MōVI M5 unboxing in Vienna – first impressions, final import costs & rental info

The toy

(Updated April 25, 2014) Today my new toy – the ‘MōVI M5’ from FREEFLYSYSTEMS – arrived at my holiday location in Vienna, Austria (only 5days after the final payment was transferred). It came in a huge box, bigger than expected. Ok, it comes with the additional Controller (for dual operator mode) and DP4 HD monitor… can’t wait to open the box. Will update this blog within the next hours and share my unboxing experience, detailed info about the foam rubber measurements to find the right size for the transport case, my personal user experience comparing it to the MōVI M10 – which I have used a lot in Doha these days. I’ll also publish all details about the additional costs when importing it to Europe (customs clearance, VAT, shipping). Enjoy reading.

The thoughts

I started using the Movi M10 earlier this year for several productions in Doha (Qatar) and really fell in love with it. Although it’s designed for heavier cameras such as the Canon C300, C500 and REDs, in fact I only used it with DSLRs such as my beloved Canon’s – the 5D Mark II, 5D Mark III and 6D – and my clients loved the outcome.

IMG_9651When I heard the news from Freefly Systems that they are releasing another gimbal, the so called Movi M5 – which is the smaller, lighter and lower-priced version of the M10 – designed for < 2.3kg cameras, I  decided to give it a deeper thought. Using DSLRs for more than 80% of my productions, this new device would perfectly fit my needs for traveling and mobility. Having had productions in countries such as Costa Rica, Myanmar, Indonesia or Iraq I often face the fact that it’s impossible to find a local crew who’s experienced enough and has the proper equipment available for rent.

The announced price of US$ 5k was surprisingly way cheaper then the US$ 15k of the previous M10 model. Also having in mind that I’m about to travel to at least half a dozen countries for new productions till the end of the year, the Movi M5 makes perfectly sense ;)

The final costs

I pre-ordered the Movi M5 with a US$ 500 credit card deposit and got a final payment notice on April 18th. The total invoice including the deposit was US$ 6,342.37. This breaks down as follows (my comments in italic):

– MoVI M5 with Controller for dual operator mode and SmallHD DP4 monitor (US$ 5,744.99)
– MoVI M5 additional battery Pack (Pair) (US$ 75.00)
– MoVI Rod Mount Adapter for follow focus systems (US$ 135)
– Shipping Charges (via FedEx to my current location Vienna, Austria) (US$ 387.38)

In addition, I was charged a total of EUR 1.129,40 for Austrian customs fees, import VAT (20%) and importer fee.

So the final total costs in EURO (1 Euro =1,3838 US-Dollar) added up to around EUR 5.712,70 (= US$ 7,905.23)

The Rule of thumb that a private import to Europe from the US including shipping, customs & import VAT fees – is the Dollar price with the Euro sign, almost applies in this case ;)

Not included in this price is a wireless follow focus system (additional operator needed) which is offered for around US$ 2.500 at the moment on the market.

The box size

The M5 comes in a nice paperboard box with fitted foam rubber in it. The exact measurements of the rectangular foam rubber cover as shown in the picture on the left is 50,5cm x 48 cm. (The cover fits the below foam rubber). In addition the compartment from the stand on the right is another 17cm x 48cm (inner measurements). The height of the box is 14,5cm. Nevertheless, you might wanna invest in a Pelican case or similar to have it safe for traveling, and also have more space for the additional controller, monitors, etc.

The experience

Having worked with the M10 before, it feels very familiar and I had no issues in setting it up.

Let me share some points about the MoVI M5 posted by moderator Andy Johnson-Laird in the FreeFly Systems forum.  (Finally I can save time as Andy brings it to the point)

Photo credits: Andy Johnson-Laird
Photo credits: Andy Johnson-Laird

1. Check out the camera frame. It attaches to the camera both by the 1/4 x 20 tripod mount and also via an attachment to the hot-shoe so the attachment is really solid which will mean that you can get higher gains.

2. The LiPo charger is the same as the M10. The LiPo’s themselves are 4S, 1,300 milliAmp hour, you get two of them.

3. There are four countersunk camera mounting screws, two ball-end hex drivers and a tuning stand.

Feel free to read his complete forum post here: ‘First look at the M5’.

The complete MoVI M5 setup including the manual balancing for my Canon 6D setup and tuning via the Freefly MoVI Configurators (download it here) took me around 10minutes. It actually doesn’t really felt different to the M10 at all.

Movi_M5_06The official M5 compatibility chart excludes the Canon C100, but it might do the job when you remove the top bar of the camera ‘cage’. Am about to shoot some first test-footage tomorrow and will update this post later.

The rental

The MoVI M10 & M5 are available for rent (with operator). Please contact me for availability and further info: alexklim@me.com

The video

Enjoy the Qatar Choice Awards Video, shot entirely with the MoVI M10 and Canon 6D in Feb 2014 – let’s compare with the M5 footage I’ll shoot tomorrow ;) Cheers, Alex

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