November 3, 2016

MoVi Pro is the Next Evolution in Stabilized Motion

The new MoVi Pro is a more sophisticated, battle-tested design.

When Freefly first released the test film for the MoVi camera stabilizing rig three years ago, it was an exciting moment for indie filmmakers. Shots that previously required expensive equipment were now possible on a reasonable budget. Some shots that were previously impossible were now almost easy.

This looks like a major step forward for stabilizers.

But the system—and its many, many copycats—suffered from problems that often plague first-generation products. It could take a long time to get the calibration properly set up. Restart times on battery swaps were time-sucks on set. Cabling was messy and prone to getting snagged, throwing off your shot, or exposure to the elements. The MoVi was great, but it at times felt more like a beta than a final release.

Today, Freefly has finally released the next generation: the MoVi Pro.

Now, the company that first popularized gimbal stabilization appears to be the company that is going to help it grow up.

Freefly is clearly driven by shooters and has had a close relationship with its customers out in the field; the evolution of the design really shows. For the first time, MoVi looks clean and well-integrated.

MoVi Internal Cable RoutingCredit: Freefly

By switching to internal cable routing, the new MoVi Pro not only looks like a designed device (and not something rigged DIY), but it's also less likely to snag on nearby objects when executing a complicated move. It's safer from inclement weather, and it's going to be faster to set up.

The rig assembly comes with a built-in stand, making it easier for the operator to rest the MoVi.

To that end, the MoVi now offers a two-second boot time, so you won't miss a shot waiting on the rig to boot. That feature might not matter much, however, since the system offers hot, swappable batteries; in theory, you could keep the stabilizer turned on all day and never need to boot up by swapping batteries live whenever one gets low.

MoVi ProCredit: Freefly

The Pro is also designed to offer camera and accessory power directly, so the only batteries you'll need to worry about throughout the day are the MoVi Pro batteries.

In addition to power for camera and accessories, MoVi has worked to integrate RED Camera Protocol (RCP) for remote control of RED camera bodies. Even if your MoVi is on a drone in the air or at the end of a 20' crane, you can change your RED camera settings, including checking playback, from the MoVi remote or the new MIMIC remote.

Credit: MoVi Pro

In order to expedite the rig setup, the Pro offers an auto-tune mode that is able to auto-calibrate as the camera setup changes. Time is money on set; time lost to calibrating a camera after a lens change is time you don't get to spend shooting. 

In a final, much-appreciated addition, the rig assembly comes with a built-in stand, making it easier for the operator to rest the MoVi when it's not being put to dynamic use.

Built in stand for the MoVi ProCredit: Freefly

This looks like a major step forward for stabilizers, and one that is well positioned to keep Freefly ahead of the fierce competition in this space. 

Packages for handheld or aerial work will come in around $6,500 and are expected to ship in mid-November. For more info or to order, head over to the Freefly site.

Tech specs

  • 25.2V hot swappable MoVi Pro Batteries
  • Power Outputs: Camera D-Tap, Spine D-Tap, Tilt D-Tap, Tilt USB
  • Detailed info screen
  • Auto-tune mode for calibration
  • Custom designed direct drive brushless motors, twice as much torque as before
  • 180° instant roll to go from hand held to TERO
  • Toad In The Hole Quick Release
  • Increased 30mm ring diameter
  • New MIMIC controller
  • Pro App
  • 2 second boot time
  • 60dB at 1Hz disturbance rejection
  • Built-in stand

Your Comment

21 Comments

You can sit it on the ground without a stand. Sold. lol

November 3, 2016 at 1:13PM

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Chris Niswonger
Filmmaker
153

Wish I could just do that :-)
Fortunately the ring lets me rest it on the ground, but I have to hold it upright myself.

November 3, 2016 at 7:52PM

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WalterBrokx
Director, DOP, Writer, Editor, Producer
8933

Finally no set up! I love it. 6500 is a little out of my price range though.

