Hands-on with the Freefly Movi

Hands-on with the Freefly Movi

We recently got a chance to test out the Freefly Movi cinema Robot. In this post, we show you the setup of the Movi and some of its shooting modes in action including the Movilapse, Orbit and Timelapse.

12 minute read

Hands-on with the Freefly Movi In December of 2017, Freefly announced their first product for the consumer market; the Freefly Movi. Dubbed the cinema robot, Movi is a culmination of Freefly’s experience and knowledge of the professional film industry, boiled down into an expertly crafted handheld gimbal for smartphones. After clearing our pre-orders, we’ve finally had a chance to get our hands one. We then put its features to the test, going from setup and general use, through to testing the fantastic pre-programmed shooting modes. We’ll be showing you how to use this gimbal and providing our tips, along with examples of what it can achieve. Keep reading for a chance to see how to setup and use the Movi, and see what it’s capable of achieving.

Freefly Movi Specifications

Let’s start by looking at the specifications of the Freefly Movi:

General

Dimensions

167 x 152 x 68 mm

Weight

670 g

Power Consumption

1.8 W

Mechanical / Controllable Range

Pan: -90° +120°; Roll: -90° +110°; Tilt: ±55°

Mobile Phone Width Range

60 to 90 mm

Wireless

Mode

Bluetooth Low Energy 4.2

Transmitter Power (EIRP)

4 dBm

Battery

Type

2x 18650 Lithium-ion cells

Capacity

2000 mAh

Energy

14.8 Wh

Voltage

7.4V nominal, 8.4V maximum

Charging Temperature

41°F to 104°F (5°C to 40°C)

Operating Temperature

32°F to 104°F (0°C to 40°C)

Charging method

USB C with Power Delivery up to 20V or legacy USB 5V

What’s in the Box?

The Movi comes in a padded foam case that is perfect for transporting the gimbal safely. The only other addition in the case is a super-flexible USB A-C cable used to charge the Movi. Freefly Movi Freefly Movi In order to access the full functionality of the gimbal, you’ll need to download the Freefly Movi app. This is currently only available for iOS devices and can be downloaded through the App Store. Freefly have announced an Android app will be available in the near future, however, there's currently no official timeframe. You can also use separate accessories with the Movi including counterbalances for use with lenses and the Movi Hoodie accessory mount to add external microphones etc.

Freefly Movi Controls and Features

The Freefly Movi has a compact design, made up of an advanced handle that can be used as a stand for the gimbal. This is a unique design when compared to other smartphone gimbals on the market. Check out the different features in the image below: Freefly Movi Controls and Features Freefly Movi Controls and Features Mode Trigger The trigger is used as the action button to set starting and end points as well starting the hots for specific shooting modes. In Majestic, you can choose to set the trigger to roll, freeze or respond when used. Record Trigger The record trigger will start and stop your recording. In addition to the trigger, you can also use the record button on the app. D-Pad The D-pad controls a variety of functions depending on your selected shooting mode. If you’re in the standard Majestic Mode, Timelapse, Movilapse, Echo or Smartpod, you will have access to the following controls:
  • Centre – Lock/unlock the focus and exposure
  • Up – Increase the exposure
  • Down – Decrease the exposure
  • Left – Preview the last clip you recorded
  • Right – Switch between the front and back facing cameras
In the Orbit and Barrel modes, the D-pad will have the same functions as the above, except with the left and right buttons. These will allow you to adjust the speed of the rotation with the Movi. The D-pad can also be used within the preview screen. In the preview, you will be given the following controls:
  • Centre – Play or pause the video
  • Up/down – Exit the preview
  • Left – Jump back 15 seconds – if the clip is shorter than 15 seconds, the clip will restart
  • Right – Jump forward 15 seconds
1/4" 20 Mount  The screw allows you to mount the Freefly Movi on a range of accessories, but mainly designed for tripods. Freefly Movi on Tripod Freefly Movi on Tripod If using the Movi screw with a vehicle mount, it will be able to handle movement of up to 20mph, but it’s likely the footage will get shaky above this. It’s not recommended you mount the Movi to fast-moving vehicles as there’s a risk that it could get damaged. We'll go over the other buttons and features in the relevant sections below.

