Last night we heard the news that turns any Movi Operator into what can only be described as a kid at Christmas: finally receiving the toy you’ve been waiting for all year. Except this has been some what longer than a year. Freefly just released the MoVI pro, what looks to be the most technologically advanced camera stabilisation to date. All of the minor blips and issues with the three variations that have come before it have finally been addressed and resolved.
We’ve been excited by Freefly’s products in the past. Three and a half years ago the Movi M10 was introduced, a revolutionary device that changed camera movement forever. A year or so later, the M5 & M15 came out, a huge improvement on the M10 and pushed the gimbal into the realms of professional cinematography. However this time it feels different, for the first time ever it feels like Freefly have finally accomplished what they set out to do from the start. It genuinely feels like they have solved all the niggling issues that surrounded the M5, M10 & M15, listened to users and provided results that look incredible.
Some may argue this should have been the case from the start, why has it taken 3 years and 3 models to correct the issues that were so clear to regular professional users? However they admit to being locked in a manufacturing battle with the release of the M10, in order to be the first to market. The M5 & M15 release possibly came too soon, but competitors gimbals such as DJI’s Ronin surely prompted them to make changes quickly before the M10 was blown away. Since the M5 & M15 release, they have been relatively quiet. However we shouldn’t have doubted them, on this occasion they’ve taken the time to create something really special that we can’t wait to add to our kit list.
So for anyone yet to discover just how exciting the MoVI Pro looks to be, put aside 6 mins and watch this incredible video introduction from Freefly. One thing we would personally like to note is how Tabb Firchau (Founder of Freefly) talks about the product. This isn’t a manufacturer thinking only about sales, this is a camera enthusiast that seems immensely proud of what his team have created. Tabb we salute you Sir!
So let’s quickly recap what elements make us so excited about the MoVi Pro!
Movi Pro Ring
Our MoVI Operators have always considered the Movi ring. It’s lighter, stiffer and fatter making it easier to grip and it’s main asset is the capability for an operator to hold to ring towards the bottom, therefore raising the Movi higher to gain eye level shots much more easily. Hand offs between operators is made much easier with ring as it provides numerous mounting points. A great addition is a quick release monitor mount that can be adjusted with one hand, any Movi operator will explain how useful this is, especially during a shoot with constant need to switch between low and high. If you are worried about having to mount multiple items to the Movi pro ring, don’t worry Freefly have it covered, scan down to ‘Integrated bottom plate’. Another particularly useful addition is that the Movi Pro ring comes with a built in stand, meaning the rig can be placed on the ground between takes which is a god send for operators (and their arms)…. leave your C-Stand at home guys!
Hidden cables and weather proof electronics
If you look at the M15, M10 or even M5 the first thing you’ll notice is wires and zip ties on display. Not a good look when you are paying for a premium piece of kit. I’ve actually heard people on set saying before ‘Yeah the Ronin is cheap, but at least it doesn’t look like a piece of Meccano stuck together with zip ties.’ The Movi Pro finally has all cables and wires embedded in the framework and are strain relief. No more tangles or snags and surely this means the Movi pro can now spin in any orientation and not get wound up! The Movi Pro’s electronics are now sealed in weather resistant enclosures and any UK Movi Operators can spend less time nervously on BBC weather and more time focusing on your shot! This is a great addition, we have been on shoots out at sea, up in the mountains and the last thing you want to worry about is a drop of water hitting a sensor.
Possibly the most exciting feature of all, The Movi Pro comes with two attachable batteries that slot right on the back of the pan arms! NO MORE LIPOS! One more time please, NO MORE LIPOS! The new Movi batteries attach simultaneously and when one runs out the second initiates and they can be looped this way throughout a shoot meaning the Movi Rig can be switched on at the start and left running all day, no more downtime between takes and keeping your eye on your battery life. Freefly boast these batteries can power everything on the gimbal which is a revelation to cameras and accessories in general not just the Movi.
The Movi Pro has a screen at the rear of the gimbal that allows Operators/Technicians to access tuning parameters and gimbal status, being able to monitor these settings directly is a huge improvement and a time saver.
Integrated bottom plate
Now for another groundbreaking admittance. The Movi Pro’s bottom plate comes fitted with what Freefly call a small computer that turns what use to be a camera stabilisation rig into a full blown camera stabilisation system. It includes a brain for Focus, Iris, Zoom, 11-14v Dtap Power, 12v Accessory port, USB C port, timecode in/out and camera connectivity. The system is compatible with RED, Alexa Mini & Sony F55 meaning operators can dial camera setting, stop/start, playback all from huge distances away. Perfect for on set, perfect for airborne activity.
It seems manually tuning the Movi is a thing of the past, no more online forum discussions stating ‘the best tuning settings’. The Movi Pro is fully automated and does this work for you much more accurately than existing autotune features. Freefly say this will take 10 seconds compared with the current 1-2 minutes which is so important when faced with the stress of time constraints on a shoot. But wait there is one more addition that Movi operators will smile ear to ear when they hear… 2 second reboot times! This thankfully ends the 20 second panic when the DP asks ‘Is camera is set?’ and powered down whilst he adjusted his lighting!
So this is our pick of favourite features found in Freefly’s Movi Pro, There is a few more gems so make sure you watch the video all the way the through. This release is a HUGE deal for us, it is refreshing that Freefly have listened to customers and made a device which looks built for the future. We are thrilled to announce that we will be stocking the kit and in the coming weeks our Movi Operators will be bringing it out to play on set.
Head over to our crew page for more information on our Operator packages. If you have a shoot coming up and would like some guidance on our packages feel free to call or email us at 0207 412 8925 & firstname.lastname@example.org
Here’s some of the work we were part of last year, Enjoy!