Life After Death – Steadicam Vest


Preparing for a last minute shoot today, I found my Steadicam Merlin Vest had cracked on the upper chest piece. Crap. The quick fix for me today was to use the top portion of the Konova Vest and mate it with the Steadicam Merlin Arm (which is held on with the waist area). There was a bit of hackery, drilling, and modding, but it managed to all come together in the end. The reason I needed to stick with the Steadicam ISO Arm is because the rig I had already built up was fairly lightweight. The Konova requires a good payload to be effective, but the Steadicam arm can be dialed to fly lighter sleds. So for today's shoot i'm Frankenstein-ed out with a vest that consists of a Konova Chest Piece, Steadicam Arm, and Glidecam sled...

Steadicam Vest Konova Glidecam Stabilizer Fix Repair

24 thoughts on “Life After Death – Steadicam Vest

  1. Emm

    Post author

    @dan b. - I think Tiffin sells the part seperately. This seems to be a common problem.

  2. dan b.

    My vest broke in the same spot, but I didn't have a konova vest laying around so my arms got a good work out. Emm, if you have DIYed a fix for this I'd love to see it. I think I'm going to have to call tiffen.

  3. I was searching for cracked pilot/merlin vest and came across your post and page. This same thing happened to me yesterday. Pretty much the exact same spot. This has to be a stress point in the vest and it's clearly something that's a trade off for the weight, and the price. I probably have 300 hours in this thing atleast.

    Well, I'm going to try and gorilla glue this thing together. Superglue in a pinch didn't work. DUCT tape. That worked... Gaffers, not so much. I'm thinking though that I should be able to get a replacement from steadicam and or modify it another way.

    cheers for posting this!

    Justyn Rowe

  4. Emm

    Post author

    @Kevin - It's a great product, but I really beat up my gear. I don't baby any of the stuff I have and really put it through the paces. I've had it for quite a while and it's been through plenty of use. I haven't called Tiffen yet, but i'm sure they have a replacement part for this plastic piece.

  5. I am on the verge of purchasing the Merlin Arm and Vest. Is it a reliable product? This doesn't seem like the quality you'd expect for a $1,500 piece of gear. Is there any warranty coverage?

    BTW, this is a great, to the point blog.

  6. Emm

    Post author

    @Mark Serrano - I don't use the monitor often enough, but I thought about doing the same thing and drilling a few holes.

  7. Mark Serrano

    Em - I just got my HD4000 glide cam. I have a field monitor that I want to attached on the bottom of the sled. Do you hide the hdmi cable? I was thinking maybe making a Normal to mini to mico HDMI cable and hide it in the glidecam. Only problem is I have to make holes =(. In the end it would be a nice clean setup.


  8. Emm

    Post author

    @Mark Serrano - I have not used the Glidecam, but I know it's not the same as the Konova. I still think the Steadicam Vest is the best bang for the buck and it can handle light weight setups. If you get too much vest, then you'll always have to load up your Stabilizer just to make it work.

  9. Mark Serrano

    Emm, would it be safe to say that the konova vest is the same as the glidecam x10? They look very similar.

    I'm planning to get the steadicam vest but when i saw this its making me rethink.


  10. Emm

    Post author

    @J Toha - Its modded to work on both. I like the Konova better because less velcro, but I needed to use Steadicam arm today.

  11. Hey Emm, where is the website for your production company? I've always wondered where i could find your finished corporate/film work.

  12. Emm

    Post author

    @Brad Justinen - Its not metal, but a type of plastic. I'll figure a way to mend this...or make a new piece.

  13. J Toha

    Darn, must have been pretty unnerving for it to break on you last minute like that. Props to you for solving it quickly. Yeah I hope you have some sort of warranty or at least Steadicam will get a replacement for you. It's by no means a cheap investment.

    Since you hacked and drilled the Konova vest, would it still be compatible with the Konova Arm or was it a permanent mod?

  14. Mark Serrano

    There must be some warranty with the steadicam company. I bet if you show them that picture, they will probably send you new one. Nice fix!!

  15. I'd be really pi**** if my $1600 piece of equipment fell apart like that. Good patch up job. Lucky you to have back up parts:)

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