I was able to get my hands on one of the first MōVI prototypes about two years ago for a feature that I was shooting for the History Channel. It changed everything for me in regards to how I shoot now and the manner in which I can move the camera, adding motion in unique and new ways.
The MōVI is amazing at what it does - stabilizing shots with such reliability - though two years later, with plenty of other gimbals now on the market, it sometimes feels like we've hit a ceiling in regards to gimbal stabilized shots.
Often, videos that are meant to be dynamic, end up over stabilized with an almost sterile, clean look that lacks the human touch. Even I have found myself using the MōVI for practically every shot and just recently started to move back into more dynamic handheld work, using the MōVI for only specific and stylized shots when the story really called for it.
About a week ago we received one of the first Freefly MIMIC prototypes and got a chance to experiment and test it's limits. With a very small crew, consisting of a two-person MōVI/Mimic team (Cameron Michael and Tim Sessler), two assistant cameramen alternating days pulling focus (Drew English and Joe Victorine) and a second MoVI for behind the scenes footage (Ryan Emanuel), we hit the streets of NYC. Having a team of only two to three people per day for this shoot made a huge difference and really allowed us to capture moments as they were naturally unfolding, in a street photography style, often without even being noticed.
During the three days of production we were able to reach locations all over New York City easily with our mobile MōVI rig (often by getting around with the Subway) - from Bedstuy in Brooklyn to Ridgewood and Willets Point in Queens and of course countless locations in Manhattan (from Wall Street to the Flat Iron to Central Park). That kind of mobility and flexibility is hard to achieve with productions and we give a lot of credit to this new technology for making it possible and so easy.
Check out the finished piece below:
The invention of the MōVI was an incredible change for the film industry and now the MIMIC has taken gimbals to the next level. It brings me back to what I was missing before: the human feel, the option for imperfection and a beautiful sense of floating that "mimics" great handheld work.
While the MōVI Controller with all its features is great for some operations, the Mimic opens up doors to a completely new world: unique framing and incredible precision with literally no learning curve. It is "point-and-shoot" in the most cinematic way possible.
Here is a little behind the scenes look with your average New Yorkers operating during our MOMENTS shoot in NYC:
We're looking forward to using the Mimic on future productions and we'd like to thank Freefly for the awesome opportunity to test out this new technology with full creative freedom.
Please feel free to reach out with any questions or curiosities about our experience with this new technology.
Behind the Scenes photos by Ryan Emanuel.