November 30, 2013

Oliver Stone & Rodrigo Prieto Show What's Possible with New Gyro-Stabilized Camera Gimbals

Yeah we get it. At this point you're probably sick of hearing about the MōVI, the newish gyro-stabilized camera gimbal from Freefly. Not only is the $15,000 MōVI M10 not the only game in town, but there are plenty of other affordable options we've talked about before -- including Freefly's own M5. While it's not exactly affordable to everyone, for half the weight capacity, the M5 will be 1/3 the cost at $5,000. Current filmmakers in Hollywood are starting to explore what's possible with these camera rigs. Oliver Stone recently directed a promo for the World Cup, and he and his DP Rodrigo Prieto tried to put the RED EPIC in places they've never put a cinema camera before.

First, here is the BTS, which I actually think had some interesting moments not used in the final piece:

And the spot:

My favorite idea is giving the rig to the actor/subject and seeing everything from their perspective realistically. Sure you could have your operator wear the same clothes, but it's not quite the same, and having the actor operating means other actors can directly interact with them. For example, you could have an actor running towards a car of people, getting into the passenger side, looking into the back seat, and then handing off the rig to the driver, who then looks at the person who just got in the car. That kind of shot would not look great with current tools (even with experienced camera people as actors), but with these gimbals you could do it seamlessly.

The biggest thing for me is not the specific brand itself, but the way these gimbals can open up new shot possibilities and allow anyone with any experience level to use them. It may not be what Steadicam operators want to hear, but these tools make it possible for literally anyone to get smooth footage, and they are only going to get better and easier to use for longer periods. Most of them can be used with one operator if the focus isn't really changing, or you might be able to get away with a camera like the 70D that can autofocus. Here is rental house Magnanimous Media using the M10 with the autofocus on the Canon 70D:

You can also improve the autofocus a bit by filling the screen with more of your subject, or by having the background even farther away from the subject. For some situations you will definitely need a wireless follow focus, but I actually think adventurous independent filmmakers will find ways to keep costs down and get amazing results without increasing the complexity of their shoots.

Who has been using these gimbals? Has anyone done anything particularly difficult? Feel free to share footage below.

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23 Comments

Anyone know what that portable scrim jim setup with lights attached is in the Stone "making of" video? Two guys were carrying it, and it looks as though lots of lights were attached to the frame to reflect off of it. Would love to know more about that.

November 30, 2013 at 10:34PM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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Sursum

I noticed that also.........

December 1, 2013 at 5:19AM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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Larry Vaughn

Same here! Kept thinking about it ever since I saw that making of. Looks like a 6x6 with tungsten bulbs attached to the frame. Very neat idea, but I would also like to know if it's a diy contraption and if so, how it's powered!

Didn't think the commercial was all that great, in general. Although the movi shots were definitely spectacular.

December 1, 2013 at 1:47PM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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Nicolás

Caught my attention as well. I wonder if these are the LCD strip lights strewn together onto a panel with reflective coating. These are a few example of these light strips - [ http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L6e5Ylr3EPg ] . Most can be battery operated.

December 2, 2013 at 9:54PM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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DLD

I would say that they either used some sort of tungsten set up...OR LED tubes, like you see in the MacTechs: http://www.mactechled.com/products/ladder-light/. On the AMC show, "Hell On Wheels", our DOP and gaffer uses MacTechs all the time. Great lights, but can be expensive ($200 a tube?) Another alternative would be to purchase them from http://www.superbrightleds.com/moreinfo/t8-tubes/led-t8-tube-18-watt/1597/ for $69.95?

December 5, 2013 at 5:43PM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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Gerrick

No I am not tired of hearing about the Movi ... but I am very tired of Vincent Laforet constantly pimping it (due to his financial interest in the company).

November 30, 2013 at 11:27PM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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juan

Here's a hockey vid we made with an Epic, a 16-35 Canon, a Bartech FF, and our custom built stabilizer:
https://vimeo.com/79732606

December 1, 2013 at 1:32AM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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Paul Watt

For all of the excitement of the Movi being used in this commercial I was expecting some really incredible shots! Did they cut all of them out?

December 1, 2013 at 8:31AM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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Tris

My exact thoughts...

December 3, 2013 at 11:45AM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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Elias

I saw that advert a couple of weeks back. It's interesting that they used the MOVI on it, yeah, but the advert itself is horrific. The VO makes no sense whatsoever, they have players of three different nationalities playing for the same team! In the friggin' world cup!

They seem to dedicate an inordinate amount of time to a horrific tackle/injury which would mar any real game.

And Oliver Stone's acting. Deary me.

The whole thing is just awfully done - they seem to have no self-awareness to see how terrible/cheesy it is.

Football related ads have been done brilliantly before - the airport samba one, the cantona/satan one, and the worls cup 2010 effort:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lSggaxXUS8k

December 1, 2013 at 9:55AM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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wilx

Totally agree. Why the heck is Oliver Stone even in the ad? It's just down right terrible.

December 2, 2013 at 12:59AM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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that spot was so awful ugh. the camera work was also nothing a steadicam couldn't handle.

