Is the MōVI Handheld Stabilization System Really a Game Changer?

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The amazing video above, shot by pro photographer/director Vincent Laforet and Team, is all the more amazing when you consider that it was shot entirely using one piece of equipment – the new MōVI – a digital 3-axis gyro-stabilized handheld camera gimbal that Laforet was testing.  Vincent and his crew were so impressed with the unit that he calls it a “game changer,” going so far as to say that “it’s going to be difficult not to have one of these tools on your productions going forward.

When you watch the video above, you can understand why as it’s chock full of wonderful, silky smooth “how did they get that” shots, but is the MōVI really the game changing piece of gear that you’ve been looking for?

Why Laforet calls the MōVI a Game Changer…

As evidenced by the video above, there’s no doubt that the MōVI does enable a filmmaker to capture a wide variety of shots, and Laforet alludes to the fact that this one piece of equipment can easily supplant a variety of other tools, stating that “this device isn’t the end of the sticks, Steadicam, slider, dolly or jib to be sure… but it sure will make you think twice about using those tools on many of your shots when you find out how quickly this device allows you to execute a similar shot but in a fraction of the time” and continuing on that “you’ll even think twice about ever using a tripod for a quick pan or tilt shot.

Laforet also states that “the beauty of this device is how quickly you can also make more simple shots.   A push or slide is done in seconds and near perfectly.   You can add a tilt or pan to that too to make it even fancier if you’d like with little effort.  And the speed at which you can work is hard for many producers (including a friend and long time producer I worked with on a commercial this week… until he sees the results and how quickly you can get them.)  Then you run down stairs, walk across a busy intersection, or ride in a vehicle and your head will certainly spin…

It’s unbelievably liberating.

Before I give you my 2 cents, watch the videos below to get a better understanding of just how the MōVI works and what it can do.

The MōVI in Action


The MōVI Video Shoot – Behind The Scenes


My 2 Cents

I’m in…  I want one of these…  Put me down for a MōVI!

The shots that it allows you to quickly and easily get are nothing short of breathtaking.  I also love the idea of using the unit with 2 operators…

  1. A Runner – who moves the unit with, in and around the action
  2. A Gunner – who frames the shots and controls where they camera is pointed (and what it is seeing)

At under 4 lbs., it’s light, it’s portable and the learning curve is not quite as steep as it can be for other devices like jibs, sliders, etc.

The one problem that I do have with the MōVI is that, even though Laforet calls it “affordable,” the units cost $7,500 for the smaller model (coming soon) and $15k for the larger one.  So no we come full circle to the premise of this article…

Is the MōVI really a game changer?

Well, Yes and No…

If you’re a professional filmmaker with a large budget and undoubtedly a film crew who is accustomed to using the latest and greatest cameras and gear, then YES…  the MōVI will undoubtedly save you copious amounts of time and money, BUT…

If you’re a struggling indie artist who’s just starting out, you’re saving up for a GH3 (or even a used GH2) and you’re working on a shoestring budget, then $7500 USD minimum suddenly sounds like a major obstacle, so on the surface…  No – BUT…

The good news for you may be that someone will make a less expensive version – or more likely, you’ll be able to rent one for a few days to make your films, make a name for yourself and hit the big time so that you can get your own.

The long and the short of it is that the MōVI does represent a great technological advancement for filmmakers, and I’m looking forward to seeing the incredible shots that visionary directors will be able to capture using this device.

(Read more about the MōVI on Vincent Laforet’s Blog)


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