September 7, 2013

You're Going to Want a Gyro-Stabilized Camera Gimbal After Watching This Amazing One-Take Promo

Gyro-stabilized handheld camera gimbals have become all the rage since NAB, with at least a half-dozen companies introducing their own version of the MōVI stabilizer from Freefly (and more everyday jumping on the bandwagon). Not all of these devices are created equal. Even though some of the parts may be relatively inexpensive, that doesn't mean it's easy to make them work fluidly, as the programming is a huge part of the performance. Burton Snowboards recently made a one shot promo for an upcoming web series that shows you some of the amazing things that are possible with these devices -- like the ability to smoothly hand the camera off to different operators. Check out the video below, including a behind the scenes look at the process:

The handoffs are what really bring out the possibilities for shots that have never been done before. Being able to pass off the camera to another operator is something that is impossible with a traditional steadicam. Obviously steadicams can do much of what the MōVI and other stabilizers can do, but what's special about these (and something I've reiterated over and over again, and even proved by handling the device), is that using them takes minimal training. Operating steadicam correctly takes years of practice, but a decent operator should be able to get the hang of using one of these stabilizers with just a few minutes of practice.

Freefly also recently posted this video showing Zach Braff utilizing the stabilizer on his new film:

If you're interested in how the MōVI is set up, the company just uploaded a bunch of videos detailing the process:

You can check out more on Freefly's Vimeo and watch the Burton web series beginning next Friday, September 13.

Links:

Your Comment

71 Comments

15K Tho... I'll wait for the others.

September 7, 2013

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James

The M5 model that will be coming later from Freefly is most comparable to what others have been releasing. It's going to run $5,000 and will take cameras like the Mark III and C100.

September 7, 2013

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Joe Marine
Editor-at-Large
Shooter/Writer/Director

Do you know what will be different from the 15k model vs. the 5k model?

September 12, 2013

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Karl

Agree 1000%

September 8, 2013

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Tim

...ordered at NAB, patiently waiting in line for mine.

September 7, 2013

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Well, the continuous shots have been done before. From "Soy Cuba" by a great Soviet era cinematographer Sergey Urusevsky. [ http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eOLVm_9UcRw ]

September 7, 2013

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DLD

Of course continuous shots have been done before...

September 7, 2013

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Joe Marine
Editor-at-Large
Shooter/Writer/Director

And your point is?

September 8, 2013

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mixxim

I think I'd rather pay the day rate for a steadicam op and then there's NO weight restrictions on the cameras we can use. As stated before the knock offs will be a tiny fraction of the cost.

September 7, 2013

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Thom

Why not just rent it?

September 7, 2013

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Gareth

Don't think you can pay a rate that allows your steadycam op to walk through walls or windows.

September 7, 2013

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Chris

This sort of Mobi stuff is really cool with the hand-offs and all but (from the point of view of someone only starting to get into cinematography) does the average person who knows nothing about movie-making think of it as anything special? We do , because we know what goes into it, but to the average person it's just some video showing you around a factory.

Sometimes I wonder whether the work is worth it, because you're only impressing the people "in the know" so to speak.

September 7, 2013

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Fletch

I dunno. I felt like the hand off down would still impress the average viewer, for the shot it gets. But, yeah, for the most part it'll impress them when you say there are no cuts (and they'll go looking for edits thinking it's a lie).

September 7, 2013

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Chris

Right -- which really plays towards a philosophy of moderation. In other words, only perform those crazy shots and maneuvers if you think they're meaningful or pursuant to the vision behind the work. Otherwise, you risk either wasting time on a camera move no one really cares about, or making some overwrought odd-looking video that calls too much attention to the camera movement and not enough to the action in front of the camera.
On the other hand, part of the reason the MoVI is supposed to be such an impressive product has to do with its ease of use and set-up. Presumably, it can replace lengthy set-up of tracks and dollies or sliders while also making viable some harder-to-shoot handheld shots. Further, because of how easy this may make executing some of the more complex shots, directors and cinematographers may get to create shots that otherwise would've taken a whole lot more time and effort to plan out and prepare. So, in a way, this can reduce the work put into making impressive shots like these, thus making them more financially viable, whether the audience cares about them or not.