December 1, 2013 at 10:18AM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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albert smithee

What the Movi can't compensate/stabilize for is lack of talent, experience and a clear vision as we've been confronted with in "Magnanimous Media 70D Autofocus ..." clip, and arguably the rather stale, standardized World Cup Promo from Mr. Stone.

As revolutionary this device might be I personally am afraid that it will bring at least as many negative aspects/effects to future film making than it will bring positives. The easier it gets the more we tend to think less about what we really want to express and need to communicate in order to tell a/the story - in this particular example through camera movement.

Imo the same is true for the use of a Steadicam and not just used carelessly by young film makers, but by professionals equally. I am convinced all those tools - now right at the our fingertip - lead to an overall degeneration of the cinematic language. I think this is mostly true due to two factors: One - the lack of a strong visual concept based on the actual screenplay [not just wanting to create the hottest camera move ever made] and Two: a reluctance willingness to sacrifice the use of classic blocking & staging techniques either for economical reasons or for camera movement simply for the sake of moving the camera.

Of course a lot of commercials are predestined for action sequences in which the dynamic plays a big role, but even this type of media could imo greatly benefit from a more traditional approach. Damn I'm old school. ;-)

December 1, 2013 at 11:10AM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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Slick

I couldn't have said it better. I'm a steadicam op and a huge part of my work is to move around endlessly, pointlessly with no motivation. It's like the frenetic cutting style you see so much now...why are we cutting, why are we moving? What does the new angle tell us that the last angle didn't? Is the move based on a line of dialogue? Is it mirroring a subjective change to the scene? It's usually for no purpose at all.

The same can be said for the labyrinthine cgi establishing shots in The Lord of the Rings movies...it's just motion for motion's sake.

It's nice to have all these tools to move (or virtually move) cameras...let's see people do worthwhile moves now...

December 6, 2013 at 6:53PM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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Daniel Mimura

I just got a Defy G5 in and am enjoying it so far. Contrary to the way it looks it does take time to master. I have a Glidecam and love it, but the gimbal offers a few different opportunities. Steadicam operators are in the best position to take advantage of these tools as they know how to be light on their feet. Similar principals apply...

I want to thank those out there that take the time to post a short test video personally, as I realize that they are probably spending most of their days working on real assignments rather than trying to boast. On this post.. Thanks to Magnanimous as I have been trying to decide whether to step up and buy the RedRock Micro Remote or hold out for the Dual Pixel Autofocus update on the Canon C100 to avoid the additional weight. I have the budget, but also have plenty of other investments I want to make, and was pretty impressed by the 70D's ability to hold the subject fairly well so I may just hold out for now.

December 1, 2013 at 2:30PM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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I'm currently working in post on a reality TV show in Australia and one of the camera operators has been using a Movi with a 1DX for spec shots on the fly, such as intros and arrivals, fly arounds and other shots. The stuff I've seen so far in the rushes looks fantastic, and immediately ups the production value of the show ten fold. And he takes no time for set ups whatsoever, which is majorly important in reality TV.

December 1, 2013 at 5:59PM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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Ben Howling

DAMN Rodrigo's work is PHENOMENAL. Became addicted to his work since "Biutiful"

December 1, 2013 at 7:37PM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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Wowsers, Stone is truly a god-awful actor! Nice pics though.

December 1, 2013 at 9:33PM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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Brian

I quite liked it. The crowd effects were very good.

It's cheesy, but then some parts of the world have the privilege of having adverts that are not 100% cynicism, post-modernist and archly knowing.
You know...they just sell something at face value.

December 2, 2013 at 12:31PM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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Fresno Bob

The cable cam shot can be done with many other currently available setups. I assume the top pro grade units have a five axis stabilization system much like the chopper based shoots. The US networks have been using the cable cams for a number of years. The international soccer coverage have also been using the sideline Steadicam operators for ages. For those on a low budget, something like Dolly Trax ($499) can help attain quality moving shots.
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PS. Canon is supposedly is seeking to greatly improve the auto focus ability of their cameras but, for that, they need an improved computational power of their video engines, i.e, newer, more powerful chips.

December 2, 2013 at 9:41PM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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DLD

I shot all of these videos on the MOVI with EPIC (find the watch product video buttons):
http://shop.lenovo.com/us/en/laptops/ideapad/z-series/
http://shop.lenovo.com/us/en/laptops/ideapad/yoga/
http://shop.lenovo.com/us/en/laptops/ideapad/y-series/
http://shop.lenovo.com/us/en/laptops/ideapad/flex/
Everything was shot on the movi. If anything ever looks handheld it is because I am touching the lens to get the handheld look.

December 2, 2013 at 9:46PM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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There's a company called ColorRight that makes diffused LED type of video rigs, sort of like the light+softbox in one thin package. They're currently on IndieGoGo with a product called Lumenator and its bigger brethren PowerPanel. The Lumenator is a camera light that runs on batteries. The PowerPanel is ~ 1x1 ft panel that runs on AC only.

December 4, 2013 at 7:35PM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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DLD

The New Eroz Steady Aid offers new possibilities for Glidecam users. Checkout the video!
http://youtu.be/w840F79mn0I

December 6, 2013 at 3:30PM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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RENz