While motorized stabilization started with a focus on the big cinema cameras, this past year has seen a huge push into motorized stabilization for smartphones, with a wide array of vendors pushing into the space. DJI kicked things off with the Osmo, but recently it has felt like everyone except market innovator Freefly has offered some way to make your smartphone shots smoother. With this week's release of the new Movi from Freefly, that changes as Firefly now has a cost-effective stabilizer designed for the smartphone market.

Freefly is calling this a "personal cinema robot," and in many ways that name feels apt. It's more than just a stabilizer, in that it comes pre-programmed with a variety of modes and functions to help with crafting cinematic images, timelapse, and even rotating shots. In addition, it works with the native object tracking built into iOS to enable an iPhone equipped with Movi to track objects and keep them in focus, a tremendously useful tool for a wide variety of action situations.

Unlike some other stabilizers, Movi is designed from the start to be compatible with heavier external lenses without needing aftermarket counterweights, as Freefly will themselves make a counterweight kit, which should make this a popular choice for smartphone filmmakers who love their external glass. Freefly does warn that with extreme fisheye lenses, the rig itself might show up in your shots.

Nofilmschool_freefly_movie_4Credit: Freefly

Movi currently is iOS only and requires the newest release, iOS 11. Considering the power of the new AI-driven stabilization in the Android based Google Pixel 2, Android users might not feel the need for external stabilizers, but it would be fascinating to see the combination of external and internal stabilization down the road once Android support is added.

Majestic_recording_01Credit: Freefly

This release follows hot on the heels of the Volt by Steadicam, but takes a different approach. While the Volt focused on traditional Steadicam dynamics for stabilization and used motorization as a support for manual operation, the Movi leans on robotic control of the camera where you give the unit orders and it executes them. It will be a fun competition of man vs. machine to see which of these shows up on more smartphone driven shoots in 2018.

Nofilmschool_freefly_movie_3Credit: Freefly

Movi is available now for $299

  • 3-axis stabilization with pan, tilt, and roll motors.
  • 1/4" mount for tripod mounting to smooth out tracking shots
  • Movi app requires iOS 11 or later
  • 5 shooting modes: Majectic, Echo, Timelapse, Movilapse, and Orbit
  • Counterweight kit coming soon, external lenses encouraged, fish-eye might see rig
  • USB-C port for charging
  • Well balanced rigs could see 8 hours of use per charge