Please Note - The Movi isn’t IP rated or submersible, but it can withstand a light shower.


Setting up the Freefly Movi

Once you’ve received your Movi and downloaded the app, it’s time to set it up. This is a quick and easy process that once mastered, will give you the best results.

Mounting your Smartphone on the Freefly Movi

The Movi is designed to work with all currently available iPhones running iOS 11 or later. You should be able to keep your phone in its case unless you’re using a Plus model with a bulky case. To mount, squeeze the clamp at the back of the phone holder to open the device. Put your phone in the centre of the device then move it until the Movi is balanced. It should hold the phone straight when completely flat.

Powering on and off the Movi

Once you’ve mounted your phone in the Movi, tap the power button once to turn it on. Once powered on, tap the power button for Movi to enter sleep mode or hold the power button to turn it off. You can also put the Movi in sleep mode by locking the arm, as pictured below: Freefly Movi Sleep Mode

Choosing your Movi Settings

The first time you go on the Movi app, you will have to connect your phone. You will then have the chance to run through a tutorial. When you first power on the Movi,  you will need to choose the mode the Movi is in. You will have the choice between Basic and Ninja mode with the below profiles: Basic – The beginner mode with access to Majestic, the standard shooting mode. Ninja – Access to all of the shooting modes. You can change between Basic and Ninja mode in the settings tab as required. Once you’ve mounted your phone, you can complete an auto-tune calibration in the Movi app. This will optimise the performance of the Movi with your setup. Just head to the Robot Settings on the app and select the ‘Tuning’ option. Freefly Movi Tuning Freefly Movi Tuning

Tilt and Roll Lock

Setting the tilt and roll lock can be done with a touch of your phone screen. The options are available at the top of the screen as pictured below: Freefly Movi Tilt and Roll Movi Tilt and Roll When the tilt is locked, the tilt of the Movi will not be able to move. Check out how the Movi will perform with and without the tilt lock: Tilt lock on:

Tilt lock off:

Once the tilt is locked, you can manually move your phone by hand to line up your shot and the Movi will stay locked at this point. Roll lock is used to keep the horizon level in the shots. The Movi will act as shown below: Roll lock on:

Roll Lock off:

Use tilt and roll lock as required to achieve your desired style and shots. 

Freefly Movi Shooting Modes

The Freefly Movi really stands out when it comes to its intelligent shooting modes. Freefly has packed the Movi with modes they have learnt over the years in the professional filmmaking industry. They’ve identified how to achieve a range of stunning shots that may have previously take large gimbals and a crew. These have been shrunken down and put into the Movi as a straightforward and easy way of achieving complex shots. Freefly Movi Modes We have tested out each of the modes to show you how to set up the shot and what they look like in action.

Movi - Majestic Mode

The majestic mode is the standard operating mode for the Movi. It turns the movements of the Movi into smooth and cinematic shots on your phone. In Majestic, you can set different windows in which the Movi will ignore your movements, remaining fixed on your target. This will be available on the top of the screen as shown below: Freefly Movi Window Freefly Movi Window Just tap the box add to add additional windows. If a narrow window is set, the Movi will quickly acknowledge your movements as shown below:

A narrow window is for fast moving shots with pace. With a wide window, the Movi will the Movi will be slower with cinematic shots. Check out a wide window in action:

You can also choose the responsiveness of the Movi in Majestic. Choose fast for quick moving scenes and slow for smooth and cinematic shots. Freefly Movi Response Freefly Movi Response Fast response:

Slow response:

Choose the window for the shot you’re shooting to get the best footage.

Movi - Timelapse

The Freefly Movi Timelapse mode allows you to set the Movi down and record a two-point or stationary timelapse. The Movi will then compress your clip for a fast moving, seamless shot. For a two-point timelapse, set up your shot with a start point and press the trigger. Move the Movi to your end shot and pre the trigger again. If shooting a stationary timelapse, just select the mode and your position. You will then need to set the compression, shot duration and the length of the clip you want. Set your desired exposure and lock it to achieve the best shot. Once set up, just hit the record, then the trigger buttons and let the Movi do its thing. You’re also able to choose from a series of pre-set movements from Freefly for a two-point timelapse. Stationary timelapse:

Moving timelapse:

Movi – Movilapse

A Movilapse will speed up your movement by between 10 to 20 times for a moving timelapse. This allows you to travel vast distances in a short period of time resulting in a unique scene with or without a subject. Once you choose the mode, choose the response time and your desired compression to suit your desired style. Then just hit record and the trigger to begin your Movilapse.