November 3, 2016 at 1:43PM

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Walter Wallace
Spokesperson/Entrepreneur
660

So what's DJI going to do with the ronin?

November 3, 2016 at 2:18PM

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Very curious if they have an answer as the MX didn't seem like ronin evolution but more of a branching off for areal gimbal work.

November 3, 2016 at 2:26PM

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Where's the MAJOR STEP??? It's great that there are no more wires hanging out but we've had that in several gimbals to date. The same goes for the auto calibration. Is this thing tool-less, I can't tell. At $6500 I'll hold on to my Ronin-M for now. Definitely not marketed to little ol' me.

November 3, 2016 at 2:25PM

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While it's a big jump from the older devices, the Pro looks like it'd consume a lot of the battery life if you're powering camera, accessories & the Pro off those tiny Batteries attached to the Movi. Interested to know if there are other alternatives or how well these batteries perform with cameras like the RED or Alexa Mini.

November 3, 2016 at 4:08PM

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Connor Hutton
Editor
13

The batteries are 22.5v 1.8Ah Batteries.
So you can calculate it.
Subtract 10% as a safety margin and you'll have a proper estimate :-)

November 3, 2016 at 7:50PM

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WalterBrokx
Director, DOP, Writer, Editor, Producer
8933

Is there a way to just bypass their proprietary batteries and use v-mount or A/B's? Everything else is v-mount or A/B...bigger batteries really help fully built cameras run longer, especially when you have follow focus and wireless transmitters...I don't like powering RED's or Alexa minis with tiny little batteries, even if the draw is enough...overexerting batteries kills them much faster.

That's also ignoring that charging batteries is a major PITA as it is...at least they can be the same battery type as everything else and not having yet another type of battery to charge.

November 3, 2016 at 10:00PM

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Daniel Mimura
DP, cam op, steadicam op
2319

A/Bs are heavy bricks.
When flying or operating handheld: every bit of weight will slow you down. The A/B may last longer, but the operator or the drone will be exhausted much quicker.
Freefly's approach is minimizing weight. (You know that detail they forgot at DJI when they build the Ronin that is twice as heavy as a M15.)

When mounted on a jib, crane or car: yes, that would be a great option!

November 4, 2016 at 10:22AM

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WalterBrokx
Director, DOP, Writer, Editor, Producer
8933

Ha, the MoVI ring was already great.
Cool to see they actually listen to suggestions.

While we can discuss that according to some they made little changes, let's not forget they were ahead of everyone and keep innovating.
Internal wiring and hotswapping is a big deal if you shoot on a boat: otherwise you had to return to shore to swap batteries.
Being able to put the ring on the floor is a great thing: every second you don't have to hold a gimbal is a life saver.

November 3, 2016 at 7:47PM, Edited November 3, 7:47PM

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WalterBrokx
Director, DOP, Writer, Editor, Producer
8933

Is there more than one battery for hot swapping? Thought there was only one. It's great that it has a stand but I would argue anyone purchasing this will have a full support rig and not be worried about needing to put this thing down between takes. If they do, I'd be willing to bet it's going on a c stand or the likes vs the ground. I'm not try to discount what they've done and the article does say evolutionary not revolutionary so it all makes sense.

November 4, 2016 at 9:44AM

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For hot swapping you need 2 batteries. They are there on the picture from the front: the 2 blocks on top.
You assume everyone would have a full support rig, but assumptions the mother of... ;-)
There are situations where there is no space for a C-stand because you have to be as invisible as possible (like weddings). There are situations where you walk around a lot and walking back to the stand or C-stand is a waste of time (like on festivals where you can walk for miles if you are not restricted to a small radius from a stand).
The feet on the group make it easier to walk great distances away from your stand without the need for extra crew to help carry the MoVi or a stand.
With the MoVi ring I can walk around for hours without the need for a stand, but I need to hold it upright while the weight is resting on the floor or a table. Being able to really put it down is very helpful.
Especially with tiny crews or in non scripted environments with either too little space or a lot of space.

