If you’ve ever wanted to pull off just about any camera move with a tiny handheld rig, that just became reality. Potentially replacing the traditional steadicam at a stroke the tiny lightweight MōVI (easier to Google as “MoVI”) is a gyro stabilised platform with gimbal and hand grip. It appears to be so effective it allows you to execute a tracking shot without a track, a pan / tilt without a tripod and a dolly shot without a dolly!
There are two versions – the M5 and M10. The M5 is designed for smaller DSLRs like the Panasonic GH3 and costs $7500. Compared to a high end Steadicam that’s almost affordable to some consumers let alone pros. You can see some GH3 footage in Vincent’s Vimeo On Demand download, the proceeds of which go to the charity Lollipop Theater which is a quite lovely cause bringing movies to hospitalised children.
The high end model costs $15,000 and can support a paired down Epic or Canon 1D C but not the heavier and larger cameras like the Alexa. Future developments are planned on that front.
MoVI (I will type it without the ō from now on…!) is developed by Freefly Systems, a 5 man team who are known for their drone flight heads and gimbals. Based in Seattle, their handheld device is very much like something a drone would use but allows your hand to take the place of the copter. As you can see from Vincent’s video shot with DP Timur Civan (check out Vincent’s MoVI blog here) it allows you to pull off some great moves, more creatively executed than a bulky high end Steadicam would allow. The 3 axis gyro stabiliser has no contact point with the body or bulky counter weights.
The one thing – gyros, camera, wireless video monitoring system runs for up to 90 minutes on one charge and charging takes a maximum of 20 minutes. So two batteries and you are all set.
Of course for focus you need some kind of wireless follow focus system and possibly a second operator, though I can see a follow focus being built into the hand grip somehow in the future. The easiest way to use the Movi is to have a very wide angle lens, stop down and set it to infinity – then everything from about 1-2 meters in front of you will be tack sharp and you won’t need to worry about focus at all.
Behind the scenes footage:
It is very interesting to see something that was ‘born in the sky’ come down to earth and become this kind of wide-ranging multi-purpose rig.
It will certainly have an impact on the market, as it is quite disruptive technology.
First of all – tripods, jibs and sliders – I am certainly going to rethink those. There are times when shooting in public places that security have a health & safety moment and even something as simple as a tripod can be enough to make them scramble their anti-photo-terror units. Of course with a rig that touches the ground you are liable to trip somebody up and kill them. The great thing about DSLRs is the stealth factor (and small size) so for me this MoVI just adds to that greatly. No need to set up a track, arm, crane or any clunky rigging, even a small tripod, in a public place like a train station or a sensitive remote location like a religious temple. Just use the camera handheld. Granted the movement and rig gives away the fact you’re doing moving images, not stills – but it is HANDHELD and that is very key.
As for the established steadicam and stabiliser market – where have they been? Sleeping? I’m very surprised the big guys missed bringing this technology to a low price point and small size. They’re going to be hurt BIG TIME by it.
It will be interesting to use the MoVI when cameras like the Olympus OM-D E-M5 get their video modes sorted out – as the 5 axis stablisation built into that camera is quite sensational and will likely improve the stability of a shot on a MoVI even further, for more brave moves.
Finally here’s the MoVI technology on a RC multicopter.