MIMIC Beta [Firmware] Review and Feedback

Discussion in 'MIMIC' started by Austin Glass, May 27, 2015.

  1. Austin Glass

    Austin Glass Active Member

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    Over Memorial Day weekend we did a couple of shoots where we utilized the beta firmware of the MoVI Controller that activates MIMIC mode.

    The two shoots we did were both internally-produced projects, which is why we choose to use Mimic in the first place. I figure it's better to experiment in an environment free of clients, in case things don't work properly.

    Before I jump into it, here's the video showing some of the results:
    PASSWORD: mimic


    Setup:
    Scarlet DRAGON
    Rokinon Cine DS primes
    M15 w/ FW v4.02
    MoVI Controller w/ FW v2.0.5

    IMG_5872.jpeg
    The M15 awaits further instructions…

    Review:
    Mimic Mode itself is a very practical solution to a problem we didn't know we had. That comment could sound like a knock, but I mean it genuinely. I've gotten used to operating the MoVI using the joystick, and that's all well and good, but the ease of framing via Mimic doesn't even compare. I've had enough botched takes with the joystick just because of the inherent difficult some of the more complex shots possess. With Mimic, simple moves can be ironed out during a single rehearsal, but even the most complex moves can be figured out in the first couple of takes. The Controller features a simple Mimic rate scaling that can be adjusted up for scenarios when you need to move more quickly, and adjusted down when you need more fine control over the camera orientation.

    Mimic also allows you to more finely frame your shots during changes in camera height. If you watch the video above, there is a shot that starts around 0:09 where the actor is walking toward a tree trunk. When he gets there, he kneels down, and the camera must re-frame in order to keep him in the shot. The camera itself is not changing elevation very rapidly, but obviously we must tilt down at the same time the actor does. You can see a moment in the video where we begin to loose him just a little (on both the pan and the tilt), but I am quickly and effortlessly able to adjust the frame to pick him up again without loosing the shot. It's this kind of control that make Mimic so useful.

    IMG_0078.JPG
    Brian operates the M15 while I operate the Controller in Mimic Mode, with Riley on focus

    Feedback:
    I like to test things out. Especially because I like to help make them better and hopefully more practical. As such, I have a few suggestions for Mimic Mode that I hope are able to be implemented. Keep in mind that these are not criticisms, but simply suggested improvements to beta firmware.

    • Switching to Mimic Mode at this point is a cumbersome process. You must go into TX Config, and switch the mode to Mimic within this menu. This setting overrides the MODE switch (D/M/K switch). What would be nice is if Mimic Mode could be assigned to one of the user switches, or possibly even the "Dual-op" aspect of the D/M/K switch. Obviously you will want to switch back to Majestic in between takes, so a simpler way to do that is crucial.
    • The other issue with switching over is that when you do switch from "Normal" to "Mimic," the MoVI "bucks" by snapping back into the last orientation it was in, relative to the Controller's current orientation. This means that both operators have to communicate very deliberately so that when the change happens, the MoVI operator does not have his fingers jammed or anything like that. My recommended fix would be that when switching from Normal to Mimic, the camera's current orientation and the Controller's current orientation become locked.
    Honestly, those are my only two nitpicks. Overall, I'm incredibly happy with this tech, and I look forward to continuing to use it in my projects. It was nice to have an opportunity to use it in a real-world application, as the previous times were either at Freefly HQ or the NAB show floor. Both of those scenarios are great for a proof-of-concept demo, but it is difficult to evaluate everything until you get it in your hands in this type of environment. It is for that reason that I recommend anyone with a MoVI Controller and a little bit of curiosity to install it and see for yourself. So far I haven't found any bugs, so I think it's pretty low-risk.

    Who else has tried it? What other thoughts can you offer?
     
    Andrew Hewson likes this.
  2. Jeff Scholl

    Jeff Scholl Distributor

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    [​IMG]My favorite setup is using the Mimic upate on the MoVI controller for controlling long lens shots.
    I can set the scale to .1 for super slow and smooth adjustments and also use the new pan and tilt trim for ridiculous slow movements.

    This is with the Canon 70-200 at 2x crop.

    Jeff
     
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