New Gear: Movi M5

by | Sep 9, 2014

What did we get?

Movi Blog -2We recently got the FreeFly Systems Movi M5. (Warning: geek speak) The Movi is a three axis brushless gimbal system. It allows a person to walk around with the camera while the footage captured in really smooth. Setting up the system is pretty simple: you put your camera on it, balance the camera, and then, turn it on. The technology is pretty sophisticated. It uses GPS and other calculations to figure out the horizon to perfectly level out the camera. Though we have had it for around a month, every time we fire it up we still find it pretty amazing.

 Why did we get it?

Movi Blog -3Getting smooth footage is nothing new. I am sure if you have ever watched an NFL game and have seen any camera operators in the end zones, they are wearing something called a Steadicam. The Steadicam system was originally developed for the film industry to capture long smooth walking shots. The very first movie that ever featured a Steadicam shot was “The Shining” with Jack Nicholson (just in case you were wondering). While Steadicams are amazing pieces of gear, there is a significant learning curve. There are professionals out there whose entire career is being a Steadicam operator. That’s not us. Our goal is to tell stories and get the best footage possible without letting the tools get in the way. Hence, we got the Movi and not a Steadicam. Using the Movi, without any professional training, we can get shots that were simply out of reach for us previously. Want to follow someone down a hallway? No problem. Want to ride in the back of a truck and get perfectly smooth footage? No problem. Want to have the camera be low and close to the ground and then travel vertically upward? No problem. The potential for footage is, for the most part, only limited by one’s imagination.

What else?

The Movi, like every other piece of gear we have, is simply a tool. A cool one, but still only a tool. The trick with any new piece of gear is knowing when to use it and when not to use it. While it is super fun and produces some great looking results, a moving shot isn’t always necessary or appropriate. We have shot several projects since we purchased the Movi and I will say we have used it on only about half of the projects. And of those projects, only about 10%-20% of all the B-roll in the video comes from it.

The footage

Wanting to have a little fun, Jacob Hyten, a contractor, and friend, decided to take the Movi downtown and grab some footage.  Unfortunately, we were only able to shoot for about 45 minutes before it started raining. While our time was cut short, I still think we captured some good stuff. This was Jacob’s first time using the Movi, however, as you will see, that doesn’t matter. Enjoy!