Ever since I first deployed the MoVi M10 on the film Fathers and Daughters, I’ve been blown away by the creative possibilities it creates. Freefly’s original lineup eventually expanded out to include the M5, M10 and M15 and then in November of 2016 we got the MoVi Pro. And through all those years none of the knock-offs have been able to match the quality or usability of Freefly’s original MōVI system. In that time, I’ve come to learn about some indispensable accessories every MōVI Op needs to have in their kit.
Here’s my top 10 MōVI Accessories.
#10 – CART WITH BABY PIN POST
You gotta have somewhere to put your MoVi and all of those accessories so the first place you should start is here. My team and I usually use some configuration of Inovativ carts because of how well they travel – and we are always traveling.
#9 – SUPPORT SYSTEM
When gimbals first hit the scene there wasn’t anyway to support these things than your own two arms, and unless you were as pumped as Popey then you weren’t holding the gimbal for too long – and you weren’t putting a full cinemarig on it. Now there’s a
- KLASSEN SLINGSHOT
Used on Fathers and Daughters, Into the Badlands, Babysitter, The Adventurers,
- ANTIGRAVITY RIG
Only tested thus far, but love what it can do – if you have the space.
- READY RIG
Used on Casa Tutti Bene
This little gadget here allows you to use the MoVi in a whole new way. Need a jib shot? You sure? Or do you just need to get high up in the air? You might used to use a ladder pod but now you can just clip your MoVi to a stand and raise it high into the air. I do this all the time for my high wides. Much faster than a jib or ladder pod.
Check out Chris on the set of Adventurers setting this rig up:
#7 – IGNITE DIGI MōVI PRO POWER ADAPTER
When you’re operating your MōVI, the thing that matters most is mobility. This means you need a power source that can get the job done, and then some. Ignite Digi’s Pro Power Adapter runs the MōVI PRO and camera all at the same time. Nice! This means less time to worry about power individual sources, as well as less weight holding you down.
Ignite Digi’s Pro Power Adapter also keeps the system alive as long as there’s one connected. Again, this cuts the time with booting down and then back up again. In all, this saves you much needed time!
#6 – IGNITE DIGI MōVI TILT CAGE OFFSETS
The first and most important aspect to keep in mind when you begin learning how to use gimbals is balance. Everything relies on the balance. It’s much more straightforward if you’re just balancing a camera with a prime lens, but what if you want to throw a zoom on there? Or one of those gorgeous Cooke anamorphics? With all that weight out forward hunkering it down, you’ll need some way of counter balancing your rig. Now, there’s a couple of ways to add weights to the back of the setup to balance it out. Then, once you start adding your focus and iris controls, things are starting to get heavy. And that’s whether or not you’re using an anti-gravity or Klasson Rig.
Ignite Digi’s Tilt Cage Offset brackets move the entire tilt cage back by 35mm, so you’ve got more room to mount larger cameras & lenses like Cooke anamorphic lenses.
I was introduced to these by my MōVI operator Chris Herr, who has worked with me on Fathers and Daughters, Into The Badlands, The Babysitter, Adventurers, and countless commercials.
“Shane is always one for pushing the boundaries. When it comes to the Movi Pro, he loves to fly anything and everything. I’ve been pushed up against the boundaries all too many times which inspired me to come up with a solution. I went to Ignite Digi Australia with an idea for the tilt cage offsets to move the existing weight of the tilt cage back to act as counter balance while also freeing up valuable space around the lens. They delivered an incredible design and finished product that has made flying heavy lenses a breeze. It’s been cool to see all of the people online using the tilt offsets to further push the barrier of what’s possible with the Movi Pro.”
I brought the idea of a tilt cage offset bracket/latch relocator to the incredibly talented people at @ignitedigiaustralia The idea was to move the tilt cage back freeing up valuable realestate for your iris motor and accessories while moving the latches up and to the outside where they can be easily accessed. It’s been great seeing all of the positive feedback on these! #movipro #freeflysystems #ignitedigi #cinematography #filmmaking #anamorphic #cookes #alexamini #bts #onset
With all of the integration available on the @freeflysystems Movi pro we no longer have heavy FIZ systems we need to fly that used to provide some counterweight to big lenses, more and more I’m able to just fly a camera, lens and motors which my back is happy about! But heavy lenses require you to slide back into the Movi cage which isn’t always possible with your Iris motor attached. I took this problem to @ignitedigiaustralia and helped to design a way to shift the cage back leaving room for your iris motor and also make the latches more accessible. You can now have camera accessories right up against the cage without losing access to the adjustment latches.
