April 12, 2015
NAB 2015

New Freefly MIMIC Makes Gimbal Operating Insanely Simple

Freefly MIMIC Kinetic Gimbal Controller
Freefly quite literally revolutionized the way we move our cameras two years ago with the MōVI. This year, they're making gimbal operating easier than it's ever been before.

In a massive announcement today, the popular camera movement technology company revealed a plethora of professional products. The announcement includes MIMIC, a kinetic controller for operating the MōVi gimbal, ALTA, a high-end drone, WEDGE, a tiny 3-channel lens control system, and MōVI XL, a beefed-up version of the MōVI that can handle the weight of cameras like the Alexa and Phantom Flex 4K.

MIMIC

Freefly MIMIC Kinetic Gimbal Controller
The MIMIC controller for MōVI is moving gimbal operation away from unintuitive controllers with joysticks and knobs, and it's making the process easy enough for everyone to do it. Essentially, it's a handheld controller that you can move kinetically, and through some sort of wireless engineering magic, the gimbal follows those movements seamlessly.

With the MIMIC there are no joysticks, knobs or wheels. Just tilt, pan and even roll the MIMIC and the MōVI will follow. It is a system so intuitive and organic that operators can execute complex moving shots with precise framing after just minutes of practice. 

Here's world-renowned photographer and filmmaker Chase Jarvis using the MIMIC:

And some totally adorable kids:

The concept of the MIMIC is similar to the kinetic remote for the BeeWorks Stabilizer (which is also being showcased at NAB this year). Ultimately, this type of technology is the future of remotely operating gimbals, as it literally breaks down most of the barriers (except for cost) that comes with equipment this advanced. And speaking of cost, the MIMIC can be pre-ordered for $495 (although it's a beta release, so who knows if that price is reflective of what it will cost later on), and the first beta product shipments are expected before the end of the month.

ALTA

Freefly ALTA Drone
Freefly's first foray into drones was the CineStar, which was, and still is, an excellent professional solution for professional aerial cinematography, especially when integrated with the MōVI. Freefly wanted to improve on that system by making it far simpler to set up and operate, while making it even more reliable. They achieved that goal with their new drone, the ALTA.

Here's a little piece from their press release:

The ALTA comes ready to fly.  It unpacks in minutes, carries a 15 lb. payload, and is guided by the state-of-the-art Freefly Synapse flight controller to ensure safety, rock-solid stability, and versatility.  Enabling a host of shots that were never before possible, the camera can be mounted on the top of the ALTA. 

The ALTA drone will be priced at $8,495 and is expected to begin shipping to customers in June, 2015. You can pre-order it from Freefly (or an authorized dealer) right now with a $1,000 deposit.

WEDGE

WEDGE is a wireless three-channel lens controller (it can control focus, zoom, and iris) that is designed specifically for use with gimbal stabilizers. The problem with many of the wireless lens controllers currently on the market is that they're often bulky and heavy, which presents a major problem for gimbals since they're restricted in the weight and size of the gear they can carry. According to the Freefly press release, the WEDGE "operates in tandem with the MōVI Controller, and adapts to many different professional camera, lens and motor combinations. It is the smallest and lightest 3-channel lens controller ever, fitting into place snugly in a tiny package between the MōVI cage and camera."

The WEDGE is going to set you back $2,495 and is expected to begin shipping early next month.

MōVI XL

Freefly MōVI XL

The MōVI XL is just what it sounds like, a beefed up version of the original gimbal stabilizer. It's designed for heavier camera systems like the Alexa and Phantom Flex4K. According to the Freefly press release, "the MōVI XL will be available in the 3rd calendar quarter, in a bundle with the MōVI Controller, from the Freefly Store or only through select Freefly dealers at a price of $40,000, and can be pre-ordered with a $4,000 deposit."

So there you have it, a whole bunch of cool new gear from Freefly. The company will be showing off all of these items at NAB this week, so if you're interested, drop by and see them at booth C3112.


No Film School's complete coverage of NAB 2015 is brought to you by Color Grading Central, Shutterstock, Blackmagic Design, and Bigstock.

No Film School's coverage of NAB is brought to you by Color Grading Central, Shutterstock, Blackmagic Design, and Bigstock

Your Comment

10 Comments

I've been doing this mimic thing with my android mobile and my DYS gimbal for 6 months ;) SimpleBGC is using the mobile gyroscope to control the gimbal, you just need to fix it on some handle with a remote LCD and voilà. You got your own Mimic. Still, i'm really curious about the wedge while i'm fighting to balance my gimbal with a remote follow focus...

April 12, 2015 at 7:27PM, Edited April 12, 7:27PM

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Guillaume Leroux
One man crew
116

Do you mind sharing some insight on this? Those gimbals are very affordable. Do you have any footage to show?

April 13, 2015 at 5:06AM

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Excuse me... $40K for the Movi XL hahahah!! GTF Outta here!

April 12, 2015 at 9:14PM

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Kaster Troy
Director, DP, Editor
1101

That is a lot, yeah.
I think, based on how the product looks, they may be trying to aim it more toward the helicopter and light crane market, as opposed to the hand-held use-case of the earlier models. If that's the case, the price seems a little more appropriate, but it's still a hefty chunk of cash.

April 13, 2015 at 12:18AM

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Although I do appreciate their inventions I believe its about time to realize that their price tags are way too high with the competition that is out there now. 40K is a joke. If DJI release similar product it would probably about 1/4 of that price and still be very high in quality. That the original Movi for cameras like the Red is still way more expensive than the DJI Ronin seems very ignorant of Freefly

April 13, 2015 at 3:15AM

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Ingo Schmoll
Producer/ Director / DOP
86

Great! Now i just have to turn in to 2 people...

April 13, 2015 at 3:57AM, Edited April 13, 3:57AM

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Johan Salberg
Actor, Writer, Director, Editor
276

How about the soon to be released EZ-1 lens and gimbal control system:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FtZmBJO8tz8

April 13, 2015 at 6:40AM, Edited April 13, 6:40AM

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David Powell
Electronics Engineer
81

Seems like Freefly is making it clear that their market isn't single operator users (like I imagine most of us are).

Still, that's a hell of a technology and certainly makes operation a lot more intuitive. That's never a bad thing.

April 13, 2015 at 8:27AM

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Nice!
Creating Bayhem just became easier :-p

April 15, 2015 at 8:12AM, Edited April 15, 8:12AM

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WalterBrokx
Director, DOP, Writer, Editor, Producer
9016

And 10 months later they released new firmware: Akira!
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DD40pO4YPGE

Adding timelapse and GPS/MIMIC targeting to the gimbal, plus better algorhythms for smoother images with longer lenses.

There are cheaper gimbals in this world, but Freefly just added some really great features.

February 16, 2016 at 10:19AM

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WalterBrokx
Director, DOP, Writer, Editor, Producer
9016