September 7, 2013

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Mr Blah

IMO, it's as or more important to get a stable moving platform - a Segway, a cable, an electric skateboard, a longer rubber dolly track - than a new "easy-to-handle" stabilizer. In the "Shining", Garrett Brown's wheel chair was pushed from behind in order to get the "boy on a bicycle" shots (IIRC, he held the camera in his hands).
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The shot in question [ http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cy7ztJ3NUMI ]

September 8, 2013

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DLD

No they didn't! They used a steadie cam for that sequence! I don't know where you heard about them using a wheelchair...

September 8, 2013

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Would you like to see a video of Garrett Brown (with his Steadicam) in a wheelchair on the set of "Shining"?
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Much obliged - http://www.steadishots.org/shots_detail.cfm?shotID=74

September 9, 2013

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DLD

Looks like they used both a wheelchair AND a Steadicam!

September 9, 2013

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David

Yeah I've done the wheelchair routine on location in a hospital and it was never that smooth by itself even on smooth floors.

September 12, 2013

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Steve Nelson

Garrett Brown used a Steadicam and a wheelchair. He talked about it during the Steadicam big rig workshop. For proof, there is footage of it somewhere, I can't rember where...maybe in Vivisn Kubrick's BTS doc?

September 15, 2013

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Daniel Mimura

Oh---oops, I see there is already a link to the steadishots.org footage in question.

September 15, 2013

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Daniel Mimura

That is something I often wonder about. Good point.

September 8, 2013

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Archer

It's all about the feeling you leave your audience with... that has more to do with your skills as a filmmaker and story teller than what tools you use... it's up to you to impress or impress upon them what you'd like for them to experience...

September 8, 2013

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Fucking. Wow... :O

Gimme!

September 7, 2013

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Kraig

Well if Zach Braff is using one..........sarcasm aside, if you have a shot where this tool works, great.
What are we arguing about? It's neat. Looking forward to trying it out.

September 8, 2013

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marklondon

nice little promo article for Movi... too bad the other 6 companies making similar devices weren't even mentioned.

September 8, 2013

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craig jackson

mind you this is very similar to another pro Movi article written by the same author in June.... and again, no other gyro stabilizer was mentioned, although it's said here that there are a half dozen competitors. does a third promotional article in november land a free gyro stabilizer?

September 8, 2013

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craig jackson

http://nofilmschool.com/tag/stabilization/

4 articles on Movi (2 being coverage of the original release and announcement before any other stabilizer came on the market), with the last article coming in June. Since then:

2 articles on DEFY
1 on Besteady
1 on Ghost
1 on the EasyGimbal

Yeah... massive bias there... Maybe if some of these other companies had more products out in the field, there would be more reason to write about them?

September 8, 2013

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i didn't say NFS had a bias... i just noted whenever the OP is writing articles on Movi- other competing products don't seem to get mentioned. This last article, reviewing the need of gyro stabilizers in general, was certainly a good opportunity to compare and contrast products. yeah, no kidding, everyone wants one.

September 8, 2013

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craig jackson

ass kisser article. ha! craig

September 8, 2013

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Tim

When they're available, we'll see them. The thing is they all came out of the woodwork after MoVI was announced.

September 8, 2013

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brett

Do I get street cred by ripping on MoVI? Is that how this all works? I guess we've been doing it all wrong here at NFS......

In case anyone missed it, you can read my promotional article for MoVI from June here:

http://nofilmschool.com/2013/06/gyro-camera-stabilizer-hands-on-freefly-...

September 8, 2013

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Joe Marine
Editor-at-Large
Shooter/Writer/Director

And suddenly the whiners go quiet. Lulz.

September 8, 2013

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Kraig

Fuck I love this post.

Bwhahahahhahahahahahahaaa

September 8, 2013

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Ugh Braff makes me sick. As if he is making this video for any reason other than for free product use on his film. The guys is worth 20 mil and he has to hit up the little guys to make another self indulgent turd of a movie.

September 8, 2013

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Stew

It's a shame but the price of this unit is way out in left field. After researching gimbals for a hexacopter I found there's others out there that can do the same thing for way less money. No doubt it's a great unit, I just can't see it competing with units like BeSteady and some others. I think a year from now we'll look back and say what we're they thinking? The price is outrageous for simple off the shelf hardware that keeps getting better every month.