Speaking of counterweights…
#5 – CINEMILLED COUNTERBALANCE KIT
The CineMilled PRO Dovetail and weights are the perfect way to add counterweights. It replaces the stock dovetail plate that comes with the MōVI Pro. It helps you to counterbalance front-heavy loads, like those long zoom lenses or gorgeous Cooke anamorphics. It’s longer and offers a series of 3/8″-16 threaded holes across the back that you can use for CineMilled counterweights, which you can get from B&H in 1″ and 2″ sizes and are stackable.
You can see that it’s T-shaped so you can mount the weights to offset if you need to. There’s also holes on the sides so you can mount the weights to make sure you’ve got room to tilt.
One of my favorite features of this plate is that the CineMilled PRO Dovetail comes with standard slotted holes for tripod screws. This is HUGE!
The original MoVI Pro plate comes with a countersunk screw and matching slots, but this one features a standard slotted design that supports standard tripod screws. The advantage is that a standard screw is easily replaceable, if lost on the set.
Just like the original plate, the PRO Dovetail also provides the threaded mounting points on the front for attaching the rod support bracket that comes with the MōVI Pro.
Cinemilled Counterweights on Movi
#4 – SMALLHD 503
When it comes to an on-camera monitor, the SMALLHD 503 takes the cakes! It works extraordinarily well outside, giving you an upper hand in most environments. I can’t tell you how bright this thing is without wanting to show it off. The image is bright, sharp and contrasty, which is ideal for focus pulling and framing an image up outside.
It’s also extremely durable. But this is a durability that doesn’t skimp on quality. It uses a layer of Gorilla Glass over the monitor, sealing and protecting the monitor. This baby has both transparency and toughness.
#3 – HOCUS PRODUCTS REFLEX MOTORS
The REFLEX motor is one of the lightest and smallest on the market, and yet it packs a HUGE WALLOP! It measures in at only 87.5mm tall, and with a weight of 150 grams, this little motor is as trustworthy as they come! It’s also compatible with the Freefly Wedge — which is a big deal!
Hocus Products has designed their own encoder called the IMPS. This stands for the Intelligent Magnetic Position Sensor. I like the sound of that! Typically when a lens motor uses a standard encoder, and it breaks, the entire drive must be replaced. This can hurt you right in the wallet. Especially when you consider standard encoders are permanently attached to the drive motor, and it’s actually quite common for other motors to break this way.
To be more specific, the IMPS is mounted separate from the motor itself. This makes it easier to service, if needed. And, I cannot stress this enough, it’s a much cheaper fix.
#2 – ALPHA WHEELS
Wheels separate the mens from the boys in operator world. These wheels are the best on the market as far as I’m concerned. They work directly with the MōVI Controller (Plus!), they work in pre-vis with Cine Designer (Plus!), and they have an Open API available to any remote head maker, gimbal designer, VFX supervisor, or DIY filmmaker (Mega-Quadruple-Billion-Plus!!!). So, yeah, they’re pretty good.
Something I really like about the Alpha Wheels are they multiple handle materials they offer. This will make your operator very happy. The more comfortable your operator is, the better the movement.
This is such a great companion piece for the MōVI. It helps provide precise, yet beautiful moves with the camera — all while gliding with your MōVI.
These wheels are also smart! They hook up with pre-visualization software and give you the ability to set the movements before you even walk on set. It’s all doable right from your computer!
#1 – MōVI CONTROLLER / MōVI MIMIC
No wheels – No problem! The MōVI Controller, paired with the MōVI MIMIC, will… mimic you. Put the sensor on your MōVI controller on top of a fluid tripod head and however you move – the MōVI moves. MōVI especially shine in dual operator mode with one perosn operating the MōVI and the other handling pan/tilt actions.
This thing is light, but built strong. Just like most high end gear of its quality. So, that’s unsurprising. It also has the same type of grips as the MōVI. What’s really great is the long-range link. It has a powerful radio frequency that makes sure you have full control of your movements up to 1200 feet.
The MIMIC has reached the top of our list because it has surpassed the possibilities. And, oh, the possibilities. That’s what I really like about MōVI and their products. They are constantly pushing the boundaries for what you can do, and how effectively it can be done.
That’s my Top 10 list for Freefly Accessories! If you followed along then you know, you really cannot go wrong with any of these products. They’re tested and proven to work for filmmakers of all calibers. I’m excited to see what’s on the horizon.