Artist

                Pros

                • Easy To Use
                • Highly Compatible
                • Improves Performance
                • Professional Quality

                Cons

                  Best Uses

                  • Complex Projects
                  • Home Movies
                  • Independent Films

                  Comments about Camera Motion Research Blackbird Camera Stabilizer Kit:

                  I use this product to put movement into shots, and its a great tool for that. It is ridiculously easy to get set up perfectly, so that you have a 2 second-3 second drop time. I can switch lenses and have it set to go in about 1 minute. The product is high quality. Nothing comes across as cheaply made or stupidly designed. Its all a high quality grade metal, and each bit fits smoothly with each other. The design is brilliant, especially on the weights compared to say the Glidecam HD 2000. You can pull weights on and off very simply, though I have no need to do this once I've set it up with my main camera. The T bar being horizontal is fantastic as it really makes for much smoother pan's. I like how you can rotate it anyway you wish for when you do need to have it out of the way from your knees when doing various shots. The kit is very complete, and makes the purchase feel much more worth its money, as you get many stands, weights and documentation to complement the actual stabilizer.

                  I use mine with a GH2 and an olympus 12mm lens on most shots. I use a manfrotto 577 quick release plate adaptor to add some more weight, and the entire weight of it all comes to about 1.2kg. SO it works beautifully with a very light camera. The heavier the camera the smoother the shots.

                  I have noticed that the extra friction you can apply through the gimbal is actually very handy for a light weight camera like mine. With just a little extra friction I can greatly improve the pans and reduce the wobble induced from changes in acceleration, without any noticeable increase in non smooth movements.

                  I have no association with camera motion research, but thought i'd give them a good rap as I have just been so pleased with the quality of this product. Dont even look twice at the merlins or glide cams, they just ain't in the same game on this one.

                  • Was this a gift?:
                  • No

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                  (1 of 1 customers found this review helpful)

                   
                  4.0

                  Great Alternative to the Merlin!

                  By DaveT

                  from Edmonton, Alberta

                  About Me Professional Videographer

                  Pros

                  • Easy To Use
                  • Highly Compatible
                  • Improves Performance
                  • Professional Quality

                  Cons

                  • Slightly bulky

                  Best Uses

                  • Complex Projects
                  • Independent Films
                  • Weddings

                  Comments about Camera Motion Research Blackbird Camera Stabilizer Kit:

                  I debated for many months on which stabilizer was best for me. After much deliberation, I picked the Blackbird and I couldn't be happier.

                  As a novice with camera stabilizers, the Blackbird is easy to set up and takes minimal practice before you can get it set up in about 5 minutes each time you use it. The set up is much more logical than the Merlin, which can be intimidating for some.

                  Also, unlike many similar stabilizers, the Blackbird can be configured to fly even the smallest cameras like point and shoots.

                  The 'kick stand' is a genius addition allowing me to set the rig, camera and all, down without having the camera touch the ground. It's also very durable. I've stepped on mine several times now while in the kick-stood position and the most that ever happened was a counter weight popped off...and was replaced in 5 seconds.

                  The only con compared to the Merlin, is that it can't pack as small and strap to a backpack. It's still very good compared to Steadicam offerings.

                  This kit also comes with many accessories that the Merlin doesn't...for less money!

                  • Was this a gift?:
                  • No

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                  4.0

                  Good for light weight camcorders

                  By burgoswill

                  from Boston, MA

                  About Me Business Owner, Professional Artist

                  Verified Buyer

                  Pros

                  • Compact Design
                  • Easy To Use
                  • Highly Compatible
                  • Improves Performance
                  • Lightweight
                  • Professional Quality

                  Cons

                    Best Uses

                    • Home Movies
                    • Independent Films

                    Comments about Camera Motion Research Blackbird Camera Stabilizer Kit:

                    I used this rig for weddings with my Canon xh-a1s camcorder. "Very heavy" however, very easy to balance and fly it.... I would highly recommend it for camcorders under 3-4lbs.