It’s recommended you plan your movements in advance as the Movi will react slowly. You’ll need to take a wide route, especially when going around corners. If you’re following a subject, keep them in the frame in the same position. Try to stay at around 10 feet (3 meters) behind the subject. Once you’ve mastered this, you can test out the different shots you can achieve.

Movi – Echo

With the Echo mode, like the two-point timelapse, you set the start and end point on your Movi and it will automatically move between the two positions in a time set by you. This gives you precise shots in your desired style. To set the position, move the phone to your start position and press the trigger. Then move your phone to the ending point and select the trigger again. Choose the duration of the move then hit the trigger again to start the movement. Freefly Movi Echo Settings Freefly Movi Echo Settings As well as manually setting your shots, there's also an option to use pre-planned shots incorporated by Freefly. You can choose these by selecting Path in the screen option. You can use Echo whether you’re moving or standing still, giving the ultimate flexibility but resulting in precise shots.

Movi – Barrel Roll

The Barrel Roll feature is one of our favourites on Freefly’s Movi. It’s a shot that’s becoming common in feature films where the camera rolls giving a surreal effect. To capture a Barrell Roll shot, select the shooting mode using the app and choose whether you want to go clockwise or anti-clockwise. You will also need to choose the speed. This can be changed during the shot by using the Movi’s d-pad. Once you’ve chosen the settings, hit record and the trigger to begin the shot. You will have to move the Movi manually round in a circle for the shot to work. This will look like the below:

The shot will give you a unique effect. Check out our example below:

 

Movi – Orbit

Orbit allows you to capture a revolve shot by circling around an object whilst the camera stays on a set area. In this mode, you can set the speed and direction and the Movi will keep up with your movements. Select Orbit in the shooting mode, then choose your settings and use the trigger to start and stop the movement.

Check out Orbit in action to see the kind of shots you can capture. It's worth noting, Orbit works best with small objects like people. When trying to shoot big objects in this mode, we struggle to achieve the desired shots.

Movi - Smartpod

In Smartpod mode, put the Movi down on its base or mount it using the ¼ 20” mount on a tripod etc. and the Movi will hold your chosen position. Freefly Movi on Tripod Freefly Movi on Tripod

Movi - Slow Motion

Although there isn't a separate slow motion mode, you are able to choose your FPS going as high as 240 when shooting in 1080p. This allows you to create slow motion video. Check out the clip below to see this in action:

 

In addition to the shooting modes currently available, Freefly have advised they will also be building on these modes through updates to the app. One area that will likely be released soon is the integration of Apple’s powerful ARKit framework for automatic tracking of virtual objects All of the videos and images you capture when using the Movi and its app will be saved directly to the images on your phone. This is a handy feature that lets you quickly edit and share your footage quickly.

Movi Battery and Charging

The Movi uses two 18650 sized 2000mAh Li-ion. These batteries can be purchased separately is replacements are required or if you want additional batteries to take your shots further. Spare batteries currently aren’t available but will likely be available shortly. Batteries are quick-charged whilst installed in the Movi using a USB A-C cable. The Movi can also be used when plugged into a power supply. This will give you continuous use with the Movi. Freefly Movi on Charge Freefly Movi on Charge

Summary of the Freefly Movi

The Freefly Movi is a high-performing stabiliser for the smartphone market. Although there’s some crossover with other gimbals on the market, like the DJI Osmo Mobile 2, you can tell that the Movi incorporates Freefly’s knowledge and experience with filmmaking. The shooting modes can help users with any experience level in capturing great scenes in smooth and buttery motions. With more to come from the Movi, it’s going to be interesting to see what else they pack into this already impressive gimbal. Its design is clearly built to last and we’ll likely see plenty of software developments that add to the user experience.
To discuss any information from the above post or any DJI or Freefly product, please give one of our team a call on 0191 296 1024 or email us at info@heliguy.com.
Keep checking back to Heliguy’s Insider Blog for more announcements, insights into drones and, of course, the latest news from the drone industry.

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