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A New Age with FreeFly: Move with the MōVI Pro

  • November 2, 2016
  • Shane Hurlbut, ASC
A New Age with FreeFly: Move with the MōVI Pro

I’m really excited today for Freefly’s latest announcement of the MōVI Pro. This device is going to change the landscape yet again.

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Tabb Firchau of FreeFly Systems holds the first MōVI Pro to hit the wild

By Shane Hurlbut, ASC

The MōVI has changed the way I create as a storyteller, allowing me to capture the emotion of a scene in ways I never could before.  The MōVI has become a stabilized head, a device that allows me to go for long “walk and talks,” the ability to move quickly into position to get up high in a tight room while still having control of the shot, the MōVI can be anything you want it to be.


MōVI Pro Cinematography filmmaker film movies tv shooting DP lights
Hidden wiring is a large upgrade for the MōVI Pro

Hidden Wiring

Freefly has done it. They have made it nearly impossible for you to snag a cable or to have something pop out on you.  Hiding the wires is essential for almost every MōVI user today.  I’m glad they made it happen in this model.

Everything is hidden behind weather resistant molding and the wiring that is outside, I believe the single cable has the same weather resistant molding on it as well.

The ring for the MōVI Pro
The ring for the MōVI Pro

The Ring

Having the ability to grab the MōVI from anywhere while you are operating is huge.  With the M15, you could place a ring on the system but you would lose some control panning.  Now this isn’t a problem.  With a stronger and lighter ring, you can grab from anywhere.

The new feet allow you to plant the system anywhere to rest
The new feet allow you to plant the system anywhere to rest

The addition of the feet to the ring gives you the simple ability to place the MōVI down anywhere. I’m sure my team will still use the MōVI Dock, but having the ability to rest between takes is crucial.

The new MōVI Battery is a Hot-Swappable System
The new MōVI Battery is a Hot-Swappable System


The new MōVI Batteries are the game changer for me.  Having a Hot-Swappable battery system that can:

  • Power the Gimbal
  • Power the Camera Body
  • Power all accessories
  • Increase “Up Time”

Now I don’t have to worry about more time in between shots. I can keep the camera powered non-stop all day without having to turn the gimbal off to make changes, etc.  I’ll have to check with Chris Herr (my MōVI Tech/Op) to see if we can even change lenses while keeping it on!

So keep this in mind, by being able to power EVERYTHING on the camera, you can drop the weight of a camera battery, additional adapter plates, velcro, every little ounce that you add onto the camera you can now remove.   I’m always maxing out my kit by slapping on large Cinema lenses like Cooke S4 primes, but now there is a possibility to fly larger Anamorphic lenses.  Chris! ARE YOU READING THIS, ANAMORPHICS BABY!  We will see once we get the new MōVI Pro out into the field but you can see how the possibilities are increasing with these additions.

Monitoring the Hot Swappable Battery on the MōVI Pro
Monitoring the Hot Swappable Battery on the MōVI Pro

Monitoring on the MōVI

Being able to see on the gimbal what is happening as the operator sits there is a large improvement.  There are countless times where a fine-tune adjustment has to be made but it could be much quicker than having to get out a tablet or a phone that is connected via WiFi, if the controls were right there to see what is happening.  If Chris or “Buzz” (John Moyer, my operator) could call out to me, “Hey Shane!  The Roll Balance is a little heavy to the right,”  I would be able to adjust that from my Flanders Monitor position back with the Director, or Chris could adjust it.  For my team, I have everyone wired into a ClearCom wireless communication system, so being able to shout out information is less of a shout than it is just telling the right person that something needs to be adjusted.

Camera and AKS Integration on the cage
Camera and AKS Integration on the cage

Camera and Accessory Integration

On the bottom of the cage, there is a box. This box provides power and communication for the camera and all accessories

  • 12-14v Power D-Tap Power (6amps) – Made for Camera Bodies
  • 12v Accessory D-Tap Power – Made for Wireless Follow Focus and Wireless Video Accessories
  • USB-C
  • Cam Port
  • Time-Code In/Out
  • Camera Connectivity
    • RCP
    • LANC
    • Start/Stop
D-Tap Power for Accessories
D-Tap Power for Accessories


D-Tap power for Camera Bodies
D-Tap power for Camera Bodies


RED Camera control on the MōVI Controller
RED Camera control on the MōVI Controller

RED Camera Integration

Freefly has been able to give you control of all of your RED Cameras via the RED Link Command Protocol.  What this means is you can now control all of the settings of your RED camera body from your MōVI Controller directly.

Now, when I’m putting the MōVI up on a 25’ jib shot, I can still make changes to my ISO, Color Temp, everything I would do from the touch screen, right in my MōVI Controller.  Now I have complete control with my MōVI. No reason to bring it down and make adjustments, I can do everything remotely.

I love how Tabb Firchau, in their launch video, talks about being able to playback a clip while the Alta hovers 60 feet in the air. That is just AWESOME.

Mimic Controller
Mimic Controller

Mimic Controller

The new Mimic Controller device is an attachable device that gives you control over the camera and all of the settings just like you have within your tablet and MōVI Controller.  Having it in a smaller more compact setup is great as well.  Looking forward to seeing this more.

Tuning – Stiffness, Roll, Pan Settings, Tilt Settings

No more.  The new auto-tuning is incredible.  It has the ability to get you up and running in about 10 seconds.  It takes out the tech and gives you control of the creative. It’s as simple as that.

Turning on the MōVI takes only 2 Seconds now
Turning on the MōVI takes only 2 Seconds now

Gimbal Boot Time

This is my favorite part.  No more, “don’t breathe around it, you might make it mad!” Or watching my MōVI team stand and pray.  I’m exaggerating, but we all know that we are impatient when we are on set and every second counts.  This is something that Tabb and his team have worked tirelessly on.  I’d say, on average, you would wait about 15-30 seconds for the MōVI to boot up. Now, we are looking at 2 seconds.

My Final Thoughts

The doubling of the torque in the motors is something that excites me as well.  Having the ability to put more stress, more weight with larger camera bodies, and lenses, even exploring the idea of mounting a zoom lens to the MōVIi is something that I have wanted for a long time.

The MōVI has been the choice of many filmmakers at every level for the last few years.  What I love is Tabb and Freefly’s commitment to excellence.  He pushes his team to give filmmakers the tools that they WANT and NEED.  He saw an opportunity, created this immersive storytelling device and shared it with the world.  Now, he is intending to make that device even greater.  

From the first time I got my hands on this device while shooting a Cheerios commercial in North Carolina, I knew this was a game changer.  I told Chris Herr to get this device ready for Russell Crowe on “Fathers & Daughters.”  This was the first feature film to use the MōVI exclusively and from there I haven’t looked back.  I’ve been running with 3 to 4 MōVI’s on each project. On “Into the Badlands,” I found the sweet spot of how to move with the system in new creative ways and in Prague, while on “The Adventurers,” I deployed the MōVI into this fast action heist film. It kicked ass!  I cannot wait to get the MōVI Pro out into the field and to start shooting.

So, I have only one question really, what is the next model going to have?

Take a look at the 3D Model by clicking the image below:

Take a look at the 3D Model by clicking the image
Take a look at the 3D Model by clicking the image

One of the first projects to use the MōVI Pro:

BTS of “Neckface”


“The Light” by Tim Sessler



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All HurlbutVisuals videos were edited on HP Z840 workstations using HP Z24x DreamColor monitors.

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