Camera Motion Research Blackbird Camera Stabilizer Kit

Camera Motion Research Blackbird Camera Stabilizer Kit

Camera Motion Research Blackbird Camera Stabilizer Kit

B&H # CABBK MFR # 2050A
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Product Highlights

  • For DSLRs and Handheld Camcorders
  • Supports Cameras Weighing up to 8 lb
  • User-Adjustable Friction for Tilt/Roll
  • Quick and Easy Vertical Balancing
  • Camera Stage with Friction Pad
  • T-Bar Assembly / Counterweights
  • Gimbal Extender for Cameras < 2 lb
  • Built-In Tilt and Roll Bubble Levels
  • Docking Bracket with Table Clamp
  • Tripod Adapter / Resting Stand
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Camera Motion Research Blackbird overview

  • 1Description

The Camera Motion Research Blackbird Camera Stabilizer Kit allows for easy leveling, balancing, and positioning of DSLRs and camcorders weighing up to 8 lb. The handheld system includes a camera stage/chassis with support arm, mounting plate, locating pin, gimbal and extender, T-bar assembly with two horizontal bars, counterweights, universal docking bracket with table clamp, tripod adapter, 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 rebalancing 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 axes.

The gimbal assembly with six precision ball bearings can take a minimum static load of 57 lb 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 lb.

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 using 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 a maximum open adjustment of 1 3/4".

The tripod adapter 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 yet strong. When not shooting, the stand can be used to set down the stabilizer with the camera attached on a reasonably flat 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 the 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 the entire system into the case.

A user manual and instructional DVD are included to quickly guide you through the setup.

Mounting Plate
  • For additional front/back adjustment
  • Safety pin to prevent the camera from sliding off the stage
  • Friction pad to mount the camera with or without use of the camera locating pin
Camera Stage/Chassis
  • Adjustment knobs for precise positioning of the camera
  • Convenient scale to reference the mounting plate position and minimize rebalancing time when attaching the camera
  • Low backlash screw drives and the internal dovetail guides for stable camera positioning
  • Built-in tilt and roll bubble levels to make balancing easier in both axes
  • Reduces motion artifacts with SmoothTouch technology
  • Low intrinsic friction and alignment
  • Six precision ball bearings can take up to 57 lb in any axis
  • Main operator ring controls roll, tilt, and pan; the ring below the gimbal controls pan
  • Gimbal extension for cameras weighing less than 2 lb
  • Quick and easy adjustment of vertical balance (drop time)
  • Two horizontal bars: 11" for highly adjustable angular position; 15" bar for maximum pan axis moment of inertia and stability
  • Finer adjustment of vertical balance by moving the counterweight T-bar up or down
  • Secure locking with an advanced clamping design
Universal Docking Bracket
  • Conveniently dock the Blackbird on a tripod, C-stand, or any table edge
  • Has a tripod mounting nut and C-stand mounting hole for docking the stabilizer to the tripod and C-stand, respectively
  • Tripod mount has 1/4"-20 screw connection
  • C-stand mount fits standard 5/8" spigot with 1/4"-20 stud
  • Table clamp has a maximum open clamp adjustment of 1 3/4"
Tripod Adapter
  • Quick transfer of camera between Blackbird and the tripod
  • Same dovetail and clamp design as on top of the Blackbird camera stage
Resting Stand
  • Strong and lightweight, made of stainless steel and anodized aluminum components
  • Used to safely set down the stabilizer with camera attached, on reasonably flat surface
  • Maximum resting stability with 3-point support
  • Can be folded down while shooting
  • Ensures safe storage and transport
  • Soft, die cut foam protective pads for components
  • Chassis/stage gets separated from the T-bar to occupy less space in the case
UPC: 705105925875
In the Box
Camera Motion Research Blackbird Camera Stabilizer Kit
  • Chassis
  • T-Bar Assembly
  • Camera Mounting Plate
  • Counterweights
  • Gimbal Extender
  • Horizontal Bar (11")
  • Horizontal Bar (15")
  • Spare Screws and Locating Pin
  • Universal Docking Bracket
  • Table Clamp
  • Tripod Adapter
  • Resting Stand
  • Case
  • Limited 1-Year Warranty
  • Table of Contents
    • 1Description

    Camera Motion Research Blackbird specs

    Stabilizer Type Single-Grip Handheld
    Load Capacity 1 to 8 lb / 0.5 to 3.6 kg
    Height 20 to 25" / 50.8 to 63.5 cm
    Weight 2.4 lb / 1.1 kg
    Counterweights None
    Packaging Info
    Package Weight 9.4 lb
    Box Dimensions (LxWxH) 18.0 x 12.4 x 6.7"

    Camera Motion Research Blackbird reviews

    Blackbird Camera Stabilizer Kit is rated 4.6 out of 5 by 21.
    Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great Product ! 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)
    Date published: 2012-09-19
    Rated 4 out of 5 by from Blackbird flies with the best. 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.
    Date published: 2013-01-14
    Rated 4 out of 5 by from Unique advantages to Merlin and Glidecam 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.
    Date published: 2010-05-17
    Rated 5 out of 5 by from Blackbird Stabilizer 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.
    Date published: 2011-07-01
    Rated 5 out of 5 by from The Wow factor you've been looking for 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.
    Date published: 2010-11-09
    Rated 5 out of 5 by from Take it to the Next Level! 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!
    Date published: 2015-09-16
    Rated 5 out of 5 by from Blackbird stabilizer 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.
    Date published: 2011-02-14
    Rated 4 out of 5 by from Much faster set-up 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.
    Date published: 2013-03-03
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