First impressions

Discussion in 'MōVI M10' started by Gary Haynes, Sep 6, 2013.

  1. Gary Haynes

    Gary Haynes Administrator
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    Wanted to post some photos of what is coming to those of you with MōVI's on order. Full disclosure that as a moderator I am biased to Freefly products. But I will keep this factual for you.

    Here's what shows up. The large box is the M10 and the smaller box is the MR upgrade to an M10.

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    Opening up the M10 you find the top protective layer and the manual for the Spektrum DX7 transmitter. At the top you see the stand in it's collapsed condition. If you saw the original stand at NAB this is a totally new design. the 4 arms contain bungee cords and each arm plugs into the center column so that you can quickly assemble and un-assemble the stand for travel.

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    Taking off the top foam you see the entire kit. I have removed the small bag at the top of the previous photo. Will show those contents later.

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    Here's a series of closeups. This first one shows the transmitter, neck strap and charger for the DX7S.

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    Moving up you see the 2 batteries and the battery charger. Stand is at the top.

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    On the upper right you see the upper part of the M10. The M10 is fully assembled with the exception of the top carry handle. There is nothing other than sliding the handle into the top bracket and tightening the 4 M3 bolts.

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    And finally the lower right section. The bag contains the power and battery attach cable for the charger.

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    In the plastic bag you find some extra large o-rings which are used for securing the battery, extra foam sticky pads if the receiver or other items would ever need to be removed and replaced, cap head screws for use on the camera mounting plate (acts as a stop for the plate when mounted on the M10), two 1/4-20 screws for the camera plate (two lengths which make a difference. My D800 needed the shorter screw), two extra friction clamp replacements and finally the only two tools that you need.

    Now I will pontificate for a moment. Those two hex drivers are an example of what sets Freefly apart from others. Someone took the time to not just supply a hex driver but a ball tip hex driver. Might not sound important but as you are setting up the MōVI or really any other device that needs adjustment, a ball tip means that you can come in at an angle without damaging the socket on the bolt. The Freefly team pays attention at this level of detail. This is just one example of design excellence.

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    Here's the contents of the MR Kit box. Two of the landing gear legs that plug into the center Pan hub with a dovetail like fitting, a leg that mounts to the back of the pan arm and the star plate for attaching to a Cinestar multi-copter. Bag contains all of the screws required.

    Time to install, at least on my first attempt was about 10 minutes. Simple process. Take the top crossbar handle off the M10. Attach the legs, 4 screws on each of the front legs and a clamp with 4 screws for the back Pan tube leg, 4 screws to attach the star plate. Done and ready to mount to the copter.

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    Setup and balance is straight forward. First time will take you some time, about an hour or so, to methodically go through each of the steps. At a high level, mount the camera and adjust for front to back, adjust for tilt, adjust for roll, adjust for Pan. No tools needs except for gross adjustment of the roll beam (large hex) and Pan adjustment of the clamps (small Hex). Take time to get it perfect. Perfect balance is one of the key successes to get perfect image capture.

    After doing it several times I can do a change in about 15 minutes. Likely that time will decrease a bit with more practice.

    The tuning with the software is straight forward. I have tried the Mac OS and Windows versions. Need to get an Android tablet to try that one.

    DX7 is straight forward on how to use.

    And now the subjective part of this. If you appreciate the effort that goes into clean functional designs and really take a look at what Tabb and the Freefly team have created you will realize that the thought, engineering, ease of use for the user that went into not only the M10 but the entire Freefly product family is incredible. Fit and finish, flexibility, nearly tool less adjustments. The amount of testing, tweaking, changes that went into the M10/MR shows in the final product that is shipping. Pretty sure you are going to like what you see when yours shows up.
     
  2. Jonathan Stevenson

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    Looks great Gary! I can't wait to get mine. Thanks for sharing the photos. What are those little red squares with the tool kit?

    EDIT: Nvm, you stated they were sticky pads for the receiver...
     
  3. Drew Kachurak

    Drew Kachurak Member

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    I've been scrolling through these pictures for the last 10 minutes or so... Love what I'm seeing! Congrats on receiving your MR10!! Take a "moderator break" and go get us some sample footage! ;)
     
  4. Jonathan Stevenson

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  5. Steve Maller

    Steve Maller UAV Grief Counselor

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    Mazel tov! :D
     
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  6. Carey Lee Coffey

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    Hi Gary -

    Can you please explain what you mean by: " The large box is the M10 and the smaller box is the MR upgrade to an M10"?

    Are you saying you ordered an MR and upgraded to an M10? Or are you saying you ordered an M10 and the smaller box is the upgrade to the MR?
     
  7. Austin Glass

    Austin Glass Active Member

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    I think he means his order is a complete M10, and the small box contains the MR upgrade kit.
     
