Damn Sexy Camera Movement: Hands on with MoVI Pro Gimbal

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Cinema / video camera innovation over the last few years has largely centered around moving the camera. From jibs, to sliders, to drones and gimbals — all with the aim to give us tools to get unique and interesting shots.

Flashback 10 years ago, when I was working on campaigns with REI, Nikon, etc …. I’d call up my friend Tabb who was a drone geek tinkering in his basement working to combine his two passions of RC flying and photography. That effort turned into Freefly Systems and eventually the MoVI 10 which was the first handheld stabilizer on the market. Today, he’s evolved the idea to a camera movement eco system, where you can take the same gimbal rig from a drone, to a jib, to a car rig, to handheld giving us a fast & interchangeable way to get the shot.

In this episode of #cjRAW, we’re walking through the new features of the newly released MoVI Pro which is an update from the standard MoVI M10. In this upgrade, Tabb and his team focused on 5 areas of innovation:

Interchangeable & Hot Swappable Batteries

The new MoVI Pro Battery packs have built-in power indicators and are hot swappable with one hand. The new design enables running all day, minimizing downtime as batteries die. Plus — this is something I really love: the (2) onboard batteries now power the MoVI Pro, the camera, and accessories for over an hour. No more rebalancing after battery swaps. This is HUGE people.

Freestanding Ring

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This is a simple one but oh-so-nice. Gone are the days when you’ve been running around set only to have your stand a mile away during breaks. The MoVI Pro includes a detachable ring that’s both a fantastic grip, but also duals as a stand.

Integrated Control

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Seriously so many details here that film pros will love. Here are a few highlights:

  • RED Users now have the ability to fully control camera adjustments from hundreds of feet away from the camera.
  • It also now has a built in display for auto-tune and fine tune, removing the requirement to use a separate app.
  • Internal wiring makes the rig clean and slick, reducing chance of snagging or having connection issues due to exposed wires.

Mimic + Controller options

The controller options are the real MVP of the MoVI. Of course you have single operator mode (aka Majestic Mode) where you can run around and fly the camera, as you might expect.

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The second option is the now finalized Mimic Controller — a small handheld (or handlebar ring) that let’s a second operator manage the camera control, while the “mule” or a friend focuses on moving the rig. This is great for more complex moves where the operator must pay careful attention to where they are going, without having to also focus on camera framing.

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The last method is via the MoVI controller. While majestic mode + mimic are part of the MoVI Pro standard package, the MoVI controller is a separate accessory in a joy stick form factor. This might be a very comfortable controller for those from the RC or drone world. It also has several other dials which enable camera control…

Camera Movement Ecosystem

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FreeFly has truly built a system interchangeable ecosystem. Using their using their Toad In The Hole Quick Release system, you can move from jib, to handheld, to car rig, to drone, and many more using the same gimbal system. It’s insanely cool.

The Cheddar

Let’s talk about price, shall we? $6500 bucks for the entire MoVI Pro handheld bundle, including the mimic controller.

NOW, people, I realize that $6500 ain’t no chicken scratch. BUT relative to other pro cinema gear – that is a NUTSO low price. I get that it’s steep for single operators / owners making vids on their own, but this is a staple for any pro production house at this price. It’ll pay for itself on the first day with the shots you’ll get. To be clear – the original / basic MoVI is still a slick purchase at $1999. But this version is really next level, what with all the bells / whistles etc. Just my 2 cents. I realize it’s a privileged POV financially speaking…but this is the real deal. And for professional productions – this setup is gold.

For your reference, I’ve included the specs of the Movi Pro below. Also be sure to check out more info on the Freefly Systems website.


SPECIFICATIONS

DIMENSIONS
MōVI Pro 345 x 345 x 432mm (L*W*H)
Camera Cage 196 x 200 x 175mm (L*W*H)
MECHANICAL
Pan Range of Motion Unlimited
Roll Range of Motion ±60º
Tilt Range of Motion (Normal Mode) +90º above horizontal to -165º below horizontal
Tilt Range of Motion (Inverted Mode) +165º above horizontal to -90º below horizontal
Max Pan Rate 360º/s
Max Roll Rate 360º/s
Max Tilt Rate 360º/s
Weight 2.65kg
Max Payload 6.80kg
Max Operating Speed 100km/hr (dependent on payload)
Operating Temperatures -20° to 50°C
Ingress Protection IP52 (dust & water droplet protected)
Mounting System Freefly Toad In The Hole (TITH) Quick Release
ELECTRONICS
Data Logging Rate 5, 10, and 25 Hz
Connections Bluetooth Low Energy v4.2 and 2.4GHz Custom FHSS Radio
Motor Type Direct-drive 3 phase Brushless
Data Storage microSD
Port Types GCU ports: COM1, 12V, COM 2
TSU Ports: LTC Timecode In/Out, EXP
CANbus + Battery Voltage, CAM, 12-14V CAM, 12V
AUX, F,I,Z, USB Type C

What’s Covered

Interchangeable & Hot Swappable Batteries [3:03]

Freestanding Ring [3:29]

Integrated Control [3:53]

Mimic + Controller Options [4:37]

Camera Movement Ecosystem [9:36]

Links From The Episode

freeflystems.com

Music From:
“You Can Have It” by Fresh Espresso: https://www.facebook.com/FreshEspresso

Also found at : Damn Sexy Camera Movement: Hands on with MoVI Pro Gimbal

Post author

Dustin Gurley is an Designer, Developer, Artist, Instructor, Critical Theorist and Systems Engineer. He has an extensive background working professionally with 2D/2.5D/3D Motion Graphics, Compositing, Film, Video, Photography and client-side performance techniques as it pertains to web development. Dustin recently completed work on his Master of Fine Art degree in Motion Media Design (Motion Graphics) from the Savannah College of Art and Design. Prior to beginning his graduate work, Dustin obtained a Bachelor of Art degree in Communication Studies with a concentration in Broadcast and Emerging Media from the University of North Carolina at Wilmington. In addition to design and modeling, Dustin enjoys toying with his view camera, working with scratch film, authoring media related material and contributing to various industry conferences. When not in front of a computer, Dustin can be found with his wife, Regina Everett Gurley. The couple enjoys dividing their time between their home just outside of Raleigh, North Carolina and the beautiful North Carolina coast. Currently, Dustin serves as the Lead Instructor of Internet Technologies for Wake Technical Community College in Raleigh, North Carolina.