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Freefly Movi camera rig now lets you program motion time-lapses from your phone

Freefly has once again raised the bar for high-end filmmaking tools with the final release of firmware version 5.0 — known as Akira — for its Movi camera stabilizer, which adds a brand-new time-lapse mode, among other features and improvements.

When mounted on a tripod, time-lapse mode enables precision camera movement, which is programmable from the Movi app for iOS and Android. Rather than working to counteract camera shake, the gimbal motors will purposefully pan and tilt the camera along a predetermined path for a set amount of time, with the mounted camera snapping photos along the way.

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As detailed in a recent blog post, the app enables some very advanced control that goes well beyond setting a simple start and end point. Using keyframes, a user can set up to eight points to plot multiple angles or ramp speed up or down during the time-lapse sequence. The app provides a visual reference of all keyframes, which can be dragged to change the timing.

Users can even choose between a linear or cubic curve, with the latter providing a smooth transition from one keyframe to the next and rounding out any abrupt edges. Once plotted, the path can be previewed, with the Movi taking the camera through the full motion at a faster speed to ensure it moves the way it was intended to before beginning the much longer time-lapse.

The app also provides a handy time-lapse calculator to help users plan out how many photos they’ll need to shoot to hit a desired clip length and frame rate.

Freefly made waves in the professional filmmaking industry a few years ago with the original Movi, a handheld, three-axis camera stabilizer that provided incredible flexibility and stability for run-and-gun shots. The concept was widely emulated by other companies, but Freefly’s Movi remains the Xerox machine of professional handheld gimbals. Starting at $2700, the Movi is clearly geared for high-end users, or any enthusiast with some money to burn. The new time-lapse capabilities should help broaden its appeal to a new demographic of filmmaker, however. The app also makes it as easy to use and approachable as possible, which should help lower the bar for entry on a technical level.

Other features introduced with the Akira update include improved stabilization processing, especially noticeable when using longer lenses, and a new target mode, which keeps the camera locked on a set target as the Movi moves around it. The new firmware is available now as a free download for all Movi users.