Laforet unveils “game changer” device: a virtually unshakeable gyro-based handheld camera stabilizer called MoVI


posted Friday, April 5, 2013 at 9:33 AM EDT


No, it's not a new camera as some folks might have hoped but, as promised, photographer and cinematographer Vincent Laforet unveiled a new device this morning which he predicts will be an industry "game changer." Called MōVi, the device is a "digital 3-axis gyro-stabilized handheld camera gimbal" designed to steady even the shakiest video shots. The MōVi is produced by Freefly Systems in Seattle, WA.

Yes, there are many other products out there already that do similar things including handheld camera rigs, steadicams, glidecams, sliders, dollies, jibs etc. but the MōVi is designed to do the work of all those contraptions but better and easier. The device, which is like a gyro-driven steadicam combined with a handheld DSLR rig, weighs less than 3.5 pounds and is completely silent. You don't need a separate apparatus to operate it but you can employ an additional gimbal operator for the MōVi if you want to get some really fancy shots.

The price of this new device is not cheap: the first version, the MōVi M10, will sell for approximately $15,000; while a second, smaller version called the M5 will be sold "for a price point under $7,500." Neither of the MōVi's are on sale yet but prototypes will be on display at the Freefly booth (#C9848) at the NAB show in Las Vegas next week.

In a gushing blog post this morning, Laforet called the MōVi "unbelievably liberating."

"Some of you may not exactly get what this device does at first, why you might need it, or how you would use it. That is until you get your hands on it – and then your way of thinking about camera movement and general camera support will change. Guaranteed – everyone who’s handled the device agrees. It’s going to be difficult not to have one of these tools on your productions going forward."

To show what the MōVi can do, three videos are embedded below. The first is a short movie directed by Laforet, which was shot using a Canon EOS-1D C and a Canon Cinema Prime 24mm T1.5 lens mounted inside the MōVi stabilizing rig.

There are some unbelievable shots in the clip but check out the behind the scenes video, narrated by Laforet and MōVi inventor Tad Firchau, below that to really understand how the device was used in the movie. The one jaw-dropping moment for me  -- both in Laforet's movie and in the behind-the-scenes footage -- was the scene with the girl in the back of a taxi cab and the rock-steady camera somehow pulling away as the cab takes off. As it turns out, the scene was shot with a cameraman on roller blades using the MōVi!

And finally, the last brief clip shows the MōVi in action.