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Hands on with one of the UK’s first Freefly Systems MIMIC

VIVIDA’s Simeon Quarrie gets one of the UK’s first Freely Systems MIMIC

As many of you know, I was one of the early adopters of the Freefly Systems MoVI M10 when it was released in 2013. I remember extending my stay in Amsterdam at IBC to get some one-on-one time with the then unreleased M10. I fell in love with it, and clicked “Buy Now.” It was one of my biggest equipment purchases, especially after I added all the peripheral equipment.

I paid almost double the price to be early to the party. Just over a year after my purchase, the M10’s price dropped to half. My team and I watched as other devices like the Ronin hit the market at a fraction of the price. I wasn’t exactly pleased. But I do feel I made my money back.

I didn’t just make my money back in production value or projects. It was more to do with a new mindset. The MoVI threw us into the remote follow focus, V-lock, rig-modification world of the production heavy weights. It changed the way we think and our attitude toward gear.

My business is in that in-between, transitional stage of production. Many of our productions are small, quick and nimble with lightweight DLSR equipment. Others use larger systems like the C300/C500 with much larger crews. I, therefore, find myself investing in platforms that I can grow with. For me, Freefly Systems, whilst expensive, fits my team’s aspirations.

A month ago, I looked at my MoVI M10, looked at the Freefly website and realised that my system needed an upgrade. I purchased the Tool-less Pan Knuckle, the MōVI Ring, Toad in the Hole, Follow Focus Support (MōVI Rod Mount Adapter) and the Full Cage. Yes, I know, the upgrades cost as much as some of the new, cheaper Gimbal devices. But, that’s OK.

My brand product isn’t about creating cheap and cheerful. That attitude permeates my investment decisions. I’m generally not so interested in investing in products. I prefer to invest in platforms and companies.

Enter the MIMIC

I was on for up-to-date NAB news and saw Freefly showing off a new device called the MIMIC. My mouth hit the floor as I watched the operator stand three feet away from a MoVI. When the MIMIC was moved, the MoVI also moved! I literally, immediately joined the Beta Program by investing in the MIMIC.

I was so excited because I often don’t physically run with the MoVI even though I’m damn good at it. I prefer to direct and control the movement. Until now, I had to use the Spectrum remote that came with the MoVI. I am rubbish at joystick control despite being a gamer! Growing up, I was a car-simulation lover with a force-feedback steering wheel. The MIMIC is like that steering wheel/iPad control.


I got the MIMIC and the upgrades completed mostly with Kornel’s help. VIVIDA’s Yordan just watched with his mouth open as Kornel and I took the MoVI to pieces. We did get caught out when we installed new firmware.

Kornel tried to be super manly and didn’t read the manual. The MoVI died! We managed to pump life back into the MoVI by following my most meaningful contribution, “Lets use the manual, Kornel!”

Finally, we were up and running, and it was awesome! Not perfect, but still awesome! #Beta

Immediately, with Kornel running around with bended knees, I controlled the camera composition and nailed it the first time! Kornel was grumpy because he didn’t get full control of the majestic mode.

I, on the other hand, as director and cinematographer, had what I needed – control! And, it feels good!

Freefly Systems Mimic with the C300MKII – Behind The Scenes from VIVIDA on Vimeo.

As with any Beta programme, there are always things that need to be improved. With the Mimic, it currently lacks the ability to “mute” or to stop listening. For example, when I place the Mimic on the table, the camera will adopt a head down position. If you need to walk over to another area of the set, the camera responses to shake and turn, without the ability to disengage temporarily.

I also haven’t mastered the startup sequence, so there were many times that we stood on set trying to get a link. Our England Hurdler was amused as he watched us shake the Freefly Systems Mimic around in the hope that it would link up predictively.

Freefly have reached out ask for feedback and I look forward to giving it to them. It will of course include a the few niggles and suggestions. Though it will largely comprise of a big, long, hearty hug! They have given me intuitive control of my camera on my Movi. I’ll use my Movi partnered with the Mimic on my M10 walking, running, on a tripod, on a jib and on a freaking car!

So what did Simeon do as soon as he got the MIMIC..? He had a little dance with it!

Dance with My MOVI from VIVIDA on Vimeo.

Interested in the Freefly Systems MIMIC? Read more about it here

Check out Vivida’s website

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