T.Stops Blog

Liberation: Something Wicked this way Comes.

I get to tease the world a bit today.

Two weeks ago, I DPed a short test film for Vincent Laforet.  I cant really say too much about it, as its not officially released yet, but the only thing I can say right now is WOW…. WOW…. WOW….

I dont often get this excited by new equipment, but in this case I think the excitement is well warranted.

Imagine this if you will.   The dolley, the stedi-cam, the hand held rig and to some extent the jib were suddenly rendered redundant.

Game changer is not quite the right word.   This is liberation.

Vincent will be posting a clip soon enough. Hopefully tonight.


EDIT and UPDATE!!!! So here it is!

This is the closest i’ve ever felt like being able to fly. The camera moves like your imagination. We shot this in 2 nights, available (but augmented) light. One camera a Canon 1DC, a Canon 24mm Cine Prime, and a Zeiss Compact Prime CP2 18mm. EVERYTHING in this is handheld. I will go much further into depth tomorrow, but this a truly revolutionary piece of equipment. Check back for an in depth post!!!


So heres the Skinny.

Being a director of photography, your job is essentially a manager of compromise.  There is always something in the way. Some obstacle, whether its price, time, physics, etc….

The Movi, because its so fast to work with, easy to use and mobile; removes the barriers from your work.   You can just get the shot you want, how you want it.

It breaks down like this.  You have the Rig.  The rig powers the focus motors, the camera, and the wireless video system.   One battery thats custom built by FreeFly, powers the rig for about 60-90 min, and recharges in 12-20 min.  In the $15,000 price tag you get the stabilizer, and the control unit.   You attach a monitor to your control unit for the operator to frame.

You need three people, not unlike most productions.  The DP/CamOp can either operate the camera, and you have a Rig operator, and a 1st AC.   The best part is that the Rig operator because he only needs to worry about running/walking/climbing the framing and focus are done by the other two.  By separating the tasks at hand you dont necessarily need a fully skilled person to do all of them at once.  That said, if you handed the MOVI to a skilled Stedicam operator, he could likely do things with it that an ordinary crew member couldn’t, like run up and down stairs backwards, and maintain balance in tight quarters while performing complex moves.

The best part being that since the rig operator is focused on running, he can hit marks, and precise lines, and be able to remain aware of his surroundings. Traffic, pedestrians, police, cyclists, sharp corners…. etc… the image is in the hands of the camera operator, and AC, who can sit still and just worry about the frame.   It seems backwards at first, but once you do you see that you start getting good takes 1st or 2nd try with less rehearsals.  This saves time and effectively money.

The Price:

Now $15,000 seems like alot of money.   But think if you need quality and speed…..  this can replace the stedicam for a majority of shots, not counting the things a stedi cant do… It can replace the dolley for a majority of its purposes, and with a little clever rigging can accent or replace a Jib.  Thats three big heavy, expensive pieces of gear. Replaced by a 3lb bit of aluminum.  That price point means rentals will be affordable if you can’t afford to purchase the unit outright.  I think its price is perfect.   You are paying for a lot of amazing technology.


We were using a Canon 1Dc ( an incredible camera that will get a blog post of its own one day…) and that means DSLR support.  IE HDMI transmitters.   We used a Paralinx Arrow HD video transmitter.   Unfortunatly, we didnt have the ability to split the signal, so all of us were crowded around the operators monitor. I’m sure Hugh, the operator, was very pleased to have 4-5 people looking over his shoulder, but with the proper setup time, and tools, you can distribute he signal from there, to its usual paths. DIT, Client, AC, DP, Director etc…


Vincent and I both looked at the test footage Tabb Firchau ( FreeFly’s head honcho) sent us, and all we could say was that it looked like the way it feels to fly in your dreams.  No limits, seemingly breaking the laws of physics.  Thats exactly the point. If you can imagine it, you can shoot it.  Passing the camera from one operator to the next is visually seem less.  So going indoors to outdoors is simple so long as the rig can fit through the space.   As you can see above there are moose bar like grips, so under most circumstances thats your limiting factor, however, they can be removed to make the unit even smaller, and you run with just a top handle. That makes it VERY skinny. Imagine following a child squeezing through a wooden picket fence with a broken slat…   Being able to feel like you are actually there on an adventure with him.


Vincent is right. Only the 5DmkII back in the day piqued my interest so much. Its ability to be tiny, and so light sensitive while retaining the 35mm look, opened doors creativly.   The MOVI is much the same, except freedom of movement is the prize.   In combination the images you can create are simply amazing.  I cant wait to shoot my next project with the MOVI.

Please, ask any questions in the comments i will do my best to answer all of them.

Follow me on Twitter @timurcivan

Until next time!!!!

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11 years ago

Just amazing Timur! If you don’t mind, I quoted you and linked your article on my article for SLRLounge.

I can’t wait to see more MoVI action!


11 years ago

Of course! Have at it!

11 years ago

How do you feel about the aspect of controlling your headroom with a joystick? This seems to me to have a feel of a security camera and I noticed quite a few shots having either too much headroom or cutting the heads off completely. I know this aspect is up to the skills of the operator, but there still seems to be the limit of only being able to adjust headroom with a robotic feeling joystick.

It seems a remarkable piece of tech. But I wonder if it doesn’t introduce a problem with organic adjustments on headroom…

11 years ago
Reply to  Brent Graham

its all about practice. as it gets used more and more, there will naturally be improvements.

11 years ago

Hi there, I was curious if you believe it possible to implement the redrock micro fingerwheel controller/ that electronic follow focus system with the handles of the moVi 10, or is there a focus system already built into the design?

11 years ago

Hi Timur, thanks for the great writeup! For long days of shooting, do you reckon a Steadicam or Easyrig would be best to support the weight? Freefly has indicated that they’ll build a Steadicam bracket, but I haven’t been able to get any info about how it would attach to a Steadi, whether it would go on the arm or the sled. As for the Easyrig option, I worry about being able to get high enough to even hit a tall actor’s eyeline, let alone OTS shots. Also, have you had the chance to try out the Majestic mode? Very… Read more »

11 years ago

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11 years ago

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11 years ago

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10 years ago

Excuse me, but what does the word “Dped” means? Sorry, I am a newbie,O(∩_∩)O~