  8. Tabb Firchau

    Tabb Firchau Administrator
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  9. Carey Lee Coffey

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    That's what I thought. Can someone please direct me where to go to order the MR upgrade kit? I couldn't find it anywhere on the MōVI store, and I would like to get it at the same time that I get my M10. Thanks!
     
  10. Andy Johnson-Laird

    Andy Johnson-Laird Administrator
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    You are correct Austin (and Carey).
    The manual for the M10/MR is at http://www.freeflysystems.com/pdf/FFS_moviManual-v1.pdf
    and this describes the conversion.

    Andy.
     
  11. Carey Lee Coffey

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  12. Tabb Firchau

    Tabb Firchau Administrator
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    It will keep you out of trouble Carey ;)
     
  13. Carey Lee Coffey

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    Haha! Nothing I'd rather spend my Friday night doing! (well... almost nothing) :)
     
  14. Marc Morissette

    Marc Morissette New Member

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    Thanks Gary for the images

    -Marc
     
  15. Carey Lee Coffey

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    Okay, I hate to reply to my own quote, but I read the manual and could not find the answer to my above question anywhere in it.

    Help is appreciated!
     
  16. James Adkins

    James Adkins Member

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    Gary,

    Big thanks for taking time to do this for us. I hope the pre-orders count up quickly!
     
  17. Tabb Firchau

    Tabb Firchau Administrator
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    Carey - when you are invited to pay for the rest of your M10 / MR you will be able to select the MR upgrade kit at that time.

    Thanks!

    Tabb
     
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  18. Jonathan Stevenson

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    Gary Haynes was kind enough to meet up with me this weekend to give me some hands-on time with the rig. I first want to say that Gary was extremely knowledgable, helpful, and generous for taking the time to show me everything in person. If you have any questions about the Movi, he's a great guy to ask! Thanks so much Gary!

    For those that don't want to read my whole writeup, here's the reader's digest version:
    - Build quality: Awesome!
    - Setup: Easy after some practice, but the first few times will be slow.
    - Operation: Works as advertised when setup properly. It's very heavy with an Epic. Get an Easy Rig!
    - Overall: Very cool piece of gear, but don't underestimate it's complexity. It will take lots of practice to become a good operator, and I highly advise against just renting out the gear without the owner or technician going with it.


    Build Quality
    Freefly really has an impressive piece of equipment on their hands here. The build quality was exceptional. They are using very high quality, custom built components (not "off the shelf" parts like people seem to be saying), all of which come together in what is clearly a well-thought-out design. The entire rig is comprised of carbon fiber components and was sturdy but extremely light. When I first picked up the rig (without the camera mounted) I almost accidentally threw it up into the air; it was much lighter than I was expecting. The included stand is light, compact, quick to set up, and easy to pack away.

    Setup/Configuration
    Once the rig is "unfolded" and setup on the stand, the balancing and fine tuning took about an hour. This was mostly due to the fact that we hadn't put an Epic on the rig before, so it took some time to align the center of gravity in multiple directions. However, it's very easy to see that, once you've balanced up your rig a few times, it should take no more than 15-20 minutes to balance at the start of your day or between lens changes (and with lens changes, you really should only have to make adjustments along the tilt axis to account for different length or weights of lenses, so setup changes should be relatively simple.) Just like a steadicam, it's important that all your accessories are on the camera before trying to balance. Even putting the lens cap on the lens during balancing greatly threw off the center of gravity.

    The biggest challenge I foresaw during the balancing is simply getting the camera to hold still. When you balance a rig, the motors have to be off, meaning that the camera kind of "flops around" while you're trying to balance it. It would be great is if there was a way to "lock off" the motors individually, so you can focus on balancing one axis at a time (at least for the initial rough balance) and then unlock all three to do your fine tune adjustments. However, I think with practice, it will probably be a non-issue.

    A small problem we ran into was adjusting the roll axis while the camera was attached. Balancing the roll axis requires access to 4 small bolts directly behind the camera (it's the horizonal bar behind the camera with the Movi logo on it). At least with the Epic, there wasn't any room to get the included hex wrench behind the camera to loosen or tighten the bolts. Instead, we were forced to remove the camera from the plate, adjust the roll bar, and re-attach the camera. So, a 90 degree hex wrench would be better suited in this situation. Another factor to consider was that I had the +1 module attached to the camera, meaning the body was a few inches longer than usual. Without the module, it's conceivable that adjusting the roll axis wouldn't require you to remove the camera.

    The only other strange thing I noticed was that the sliding plate that you attach to the bottom of the camera wouldn't accept the 3/8" bolts that I have for my camera, you could only fit 1/4-20 bolts through the holes. Since there's only one 1/4-20 tap on the body of the Epic, you can only attach the camera to the plate with one bolt. That made me a little nervous, but Gary reassured me that even quadcopter guys are only attaching their bodies with one bolt. Also, it would be very easy to take a drill and slightly modify the sliding plate to fit a 3/8" bolt just by boring out the hole a little more. Anyway, not really a huge deal, just something to be aware of.

