Freefly MōVI: Shifting the Paradigm – Part 3
- October 31, 2017
- Shane Hurlbut, ASC
This is the third and last part of a deep dive into the uses of Freefly’s MoVi. In parts one and two, I introduced some basic uses of this incredible device and also jumped into some more unique ways I used the MoVI on my features – like mounting it on a dolly or using it as a crane. Now let’s get down and dirty and finish off with some kick ass rigs that my team and I have come up with to bring the use of the MoVI to perfection.
There are so many low-tech ways to create an impressive looking shot with a MoVI. The new MoVI Pro created by Tabb Firchau and his team over at Freefly have made the whole thing an almost brainless operation. You don’t have to worry about anything anymore – it all just works.
What we do for this is fly over audiences and objects. It takes at least 2 people to operate this type of shot. Basically you put the MoVI in the middle of this pole and 2 people carry it from either side. The results are incredible. I used this on The Adventurers and it makes your audience go: “How the hell did they do this?”
Some pole dancing action on “The Adventurers”
Take Out Your Footsteps
Chris rocking the Klassen rig
You can throw the MoVI on the Klassen rig, the Ready Rig, or even the Tiffen Steadimate and there will still be footsteps. It takes lot of practice to minimize or even eliminate footsteps. We put the MoVI on the Fisher Rickshaw and instantaneously our footsteps were gone. This enabled us to do super-smooth where we either couldn’t fit a Technocrane or couldn’t lay a dolly track.
Rickshaw MoVI push in
This office shot was just handheld pushing in on the rickshaw. Super smooth and effective. If we had laid track, we would have seen it and the space was too small for a big techno. This was the perfect solution and had no footstep traces either.
It Can Get Wet
The MoVI Pro is water resistant because everything is now internal. With a simple piece of plastic, the MoVI is protected.
We did this whole shot on Into the Badlands where it was raining. It was an absolute downpour.
The Into the Badlands water MoVI fight
Now that was all MoVI. MoVI on the crane and then running with him. The MoVI puts a whole other dimension because it doesn’t call attention to us running to try and keep up with the fight. The camera isn’t shaky. We can run at them and feel absolutely stabilized. Instead of having a jerky camera with a lot of motion blur, you’re able to attack in such a way where it feels less nauseating.
It’s Also a Trapeze Artist
I love this option with the MoVI clamps. This allows you to hook it up to ropes or pulleys, do a vertical move, quickly detach it, and continue on handheld. This requires NO special gear.
This setup was so DIY, but it looked banging
This was all a one shot. I could not bring a technocrane into this place because it was this greenhouse in a chateau in the Czech Republic. There weren’t big doors to bring stuff in either. So, we had to do our Technocrane shot like that.
The MoVI Fits Into Tight Spaces
You can really build this thing compact to get these cool shots. We had this really awesome shot where we travelled through a hole in the wall in The Adventurers. We push in and suck back out.
This was when they break into this vault.
The other thing is that it’s so versatile in how you want to assemble it. You can go with the ring on the MoVI Pro or you can strip it down and put the handles on it. I made the M15 17” high so we could pass it through a car window for a shot in Fathers and Daughters.
The taxi pass-through shot
The MoVI moves seamlessly in this environment and with this build. This was so perfect. Being able to configure it so that it’s that small allows you to do pass offs like that.
Poor Man’s Camera Car
Anyone that sold their minivan or Dodge Caravan, you will be regretting that. It’s all about the minivan, HAHA.
I’ve got a 21mm on one MoVI and a 135mm on the other here. They were both Cooke S4s. I was able to use the minivan to follow our actors down the street perfectly.
This is how the shots turned out in the film
This is very smooth.
The intensity of the 135mm on the majestic mode increases in this next shot. Amanda decides to run to Aaron Paul’s place. I captured this sequence the same way.
Another street sequence captured from a minivan
You could see how everything ramped up. We even lost her for a bit in places! The foreground elements flew by in frame as well. That was all thanks to an old Dodge Caravan and of course, the MoVI.
Boosted Board Time
If you’ve purchased the Boosted Board, then you’re going to have a lot of great opportunities to use the MoVI. Chris Herr, my MoVI Op, loves this thing.
We were using that in parking lots, narrow streets, garages, all these different scenarios. We were pushing into cars, wrapping around them, keeping up with them – all with this little thing. It’s just another device to help you get the shot. It maintains that theme of efficient and simple. Chris got on the board, we got the shot, and we moved on. That’s how simple it is with the MoVI.
Low Tech Slide Off
Our low-tech slide off
In Prague, we did a slide off with a magnet so the crane came down and we’d pull the MoVI off from it. A magnet held the MoVI against the crane until someone rips it off. The magnet isn’t the only thing holding the MoVI to the crane, it just keeps it snug and secure.
Technocrane Drop Off
This is what I call the forklift. This is what we did on The Adventurers. Scotty from Cinemovers has got all this innovative high-tech stuff. This is our Eastern-European innovation right here. The two forks catch the MoVI and fly it away into a crane shot.
Our Technocrane drop off MoVI shot
We had this very crucial sequence in The Adventurers where we were following this thief into the Cannes Red Carpet Festival. This is how we got the shot and transitioned from being on the ground to in the air.
More BTS of the shot
I absolutely love talking about how I utilize Freefly’s tools in the actual production world. These are only a few of the ways you can use a MoVI. With this device, the only impediment is whether or not you can think of the shot. Think of a kick ass shot and you can get it with this device. Haul it up in the air with rope to get a makeshift crane shot, throw it on the end of a crane or a dolly for a remote head, go handheld and compact with the system for smooth but visceral camera movement.
The MoVI opened up so many more doors for me as a cinematographer, not even just in terms of camera movement though. It’s all about efficiency on set. Freefly has created a tool that allows you to get the shot and go. They’ve helped shift the paradigm of how I shoot movies.