                    • Was this a gift?:
                    • No

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                    (1 of 1 customers found this review helpful)

                     
                    4.0

                    Well made and kit is complete

                    By Vidman

                    from Vancouver, BC, Canada

                    About Me Aspiring Film Maker

                    Verified Buyer

                    Pros

                    • Durable
                    • Easy To Use
                    • Lightweight

                    Cons

                      Best Uses

                      • Documentaries
                      • HD Shooting
                      • Shooting Indoors
                      • Shooting Outdoors

                      Comments about Camera Motion Research Blackbird Camera Stabilizer Kit:

                      The DVD really helped with set up and now I have to practice to get a smooth flow. I was impressed that kit is so complete and foam custom interior carrying case saves a lot of time to carry around and put together on location. I primarily use it with a Nikon D7000 but also have a Sony EX1. The fold out front stand is a very handy feature.

                      • Was this a gift?:
                      • No

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                      (3 of 3 customers found this review helpful)

                       
                      4.0

                      Easiest Stabilizer

                      By Bob G.

                      from Toronto, ON

                      About Me Corporate videomaker, Film Professional

                      Verified Buyer

                      Pros

                      • Easy To Use
                      • Quick to balance

                      Cons

                      • Cann't do low mode

                      Best Uses

                      • Documentaries
                      • HD Shooting
                      • Home Movies
                      • Shooting Indoors
                      • Shooting Outdoors
                      • Travel

                      Comments about Camera Motion Research Blackbird Camera Stabilizer Kit:

                      Of all the affordable stabilizers, this is simply the best because it is so quick to balance. It fits my merlin Steadicam vest and arm too.

                      • Was this a gift?:
                      • No

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                      (2 of 2 customers found this review helpful)

                       
                      5.0

                      Blackbird Stabilizer

                      By MtnTvGuy

                      from Colorado

                      About Me Film Professional

                      Verified Reviewer

                      Pros

                        Cons

                          Best Uses

                          • Documentaries
                          • HD Shooting

                          Comments about Camera Motion Research Blackbird Camera Stabilizer Kit:

                          I was very surprised at how quickly and easily someone like me, who has never used one, could balance it and fly it. I expected there to be much more of a learning curve, but with the DVD and the book I was able to get up to speed pretty quickly mounting my 5d MKII and my 60D on it.

                          I haven't done much "flying" with it, but it proved invaluable last week as I shot a flyfishing documentary and a tripod was not practical. Wow.

                          My Blackbird is worth every penny I paid for it.

                          • Was this a gift?:
                          • No

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                          (1 of 1 customers found this review helpful)

                           
                          4.0

                          Better then my other glide cams

                          By [@]

                          from puerto rico

                          About Me Business Owner, Professional Artist

                          Verified Buyer

                          Pros

                          • Easy To Use
                          • Professional Quality

                          Cons

                            Best Uses

                            • Independent Films

                            Comments about Camera Motion Research Blackbird Camera Stabilizer Kit:

                            I use the panasonic gh2 and this works great. I see no real issues at all. The panasonic gh2 is a very light cam so I cant say how it will do with a heavy camera like the canon 7d. The price is right and works great.

                            • Was this a gift?:
                            • No

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                            (2 of 2 customers found this review helpful)

                             
                            5.0

                            Great Product

                            By Dave

                            from Los Angeles

                            About Me Professional Artist

                            Verified Buyer

                            Comments about Camera Motion Research Blackbird Camera Stabilizer Kit:

                            I use this rig for my 7D and 5DM2 with a 16-35mm canon lens. It's easier to set up than I thought. Smooth shots but takes some finesse. Light weight but hard to handle for long periods. Glad I own it.

