MoVI M5 – First Thoughts

By May 29, 2014camera, gear, production
First shoot with the MoVI M5

First shoot with the MoVI M5

Heres a fun MoVI practice video we did filming out at a skate park.

“Okay, this time, Matt can carry the camera around the tractor, then pass it to me in the cab and then I’ll hand it back down to Brian on the other side” Hearing things like this was not uncommon upon our first week with the new MoVI M5. It’s easy to immediately start planning out complex steadicam shots when you first get your MoVI.  I can already see how the trick will be to use the MoVI in a way that aids your storytelling, so as not to make every shot a “Michael Bay shot”.

First Thoughts

Upon arrival of the M5, there were many ooo’s and aww’s. It was almost reminiscent of getting your new iPhone, albeit opening a new iPhone box is much more magical, however after some quick and easy assembly, its time to start tuning and calibrating your MoVI. These steps will play a critical role in accomplishing your best MoVI shots.

Cameras

The M5 is designed for HDSLR’s in mind. The Canon C100 can fit on there, but the only caveat is that you have to remove the Grip handle. We are currently looking into working around this. Since as of right now you would have to plug the grip in, get all your settings locked in and then disconnect and shoot. The Canon 5D3 fits very nicely and balanced fairly easily. Be careful to balance correctly before you calibrate and tuning the in the FreeFly Configutor, otherwise if your trying to tilt up in Magistic Angle mode, the MoVI will do this weird jerking motion when trying to tilt up. Basically its because the camera cage is sitting to far down on the Y-axis, and its to heavy for the motors to tilt up.

Settings

After only a few weeks with the M5 and using it on one big client shoot, we quickly realized having your correct setting dialed in is very important. And here is a very critical step. After you calibrate your setting in the FreeFly Configutor, make sure you “WRITE” the settings. This is located in the dropdown menu when you click “Settings”. This is very important as it will save your tuning and calibrating settings after you turn your M5 off and then when you fire it up again later, your not retuning again. If you don’t then the next time you turn on the M5 and open the Configuator, it will default to the original settings, which means the motors are not tuned and tightened.

Shooting

Whatever your shooting, but especially if your shooting an event, the MoVI can get very tiresome to carry around. It’s a beating on your back and shoulders. Its easy to start wanting to just use the top handle and get all your shots that way, but clearly not every shot can be at that angle. So take breaks and make sure you try and keep your stand near.

Now the MoVI still picks up some of your movement and footsteps. However its a lot smoother and easier to use than a regular glidecam/steadicam. Just remember that not every shot is going to be perfectly silky smooth.

Battery

I was fairly impressed with the battery life. The M5 come with 2, LiPo 14v batteries. The battery life will obviously depending on if your keeping the M5 on when your not actually shooting, But we saw battery life of about 3-4 hours. This is not all shooting, but some time carrying it around, while still on.

Rigging

There’s a million ways to rig your M5, so I won’t go into all of them, but simply list what we are doing and what we’re finding works best. (This is all very new for us too, so we are continuing to figure out what works best through ongoing trial and error). A few things to keep in mind. If you want wireless playback to a directors monitor, and a monitor for the operator, you need to make sure you have a monitor that has HDMI in and out. This way you can mount that monitor to the M5 for the operator and then plug the Nyrius receiver into the HDMI out port on the operator monitor which sends the signal to the transmitter on the directors monitor.

Heres a list of gear we use to mount on the M5 when using the 5D3.

1 FreeFly AUX Battery
Nyrius Aries Pro Transmitter
Jackery USB Battery pack to power Nyrius Aries Pro Transmitter
Velcro Straps
Mini HDMI (right angle) to HDMI – Thin cable
Clamp for Playback Monitor
Zacuto EVF Monitor

Heres a list of gear we use to mount on the M5 when using the C100

1 FreeFly AUX Battery
Nyrius Aries Pro Transmitter
Jackery USB Battery pack to power Nyrius Aries Pro Transmitter
Velcro Straps
HDMI – Thin cable
Clamp for Playback Monitor
Zacuto EVF Monitor

Let us know if you’ve played with the MoVI or how your using yours.

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