September 8, 2013

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Anthony Marino

I wonder how the software works. He completely left that part out. What happened to the Tilt Vertical video?

September 8, 2013

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Charlie

Hi Charlie, there's a guy (a respected expert) Alesky Moskalenco at http://www.simplebgc.comand he's working with BeSteady. He designs boards, gimbal motors, you name it. I really like the Movi but the hardware looks like anyone can buy it, and frankly for the money I think there's others out there frothing at the mouth to deliver the same thing if not better definitely for cheaper. What makes these units so effective is the board and motors. The rest of the hardware, carbon fiber, plastic and fiberglass seem not that much different from others in development. I'm sure Movi are using top notch hardware, just not so sure about the price.

September 8, 2013

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Anthony Marino

What a bunch of whingers the cine crowd produces.....Sitting behind your keyboards thinking your all that and I am better and this sucks and it's too expensive and you're promoting a product too much...Seriously you DO NOT have a clue.....Oh look ,now I'm whinging...thanks a lot!

The guys here are bringing YOU a FREE service where you don't have to go look for info on stuff yourself and you're still bitching to them that they are selling out to companies.....bunch of weirdos....really you are....except for the ones who aren't.

@ Craig Jackson.....Burton aint small time...they are big time, they use the best shit....Why would they go for some second class stuff ,made so they can sell to those who don't have cash for the real deal...yep that's you mate.....Maybe even Movi sponsored them....I bet your whinging ass that you would jump on that as fast as you could....and make a BTS cut to show how it's done......But they aint ever coming to you..

Oh and to the Mods at NFS you probably won't let this roll.....but hey it's the truth.....Nice site....Thanks!

September 8, 2013

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Phil

^^ all i'm saying is that this promo piece for Movi is a reiteration of a june article pushing the same thing. yes we know Movi is great and expensive and we've all seen their cool videos. more curious to the scoop on the other half dozen stabilizers in the works.

not too sure you make enough sense for me to respond on your other points

September 8, 2013

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craig jackson

Anyone know how they stay in focus doing this kind of stuff?

September 8, 2013

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Ed

Two methods - either going for a deep focus look, in which case focusing ideally isn't required, or a remote follow focus.

September 8, 2013

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Luke

Or AF

September 8, 2013

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Gareth

None of the camera systems shown in the above videos support continual auto focus.

September 8, 2013

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Mr Blah

It is a remote follow focus you can see it in the BTS video at 00:38.... I think it wil be essential for stuff like this.... but they are VERY expensive.... Also it seems like you need a operator flying the rig, a operator on the remote control doing pan/tilt and a remote focus puller to really make this work....

September 10, 2013

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Great work overall. Some of the moves can't be done with a steadicam, but with a steadicam it would had been smoother I feel. THere was this wobble on the footage I can't put my finger on that is just there. Myabe it's operator error or inexperience.

Overall, great tool, think with time and improvements on the programming algorhythms it will get even better.

September 8, 2013

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If these sorts of things end up in the 5k range they will be cheap to rent. I think some of the discussion is missing the point regarding how useful these systems will be. Even little stedicams like the merlin take ages to get good at. There is a real skill involved. This will be great for just simple walking down the street shots with small crews. No tracks to lay, no shakey doco style footage, nice smooth shots. Sure it can be overused but with some wireless mics hidden well you could shoot in a crowded city without blocking a street with one of these things.

September 8, 2013

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Billy C

BeSteady One/Four are similar solutions, especially for interested Europeans. At least on par with MoVi, even some better design solutions.

September 8, 2013

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hansd

and waaaay more affordable than MoVi

September 8, 2013

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hansd

FWIW, there are about a dozen of similar designs and various features and qualities. I think several Chinese made - though some of those may be only 2-Axis versions and in a kit form, with final assembly required - stabilizers can be had for about a grand on eBay.
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There's a Vimeo clip where a German video/film company - using their own unit - was shooting a local TV network film with the cameraman on a wheeled dolly, with his hands braced against the rear railing. IIRC, he framed too closed to a quickly walking couple, which rendered the footage extremely jumpy. It looked like it was hand held. The focus, however, wasn't a problem but I feel that an improved AF system off something like 70D would work as well. Then again, with the cameraman riding a dolly anyway, a small jib may have done the trick even better.

September 8, 2013

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DLD

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