lchiu7:dman: I thought I'd give an update to this thread, I ended up going with a pro stabilizer (Laing P-03 MC Stabilizer) rather than a DIY one.
I got it via VK (of GH hack fame) on Personal-View.com
You can still find Laing P-03 MC Stabilizer on Amazon:
Looking at the image it doesn't appear to have a gimbal bearing that floats the camera or did I not see it?
Yes it has a gimbal. You can even switch positions of the gimbal so that you can shoot upside down! For very low shots.
lchiu7: I ended up buying this
but it was not a good purchase. Though it does have the gimbal it is really hard to balance and perhaps I haven't got the knack, but when you move it, the camera pivots on the gimbal making it hard to take a picture of the image you intend.
I guess you get what you pay for.
Yeah, as you have already deduced that merlin style steadicam is massively inferior. (although it should still be useable, look up tutorials on youtube and guides. It will take a lot more work to fine tune)
Although the Laing P-03 MC is pricey I have got very good feedback about it and seen some good video reviews of it, should be even better than the more expensive Glidecam HD4000
There is a whole thread on Personal-View.com dedicated to it:
It hasn't arrived yet, but it should be by next week #excited!