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MoVI M10 – Steadicam smoothness for less than Hollywood-sized budgets

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April 10, 2013

MōVI M10 Gyroscopic Camera Mounting System

MōVI M10 Gyroscopic Camera Mounting System

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One of the most defining facets of any filmmaker’s style is how they position and move the camera. Though the time honored “tripod or dolly?” choice expanded with the advent of the Steadicam operator-controlled motion system in the 1980’s, the cost of even renting one (and the operator) have remained out of reach for the new breed digital filmmakers.

The MōVI M10 from Freefly Systems Inc. looks to offer a smart and relatively cost-effective solution. The MōVI M10 setup is a motorized, triple gimbal system that provides rock-solid smoothness under ridiculous amounts of motion, both small and large, and for a fraction of its cost could offer what the Steadicam does – and potentially a whole lot more.

The M10 is aimed at the rapidly growing category of film-quality digital video cameras such as the Arri Alexa, Sony F5 and F55, the Scarlet line from Red and the just announced Blackmagic Production Camera 4K. The M10 seems to be in the same mindset: offer the highest value for money and a cool technology that changes the entire value equation. The MōVI system weighs 4 pounds and can travel in a thin suitcase as carry-on luggage.

From the looks of things, the M10 can do a whole lot more than just create the occasional follow shot. The demo video shows cam operators running down stairs, through traffic and crowded sidewalks, and even rollerblading with the cameras rolling. The resulting footage is amazing – perfectly sharp and jitter-free, without any distracting shake or discontinuity.

A drawback of the system is that it is only able to carry about 10 pounds of camera and lenses – about the weight of digital camera back and basic lens setup. However, a larger M20 model is being developed to handle double that weight for more dramatic and significantly costlier lenses (the kind that are priced like condominiums you rent).

The MōVI M10 is based on a proprietary and custom-made gimbal and 3-axis gyroscope that di...

The M10 is based on a proprietary and custom-made gimbal and 3-axis gyroscope that digitally stabilizes the camera. The smoothness it provides over a wide range of conditions could really expand filmmakers frontiers of experimentation and change the way film is shot. The M10 allows shooters to make a complicated shot in less time than it would to explain it to the director. It could also negate the use of a tripod for many of the quick pan or tilt shots or even more complicated “push" and POV shots that would be either impossible or eat up too much time for any typical shoot not involving Jim Cameron.

The MōVI M10 sells for around US$15K and a smaller version, the M5, will be half that, at $7,500 – less than a quarter the cost of a typical Steadicam setup retailing over $30,000/US, and cheaper to buy outright with every option than the spend for just a single day of Cineflex system rental.

Source: Freefly Systems

About the Author
Kennedy Grey Kennedy Grey has contributed hundreds of features, reviews and how-to articles to publications including MovieMaker, WIRED, Red Herring, Macworld/MacUser and MovieMaker. He founded US-based teen suicide prevention Non-Profit Organization Rock Against Suicide in 2002 and currently lives in Seattle, WA.   All articles by Kennedy Grey
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3 Comments

Hello.

Being the scrounging designer that I am, I would build me one of these units with Schedule 40 pvc pipe, properly glued and with the right mount that could be drilled on a table-top drill press.

The mount would be aircraft aluminum which the supplier can cut to size. I would say about 15 dollars for a hack saw, 7 dollar for a set of rough and fine files, 60 dollars for schedule 40 pipe, (maybe 40 pipe would be too heavy). Then 7 dollars for pipe cement, 35 dollars for the bracket (maybe more for some machining), some s/s u-clamps, a trip to the shoe repair shop or leather shop for custom straps (been there, done that), nice foam grips from a bicycle shop, etc. I think youu can get good pvc electrical boxes to hide the battery and gimbals. Well, it's just an idea to try to save 14K. Use the internet for more resources.

Check out this gimbal site: http://photoshipone.com/gyroscopic-stabilizer-form-photoship-one/

Richard

RichC
11th April, 2013 @ 01:44 pm PDT

I see one flaw. The operator is holding the camera with both hands, How long do you think he will be able to keep that up? Steady cam can be used with gyros already, and a seasoned, and trained operator will be able to provide better shots than someone who just buys one of these toys.

Tito
12th April, 2013 @ 07:46 pm PDT

Umm... "Steadicam smoothness for less than Hollywood-sized budgets"? Your pricing screams of Hollywood budgets, I can have the vast majority of STEDICAM gear for a hell of a lot less than this. In fact a STEDICAM Scout or even Pilot completely decked out with every feature and accessory would be just over half of this cost.

So, do tell, what pricing for the aerial features? I'm sure we all can't wait. I think we might as well just book the chopper, it'll likely be cheaper.

Christopher John Taylor
21st April, 2013 @ 10:31 am PDT
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