It is indeed evolutionary. :-)

November 4, 2016 at 10:34AM, Edited November 4, 10:38AM

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WalterBrokx
Director, DOP, Writer, Editor, Producer
8933

I can see your point but will never understand, if you're spending $6500 on a gimbal and $15000 on a red camera or similar why anyone that has to 'walk for miles' would not invest in a support rig. Makes zero sense to me.

November 6, 2016 at 11:40AM

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Your assumption is that if you can afford one thing, you can afford all things? ;-)
Wish that was true :-p

November 6, 2016 at 8:25PM

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WalterBrokx
Director, DOP, Writer, Editor, Producer
8933

Over twice the price of a Ronin, way to go Freely. Gimbals these days just aren't that different from one another. The cat's out of the bag and now everyone is manufacturing them. As nice as this will be, I just can't imagine paying $4k more for it than a Ronin

November 4, 2016 at 3:28PM

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Kaster Troy
Director, DP, Editor
734

Ronin is heavy as f$%k with 9.26lbs for an empty gimbal.
MoVi Pro: 5.84lbs without payload. (M15: 5.4lbs)
These figures show there is still a huge difference between gimbals.
Everything gets heavy if you hold it long enough, but with a MoVi you'll reach that point later.
Whether it is worth your money is a whole different debate.

Besides that: if you shoot with RED this new MoVi has some pretty great possibilities no other gimbal has.
Add the MIMIC, GPS options, MIMIC tracking, timelapse: it offers more than just stabalizing a camera.
Whether that is worth your money is all up to you: depends on what you shoot and how deep your pockets are.

November 4, 2016 at 9:46PM

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WalterBrokx
Director, DOP, Writer, Editor, Producer
8933

Innovative as the MoVI was when it first appeared, I still don't see connectors on the camera plate. Even the lowly DJI Zenmuse kept Shutter/Record remote and HDMI cables organised. In fact ALL DJI gimbals have camera shelf connectors to reduce flying cable spaghetti.

Every ready-for-action MoVI I have ever seen is a disgusting clusterf*ck of wires, ropey inline adapters, gaffer/insulating tape and tie-wraps.

A missed opportunity.

November 5, 2016 at 4:21AM

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Graham HAY
Managing Director, Helicam International Ltd.
99

Could it be that that is patented by DJI?

From weight perspective it makes sense to keep the empty cage as light, yet stiff as possible: hence the doubled light weight rods in the cage.
I agree that from a connection point of view it could be very convenient. Although that would require taping cables as well, because of the 180 degree turn they need to make and the limited space inside of the cage.

Ever used a ready for action MoVi?
Or are you too allergic for cables? ;-)
2 or 3 cables aren't a clusterf%ck in my eyes. The tie-wrapped cables are part of the MoVi (M5/10/15) construction. Not pretty, but they are not confusing, you don't need to ever touch them and they can't get stuck.

November 5, 2016 at 10:16AM

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WalterBrokx
Director, DOP, Writer, Editor, Producer
8933

Which type of connectors do you mean? It seemed more connected with RED but the are usb, d-tap and a lot of other connections on the bottom of the camera plate for connection of all accessories and cameras. (Cameras that need external power)

November 5, 2016 at 7:09PM

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asa martinez
Camera Movement Tech, Camera Operator
94

I was wrong in my previous reply as I was confused by your message Graham:
you are just plain wrong. It has more connectors beneath the camera plate than you ever dreamt off:
https://youtu.be/_lzBTBn9kG0?t=194
D-Tap (11-14V 6A) and 12V D-Tap, follow focus/zoom driver, USPC, cam port, time code, RCP/Lanc.
Only the HDMI port is not there and that is certainly no problem at all.

Not watching the whole video was a missed opportunity for the both of us :-p
(I started doubting whether or not the connectors I had seen were part of the RED on the gimbal, lol, I never worked with a RED myself.)

November 7, 2016 at 5:23AM, Edited November 7, 5:24AM

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WalterBrokx
Director, DOP, Writer, Editor, Producer
8933