A new piece of filmmaking gear was just announced that could completely re-invent the complex process of camera stabilisation. It's currently being tested and endorsed by Vincent LaForet, who's given us a little taste of what it's capable of.
The product is called MōVI, created by Freefly, longtime maker of crazy camera-drone equipment and stabilisers. LaForet is presenting a short film and behind-the-scenes video to illustrate its abilities, which consists of a completely custom-made gimbal and 3-axis gyroscope that digitally stabilises the camera (a Canon 1DC in this case). It looks to be very light and portable, a far cry from giant metal arms, vests, and weights that almost the entire camera support world is based on.
Anyone who has ever picked up a camera knows that one of the most frustrating things is getting footage that isn't shaky. That smooth gliding movement is one of the hallmarks of good production value. At the pro level, stabilisation is the focus of entire companies, like the ubiquitous Steadicam, which provides beastly and expensive equipment to Hollywood, TV, and independent production houses for hundreds of thousands of pounds. Some of cinema's most famous shots have utilised this type of gear, such as this iconic Goodfellas scene:
Shots like these are based on a counterweight system, where heavy weights are suspended below the camera, which sits on a low-friction gimble. The new system gets rid of the counterweight completely, allowing the camera person to move around much easier. For added control, the camera's movements can be operated remotely via joystick.
Let's be real though—this is very much a professional-level piece of gear that is currently priced at £10,000, with a £5,000 option coming in the near future. That is to say, out of the price-range of most individuals and small businesses. But the very apparent break with old technology will no doubt trickle down into more consumer-friendly devices as time goes on, and hopefully make those awe-inspiring camera shots possible for anyone to pull off. [LaForet Visuals]