An Insider Look At The Freefly MoVI XL

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Heliguy has been digging up all the information we can on the Freefly MoVI XL before it’s May release and has put together this article to share what we know so far.

A much larger gimbal than the MoVI PRO, the XL is designed to be used for either crane or vehicle shots and is able to withstand rough usage and harsh acceleration. Freefly have stated that it’s, in theory, possible to mount the XL to an aircraft – they haven’t yet made one themselves that’s capable of lifting it.

The MoVI XL gimbal attached to a robotic testing arm and a RZR

The XL is a departure from their usual market segment and they have made it clear that they’re looking to learn from businesses already acting within this area (large professional camera operators and industrial clients) as well as requesting potential use cases from interested parties.

Now you know the background, it’s time to look at the specifics.


THE FREEFLY MOVI XL KEY FEATURES

Here are the headline facts that you need to know about Freefly’s MoVI XL:

  • 50lb Payload Capacity
  • Hollow Motor Shafts for Easy Wire Distribution
  • Custom-designed Axis Locks For Greater Control
  • New Quick Release Mechanism
  • Compatible with the Existing Freefly Product Ecosystem (i.e. MIMIC, Bush Pilot & MoVI Controller)

MOVI XL IN DEPTH

The upcoming MoVI XL is able to work alongside cameras up to and including the ARRI ALEXA 65. This is a serious piece of equipment that is used by professional film crews (including features such as sci-fi thriller Passengers & Marvel’s Doctor Strange).

The XL runs on a dual battery set-up (10AH, 6S 25.2V) which allows for completely wireless operation as a totally self-contained unit. According to the manufacturer, these batteries offer up to 3 hours of run-time for the camera & gimbal.

Despite being capable of carrying payloads of up to 50lbs, Freefly has used their experience of creating professional gimbals to retain a lightweight construction for ease of transport. This is due to a carbon fibre-based construction made up of 25mm tubes which form the camera cage and 50mm tubes everywhere else.

The design principle is similar to that of the MoVI PRO and as such, making adjustments to the gimbal (i.e. toggle clamps and sliding tubes) will be familiar to anyone who has experience with the smaller model.

The MoVI XL’s smooth panning action

While there have been some changes (mainly in terms of safety features due to the new gimbal’s size and payload capacity) the XL features a similar control unit to the MoVI PRO meaning that the user interface and screens remain intuitive and recognisable to Freefly’s user base.

Freefly users will also be happy to hear that there’s total compatibility with the MoVI product range including the Controller & MIMIC (inc. BushPilot).

Lightweight doesn’t mean low performance however, as Freefly’s experience in the sector has enabled them to design the MoVI XL to optimise pan balance and camera tilt performance thanks to an all-new dual-purpose axis lock which can either hold the tilt cage still when you’re fitting the camera set-up into the gimbal or, if you want to limit range, twist the lock 180 degrees to access a bumper system. The option to tilt the camera 360 degrees is still available when the lock is disabled but this is dependent on the size of the camera and lens set-up.

Testing durability with a robotic arm

These additions allow you to focus on tilt and wire placement more efficiently before perfecting roll balance. Speaking of efficiency, Freefly has gone all out to ensure maximum performance, placing motor drives right alongside their respective motors and moving the power distribution hub to the rear of the gimbal.

The motors have also been created with large hollow shafts, allowing the user to run any necessary wiring through the body of the gimbal to wherever they’re required without it becoming a tangled mess. This means that SDI or HDMI cable scan be run out of the gimbal into whatever secondary device you’re using. There is also a hole in the side of the camera cage which serves the same purpose.

The hollow motors allow for easy wire distribution

Freefly has also developed a new quick-release mechanism (with a simple slide & clamp action) to attach the gimbal to a vehicle/crane and numerous larger the pop and lock points, allowing users to mount accessories easily. They’ve also added in custom direct drive brushless motors and high-resolution encoders.

A gimbal of this size obviously need to be a sturdy bit of gear and, from what Freefly have demonstrated, it’s unlikely to disappoint. Featuring an improved vibration isolation system and high-performance GPS to monitor horizon stability even under harsh acceleration, this is a truly robust rig. This is especially evident when this level of acceleration can reach up to 100mph and still see great results from the gimbal.

The MoVI XL is designed to perform at high speeds

While it’s not recommended to use the XL in a downpour, Freefly has made the effort to waterproof it to some extent. In their own words:

“Everything that is possible to cover and seal will be, however, there may be components that require bagging If you’re looking to shoot in the rain – this is down to a balance between heat dissipation [from the gimbal’s motors etc.] and weatherproofing.”

One of the most exciting things about the XL is that it’s designed to be expandable and adaptable. Due to its modular tube and machine structure block system, it leaves the user with a great deal of scope to customise and personalise.

A few other final points to make are that the XL has full F/I/Z integration, is compatible with the Freefly API and allows complete control over RED cameras via RED RCP.


FREEFLY’S MOVI XL VIDEO SERIES

Here are Freefly’s series of Facebook Live videos which run through their factory set-up, showcase the MoVI XL and provide some great insights into the process that went into designing it.

 

First Q&A

https://www.facebook.com/plugins/video.php?href=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.facebook.com%2Ffreeflysystems%2Fvideos%2F1498205313541727%2F&width=500&show_text=false&height=281&appId

Take a look at the initial version of the MoVI XL from the back-end of 2016.

 


 

Setting Up the MoVI XL

https://www.facebook.com/plugins/video.php?href=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.facebook.com%2Ffreeflysystems%2Fvideos%2F1571614116200846%2F&width=500&show_text=false&height=281&appId

Get some insights into the process of getting the XL ready to capture footage.

 


Mounting the MoVI XL to a Vehicle

https://www.facebook.com/plugins/video.php?href=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.facebook.com%2Ffreeflysystems%2Fvideos%2F1600341023328155%2F&width=500&show_text=false&height=281&appId

Watch as Freefly test the MoVI XL at high speeds on their Polaris RZR.


Second Q&A

https://www.facebook.com/plugins/video.php?href=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.facebook.com%2Ffreeflysystems%2Fvideos%2F1611260022236255%2F&width=500&show_text=false&height=281&appId

Finally, here is the most recent Q&A on the MoVI XL to answer any remaining questions you may have.


GET IN TOUCH

If you want to discuss the upcoming MoVI XL or any other Freefly products our team are available from Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm and will help you with any queries you may have. You can reach us via the details below:

Email

info@heliguy.com

Call

0191 296 1024

Keep checking back to Heliguy’s Insider Blog for more of the latest product news from Freefly, DJI and other industry leaders as well as the latest drone news from around the world.

Full post available at – https://www.heliguy.com/blog/2017/03/30/an-insider-look-at-the-freefly-movi-xl/