    Operation/ Results
    Unfortunately, I still haven't received a few items that I need for the kit, mainly the Redrock wireless follow focus and my Paralinx kit, so for the time being, we only put the Epic body with side handle and lens onto the rig. We were able to attach the 5" Touch LCD to the handle bars and run the LCD cable to the brain. However, I would advise against doing this, simply because the LCD cable from RED is very stiff and restricted the free movement of the motors. A thin HDMI cable to a DP4 monitor would be a better option IMO.

    My first thought when picking up the rig was, "this is much heavier than I expected." The weight of the camera and accessories will add up quickly. I found myself needing to set the rig back on the stand after only a few minutes of holding it out in front of me (and I consider myself to be in decent shape). Using this on a set will definitely require your AC to be ready to take the rig away from you when they call cut. I would also highly recommend the use of an Easy Rig. They are relatively inexpensive and will make the operator's life much easier.

    Otherwise, everything worked as advertised. I was impressed with the smoothness of Majestic mode and it felt very intuitive. In fact, Majestic Mode will probably be used 90% of the time, if I had to guess. Had we had a little more time, we probably could have done a better balance on the camera. You will notice your footage being a little wobbly at times or off axis if you don't get the balance just right.

    The other thing I noticed is that, as an operator, I'm at a serious disadvantage being only 5' 11". Gary is probably 6' 5" and I had a very hard time getting the camera eye level with him without getting instant shoulder fatigue. But that's my problem, not Freefly's ;-)

    Overall impressions
    Lots of people argue over the superiority of steadicams vs. Movi or vice versa. In my opinion, it's just like the Red vs. Alexa or Red vs. DSLR argument; the Movi is another tool for the cinematographer's arsenal. It's not a replacement for steadicam, it's an alternative approach. Many shots that could be achieved on a Movi cannot be done with steadicam, but there are probably many situations where steadicams will blow a Movi out of the water (3D Alexa Rig anyone?). What matters is knowing what tool to pick for the job, and this will be a great option for a multitude of situations.

    This is a serious piece of gear, it's not some gimmick. After seeing it in person, I realized that probably the biggest misconception about the Movi is that you can just pick it up and go on your first try. Wrong. This rig is just as delicate to balance as a steadicam rig. Operating it smoothly will take practice. Configuring your camera well will take trial and error. Getting good shots will take experimentation. In my opinion, becoming a skilled Movi operator will take time. This is not a piece of gear that you can just rent out to jobs. You will need to go along with it as a technician (at the very least). People who think that they can just pick it up and get perfect shots every time will be very frustrated. On the other hand, Movi owners who spend the time to become experts with their gear will likely be very successful and gain a solid reputation.

    That's about all I can think of at this point. Unfortunately I was so excited to be seeing the rig that I forgot to take a lot of pictures like I had hoped. But, it's really nothing you haven't seen already anyway. It was great to see it in person. I feel like the veil of mystery surrounding the product has finally been lifted (at least for me).

    Happy to answer any questions you may have!

    (I've also posted this over at Reduser - http://www.reduser.net/forum/showth...AQs-and-More&p=1254612&viewfull=1#post1254612 )
     
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  19. Carey Lee Coffey

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    Excellent!
     
  20. Andy Johnson-Laird

    Andy Johnson-Laird Administrator
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    To stop the pan axis from flopping around while I was setting up the tilt and roll axes, I just put a cable tie around the horizontal upper boom (basically around the pan motor and the boom clamps that hold the transverse handles boom). Then I ran a bungee cord (with the hooks bent open) up and over the stand to steady the roll axis so I could deal with tilt. It was a pretty long bungee cord so it just acted to stabilize the boom rather than putting significant force on it.

    Once I had tilt sorted, I removed the bungee cord and worked on roll. Then I cut and removed the cable tie to work on pan. As you say, allow an hour for the first time balancing, 15 minutes thereafter. The Brad Meier Pan Axis Balancing Trick is cunning and effective.

    But anyway I was looking for a technique I could use on location if I need to re-balance for a lens change, etc. without my ineptitude causing the MoVI to flop around like a deck chair in a high wind in front of a DP or client. Turns out that even I managed to re-balance the camera from scratch with a different lens in 15 minutes.

    I confess to using a right-angle 3-mm hex wrench to finally tighten down the transverse roll beam because I was too indolent to want to remove the 5D Mark III from the mount. You can actually do it with the FF 3mm wrench (at least for the 5D Mk III) because, as Gary pointed out, it is a ball-end wrench so can be used at an angle. I can see why a Red or similarly sized camera would be an issue.

    I also stared at the tiny 1/4" x 20 bolt and thought, hmmm....so that's all that's holding the camera on? With the way I fly (well, land ;) ) I think I might see if I can add a couple of safety cable ties through the 5D Mark III's camera strap mounts just so nothing Really Bad happens.

    Hope this helps
    Andy.
     

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