MUWI has released a cost effective, electric slider that works with your phone as remote and gives you professional looking footage, time-lapses and the ability to make a stop-frame animation while the camera is in motion.
They’ve sent me a full set containing the Flow X, the track, and remote with some accessories. The Flow X is an attachment that motorizes the otherwise manual dolly.
For the review I did some shots in my apartment, and started off with my mobile phone, for which this newly released equipment is ideal. I was able to get going immediately, and I could use the remote control to speed it up and slow it back down while going around my Canon 5D Mark III.
It took me a few tries to make sure my subject stayed in frame for the whole duration of the shot, but in the end I got it. It’s a good idea to see how it will flow when planning your shot before putting the product or item you’re planning to shoot in position. It worked. I was able to zoom into some products too, and could then speed ramp the clip to give it an additional sense of urgency. It’s fun, and I am constantly pondering what else I can do with it.
If you’re planning on shooting outdoors or on a surface that’s not smooth, you need to use the track to give you the smoothness you’re doing this all for. You therefore won’t be able to shoot around an object. You’ll only be able to pan from left to right or vice versa.
When I did a shot on my cement kitchen floor which isn’t that smooth, the built-in image-stabilization of my iPhone X got confused and made the shot unusable. It was bouncing around like crazy. So, you need a smooth surface, or a track, or the Moment App. If you’re shooting with a DSLR or Mirrorless camera, I think the modern IBIS will not have this issue.
The app works by just opening it up and tapping the connect button. It connect automatically, so you can change the speed of the Flow-X as you wish. The app gives you three options to select: FREEMOTION, STOPMOTION, or TIMELAPSE, which makes it really easy to use. With each of these options, you can change settings depending on duration of the clip and intervals you want between shots.
I had a little bit of a struggle here with the motorized Flow-X attached. I mounted the Canon 5D Mark III with a 24-70mm lens and I was not able to get the wheel at the bottom of the Flow-X to move. In other words, there was no movement, and the camera stayed in the same place. When trying to do this motorized, I used it on the track, with it only moving if I pushed down on it. I tried to use it on my studio desk which seemed to work better than the track. I tried using the counter-weight which is included, but didn’t have any luck there. I then tried the lighter 50mm lens, which seemed to work better. Doing this manually really improved the end results.
What I Didn’t Like
There is a threaded spot for mounting something, but my tripod didn’t fit. I think a link between these two is a visit to the hardware store.
The dolly itself works great manually, although during my testing, my 5D Mark III was too heavy for the motorized version. It lifted the wheel of the Flow-X in the air and therefore it didn’t move. I think the wheel below the X-Mount needs to be modified with either more grip, larger size, or it can maybe even work with more wheels to make sure it moves when you want it to.
What I Liked
It’s so compact, and I support companies aiming to produce gear that makes our work better or easier to do at a lower cost than what currently is available. With the new mirrorless cameras’ auto-focussing abilities, it will be a pleasure to shoot products or land, as well as cityscape videos and time-lapses. The cameras are also getting lighter, so this makes the electronic MUWI Dolly ideal. And, you don’t have to get the motorized one. I was able to move it manually which works great and it’s surely going into my bag I take everywhere from now on.
For mobile phones, the motorized dolly is perfect. It’s compact to setup with regards to getting more cinematic footage that pushes your production value up. For photographers using DSLRs and mirrorless cameras, I would recommend getting the manual one. It’s such a small, simple concept, yet it adds so much more intrigue to your video and clients will love the professional appeal of it.
You can learn more about it and get yours here.