There are few things as slow and tedious in the photographic world as threading a head on a tripod or a camera on a tripod head—or turning of any threaded screw, for that matter. The process of threading a camera on a tripod has been mostly eliminated by the invention of the quick-release (QR) dovetail plate. Can this concept and functionality be brought forward into the world of the modern creative? The Manfrotto MOVE Ecosystem has done just that.
The previous sentence had the word “Ecosystem” in it. MOVE is truly a system of accessories and support solutions for the modern creative with booms, gimbals, sliders, and, of course, legendary Manfrotto tripods. At the core of the MOVE Ecosystem is a new 360° quick release. Let’s look at that first.
The Next Generation Quick Release
You are probably familiar with the Arca-type compatible QR dovetail plate, or a favorite proprietary QR system already. Consisting of a “catcher” and “plate,” the MOVE QR system looks revolutionary when compared to your dovetails, and the design might leave you scratching your head. (The catcher and plate are available together as a kit or separately.)
How does it work? Simply, the plate drops into the catcher and the catcher automatically captures the plate—stabilizing up to 44 lb of payload. There are neither knobs to twist nor levers to throw. The catcher grabs the plate, and you are ready to go. If you want extra rigidity (maybe), or peace of mind (probably), you can twist a knurled ring to lock the plate in the catcher, but it isn’t required.
To release, turn that same knurled ring counter-clockwise and the plate pops free… it will be ejected if it’s not burdened by being beneath something weighty.
So, what makes Manfrotto MOVE QR system different and special? Why is this QR plate/system different than existing ones—besides its round shape and one-step operation?
You Don’t Put It on Your Camera, but You Can
First, while you can certainly mount the MOVE QR “plate” on a camera, you’ll notice that it is not a low-profile design like a dovetail plate. Because of this form factor, with the MOVE plate on your camera, you cannot rest the camera on a flat surface. When I first saw this, I thought, “Why would I want that on the bottom of my camera?” The answer is: you don’t.
There must be a different purpose for the MOVE. And there is.
The MOVE catcher is intended to be mounted on top of a tripod, slider, monopod, boom, etc., and the round QR plate is intended to be mounted under your tripod head, video head, boom arms, or gimbal.
This setup allows you to use the MOVE as it was intended—to allow ultra-fast swapping of heads and accessories onto supports.
MOVE is a Time Saver
Back to the tedious threading of heads on supports, with MOVE, that chore is reduced to, maybe, a fraction of a second of your time. For example, you can swap a photo ball head with a video head atop a slider in a fraction of the time it used to take just to remove the ball head. With MOVE, creatives can shift gears from stills to a panning/sliding video shot at previously unheard-of times. At a fast-paced multimedia shoot, that time savings can easily mean the difference between missing and capturing your content.
MOVE Can Cut Down on Your Gear
The MOVE system also can reduce the amount of gear you take into the field or work with in the studio. In an action-packed shoot, when you’re capturing stills and video, it is not out of the question to have a tripod set up with a video head and a separate support with a ball head for stills—bouncing back and forth with your trusty dovetail QR plate making swapping relatively quick and easy.
The simple fact that you can now swap heads on the same support with blazing speed means you might be able to work with a single tripod or slider and swap heads when you need to shift gears. In the studio, this can save you money and space. In the field, carrying a single tripod instead of two saves you weight, space, and expense.
Similarly, if you wanted to shoot from a tripod and a slider with a fast transition between the two, you might be tempted to keep a head on each support and make the switch using your dovetail plates to speed the transition. Now, with a MOVE catcher on each support, you can simply leave your camera attached to the head and move your kit over faster than it would take you to move your dovetail from one head to another.
MOVE-ing to New Horizons
Now that we have the concept of the MOVE QR system down, it’s time to talk about the ways Manfrotto has invited you to expand your creative power inside the MOVE Ecosystem with the Gimboom Carbon Fiber Boom, its Gim-Pod Legs that turn the boom into a tripod, and the incredibly versatile Modular Gimbal MVG300XM.
Having a weight capacity higher than your competition is a good way to set yourself ahead, but the real magic of the Modular Gimbal MVG300XM is in the name—modular.
For starters, the main handle is removable and functions as a wireless remote control for the unit when not connected. This allows you to step away from the gimbal if it is mounted on a support or on its own built-in retractable tripod legs.
Speaking of that handle/remote, the UI and LCD are amazing to use. The display is great, and the controls are intuitive—even for a beginner gimbal user. Packed inside the techy gimbal are camera controls for compatible camera systems.
The other handles are removable—great for storage and transport—and can be positioned for capture from varying camera angles. You can capture low angles in “briefcase” carry, but easily transition to overhead high viewpoints.
Of course, you can place MOVE QR plates on the gimbal since it has threads at multiple mounting points.
Adding to varying viewpoints for your creative captures, the FAST GimBoom Carbon Fiber Boom can be used as a stand-alone boom or monopod. Or you can outfit the boom with MOVE catchers to add the high-speed interchangeability of the MOVE Ecosystem to the boom’s ability to move your camera away from arm’s reach.
The boom’s carbon fiber construction offers great rigidity, and the engineering details of the system, including the telescoping functions and rubber grips, are what you would expect from a company like Manfrotto. The retracted boom arm measures 20" and, when extended, the arm reaches 3.8'.
Working with the MVG300XM gimbal, you can even attach the main handle of the gimbal to the bottom of the boom, mount the gimbal at the top, and remotely control the gimbal from a stabilized position almost 4' away.
Gim-Pod Accessory Legs
The last part of this trio of tools is the Gim-Pod Accessory Legs, which simply mount on the GimBoom using the Gimboom Accessory Connector. These compact, telescoping legs allow you to turn the GimBoom into a small tripod for extra or hands-free stability. While not as stable as a full-sized dedicated tripod, this option will certainly appeal to those who want tripod support in the field without hauling a tripod with them. When not needed, the Gim-Pod can fold against the GimBoom or easily be removed and stored for another day.
If you are using the MOVE catcher and QR plate with the Gim-Pod legs, you will want to grab the pre-angled Quick Release GimBoom 15° Offset Leveling Plate.
For a closer look at the MVG300XM, GimBoom, and Gim-Pod, please check out this B&H video.
Why Switch to MOVE?
Many veteran photographers and videographers have tried-and-true dovetail QR systems that we have invested in over the years and, life is good, right? Change isn’t always a chore, and sometimes it is even fun, but making a radical change to your tripod/camera QR system can be expensive and a chore… unless there is a great reason to switch.
The magic of the Manfrotto MOVE system is that you aren’t necessarily replacing your trusty dovetail system, you are using the advantages of MOVE to speed up the swapping of gear greatly from support to support.
What do you need to get started in the Manfrotto MOVE Ecosystem? At a minimum, you will need a single Quick Release Catcher System Set with an additional QR plate. You can add more catchers and plates as your system expands, or if you already have the need.
Do you have questions about the Manfrotto MOVE Ecosystem? Is the MOVE the solution that you have been looking for, or is it a solution to a problem you didn’t know you had? Let us know in the Comments section, below!