May 23rd, 2014

HBO’s Game of Thrones’ crew, led by Robert McLachlan, ASC, CSC take Freefly Systems’ MōVI M10 to new extremes

Posted By Neil Matsumoto
Game of Thrones camera operators Sean Savage and Dave Morgan operate a MōVI M10 for a shot. (Photo by Helen Sloan, courtesy of HBO)

Game of Thrones camera operators Sean Savage and Dave Morgan operate a MōVI M10 for a shot. (Photo by Helen Sloan, courtesy of HBO)

One of the most interesting devices to come out in years, Freefly Systems‘ MōVI rig has transformed camera movement, enabling filmmakers the ability to capture dynamic shots at the spur of the moment. The MōVI M10 is a 3-axis digital camera stabilization system that features Freefly’s proprietary, state-of-the-art hardware, software and cutting-edge stabilization capabilities and is designed to hold a camera package of up to 12 pounds (5.4 kg). Cinematographer Robert McLachlan, ASC, CSC and his production team used an MōVI M10 handheld digital camera stabilizer to capture extreme footage in Iceland for HBO’s hit show, Game of Thrones. The MōVI M10 was paired with RED Epic Dragon Carbon Fiber bodies, which allowed for exclusive footage to be shot in hazardous Icelandic ravines ─ areas that would have been impossible to access with traditional gear. “We had to shoot a long walk and talk over an extremely uneven, rubble pathway,” McLachlan explains. “There was no room for a dolly in there, and the surface was guaranteed to break the Steadicam operator’s ankle. In cases like this in the past, we would have had to default to a series of long lens shots. Our solution was to have Sean Savage, our A-camera operator, and our dolly grip, carry the MōVI M10 while our B-operator, Dave Morgan, operated the remote control. It worked very well. Watch episode 405, and you’ll see how well it worked.”

The MōVI M10 is a 3-axis digital camera stabilization system that features Freefly’s proprietary, state-of-the-art hardware, software and cutting-edge stabilization capabilities and is designed to hold a camera package of up to 12 pounds.

The MōVI M10 is a 3-axis digital camera stabilization system that features Freefly’s proprietary, state-of-the-art hardware, software and cutting-edge stabilization capabilities and is designed to hold a camera package of up to 12 pounds.

With MōVI M10 and a highly skilled crew, McLachlan executed awkward camera positions in extreme conditions to maintain the Game of Thrones fundamental principles ─ outstanding and distinguished composition and unwavering footage. “Due to the extremely rough terrain, we very much needed two operators ─ one being a sure-footed grip ─ as we were traveling forward but looking backward,” he continued, “It is a very carefully-framed and shot-crafted show; wobbly camera work is just not an option. We certainly would not have gotten those shots any other way.” The Game of Thrones production team ran tests with the M10 and discovered other cost-effective benefits that eliminated the need for large equipment. “We experimented with creating a ‘poor man’s Cable Cam’ with it,” he says. “The grips rigged a cable between trees in the woods and attached another tether to a vehicle to pull the MōVI M10, which was suspended on a pulley from the cable. The test worked brilliantly.” Season four of Game of Thrones premiered April 6, 2014 on HBO, and the spectacular footage conquered with Freefly’s MōVI M10 is displayed in episodes 401, (shot in Belfast, Northern Ireland) and 405. Visit www.freeflysystems.com to see videos and to get ordering information including the expanding MōVI network of top professional dealers worldwide.

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