Finding Inspiration: Filming with the Freefly M?VI

By Matter

In the video world, new gear comes out seemingly every day.  It’s equally exciting and frustrating to see the rate at which technology is improving and prices are dropping (“there’s now a 4K version of that camera we just bought last year? Awesome!  But also, Grrr…”).

As someone who very closely follows the announcement of every shiny new tool released for videographers, I’d have to say that, to me, around 95% of new products more closely resemble the planned obsolescence of the iPhone than truly radical innovation.  Which is perfectly fine, by the way – those who love the newest, best, and brightest are constantly satisfied, while those content with their existing equipment still get years of quality performance from their investment.

But every once in a while, I get my hands on something that is such a revelation that I find myself re-invigorated, inspired, and reminded of why I love doing what I do.  And find myself saying, “I NEED THIS NOW!”  Mainly because it will benefit our clients as much as ourselves.

That happened to me a few years back when I bought my beloved 5D mark II, and was suddenly able to capture images previously unattainable without investing tens – if not hundreds – of thousands of dollars in high-end film equipment.

It happened again a week ago, when the video team here at Matter got our hands on the Freefly M?VI camera stabilization systems.  We were fortunate enough to get a private, intensive masterclass at our local rental shop, Rule Boston Camera, on how to properly use this tool in many scenarios (while overall a magical system out of the box, you DO need to know how to use it properly).

For the layman, The M?VI is a handheld camera stabilizer that came out a couple of years ago (admittedly, we’re a little late to the game on this particular piece of gear, but hey, we’re busy folks).  It allows you to mount your camera, grab the handles, and run around shooting handheld to your heart’s content while the footage remains smooth as silk.  Essentially the same as a Steadicam shot, which you’ve seen in countless movies (think “The Shining,” the Copa scene in “Goodfellas,” all of “Birdman,” and pretty much every other movie you’ve ever seen).  There’s a slightly different quality to the M?VI – a little dreamier – but essentially the same idea.

Now, why is this worth writing about, or reading about if you’re not a videographer?  Because this is one of the few tools we’ve encountered that can be applied to pretty much every video project we do for our clients.  Live Action Explainers? Check.  Commercials? Check.  Office of factory tours? Check.  Event Coverage? Check.  Plain-old solid B-roll? Check check.

It allows us to bring both energy and polish to footage – something every brand video needs these days in the crowded world of visual content.  And it does so easily and for a relatively modest price.

The first thing Tim, Colter and I said to each other the day after our training session was “Man, I wish we could spend all day today shooting on the M?VI again!”

Consider us inspired and invigorated.  Stay tuned for our future work, which will undoubtedly feature shots using this awesome system.

For now, check out a quick sampling of what we shot at our session.  Admittedly, it’s pretty much us running around the Rule office like idiots, but hey, It’s cold and snowy here in Boston (in case you haven’t heard).

What about you?  Have you encountered a tool recently that has inspired your work?  Let us know!

A very special thanks again to Dylan Law and Rule Boston Camera!