                            • Was this a gift?:
                            • No

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                            (3 of 3 customers found this review helpful)

                             
                            5.0

                            Blackbird stabilizer

                            By Descant Productions

                            from Lyons, CO

                            About Me Professional Artist

                            Verified Buyer

                            Pros

                            • Compact Design
                            • Easy To Use
                            • Professional Quality

                            Cons

                              Best Uses

                              • Complex Projects
                              • Independent Films

                              Comments about Camera Motion Research Blackbird Camera Stabilizer Kit:

                              I use the Blackbird with the Sony NEX-VG10, and it works great. Easy to set up, very stable, great value for the money. The instructional DVD is very informative, gets you up and running quickly. It still needs lots of practice to use, but for a handheld stabilizer I don't think you can do better for the price.

                              • Was this a gift?:
                              • No

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                              (3 of 4 customers found this review helpful)

                               
                              5.0

                              Refined and easy to use

                              By MW

                              from Los Angeles, CA

                              About Me Professional Artist

                              Verified Buyer

                              Pros

                              • Compact Design
                              • Easy To Use
                              • Professional Quality

                              Cons

                                Best Uses

                                • Independent Films

                                Comments about Camera Motion Research Blackbird Camera Stabilizer Kit:

                                I love using the blackbird. The craftsmanship and attention to detail shows and it's very easy to setup and balance. The supplied DVD & manual eased any concerns I had about learning how to operate a stabilizer without any formal training. Recommend the kit -- it gives you all you need for a very competitive price.

                                • Was this a gift?:
                                • No

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                                (2 of 2 customers found this review helpful)

                                 
                                5.0

                                The "Wow" factor you've been looking for

                                By Yeah Yeah Creative

                                from Nashville, TN

                                About Me Business Owner, Professional Artist

                                Verified Buyer

                                Pros

                                • Improves Performance
                                • Professional Quality
                                • Wow factor

                                Cons

                                • Learning curve

                                Best Uses

                                • Concerts
                                • Live events
                                • Outdoors

                                Comments about Camera Motion Research Blackbird Camera Stabilizer Kit:

                                I use the Blackbird with a Canon 7D. When paired with a good wide angle lens, like the Tokina 11-16, it flies like a dream. There's definitely a learning curve, so don't expect to pick it up and nail your first day of shots. But give it time, and you'll add a whole spectrum of potentially dynamic shots to any event.

                                It can be tricky to balance, but read the instruction booklet, watch the (included) DVD, and you'll be running and gunning fairly quickly.

                                • Was this a gift?:
                                • No

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                                (11 of 11 customers found this review helpful)

                                 
                                4.0

                                Unique advantages to Merlin and Glidecam

                                By Mike

                                from NJ

                                Verified Buyer

                                Pros

                                • Adjustable Friction
                                • Center gimbal
                                • Handheld

                                Cons

                                • Can't be inverted
                                • SIZE

                                Best Uses

                                  Comments about Camera Motion Research Blackbird Camera Stabilizer Kit:

                                  Good: As a first time stabilizer owner I chose the Blackbird over the Merlin and Glidecam for its unique features. It has a gimbal centered under the stage like the Merlin. It's less stress on the wrist than the off-center Glidecam. It can take cameras weighing more than the Merlin's maximum weight. The stage has marking for easier replication of recipes unlike the Glidecam. Best of all it has the Smoothtouch feature which is useful when you need to add a tiny bit of slowness to its reaction. It took me half a week to learn to fly it reasonably well.

                                  This is the new kit with the resting stand and tripod plate. The docking bracket helps when you need to use two hands to balance. It's the most complete package vs Merlin and Glidecam.

                                  Bad: It's bulkier than the folding Merlin due to the T-bar. It's not heavier but is taller. The Arm is about as tall at the Merlin but the T-bar adds about a foot depending on the setting. It cam be shortened at higher T-bar settings. The Glidecam is telescoping and can be inverted for low mode that neither Merlin nor Blackbird can match. If you don't need to do really low to the ground shots it's great. I reasoned if I need something that low I'd use a skateboard dolly or a crane.

                                  The video and documentation isn't as encompassing as Steadicam's, this is mitigated by excellent personal support from CMR. But this may be a challenge for non-English speakers.

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