Troubleshooting Horizon Issues with Movi Cinema Robot

There are a few use cases where you might experience horizon (or roll) issues with your Movi. 

  1. When you are balancing your phone before you turn the Movi on, before the motors are active. 
    • This is a physical Balance issue.
  2. After you’ve balanced the Movi, activated the motors, and it is either resting on a table or being held in your hand for slow movements.
    • This is either a Motor Tuning issue or a Calibration issue. Start with Motor Tuning and if it doesn’t resolve the issue, move to Calibration
  3. When you are using the Movi in aggressive shooting situations or panning quickly. 
    • This is likely a Motor Tuning issue.

Balance – Basic physical roll/horizon 

The Movi needs to be balanced as well as you can get it to start the tuning process effectively. This means if you set it down, with it powered off (or the motors paused), it doesn’t flop in any direction when you let go of/release the phone. Note: the physical/visual center of the phone will not be centered in the Movi clamp when it’s balanced (because the internal weight distribution is not even from the top to the bottom of the phone).

Video Example

Another thing to check, when troubleshooting balance is to make sure that your phone is clamped squarely in the Movi. 

Because the clamp opens to accommodate a variety of phones, it’s possible to clamp it down with the phone skewed in the Movi. In the Movi app, we included some reference marks on the sleeping screen that you can use to line up the phone with the marks on the clamp. 

  1. To see the sleeping screen, balance the Movi in the clamp, open the app and power on the Movi. 
  2. Then tap the power button on the Movi (do not press and hold, as that will power it off). 
  3. Now you can slide the graphic to the right, to align the white marks with the divots in the center of the clamp. To see this process in action, head over here.
  4. If the marks on the screen don’t line up with the top and bottom divots on the Movi clamp, you need to adjust the phone in the clamp. 

Motor Tuning – What is it?

Default motor output is set on the super conservative side for users with small phones and no accessories. But we made the tuning highly adjustable so if you have more or less equipment (or a bigger phone), you can just adjust the motor output.

Let’s tune it! 

When you have it balanced okay from left to right in the clamp, open up the Movi app and connect to the Movi:

  1. Make sure the motors are active on the Movi. 
  2. After you connect to the app, please reset the robot: Menu (upper left screen)>Robot>Main Settings>Reset Robot Settings
  3. Then in the settings>Robot>Main Settings>Tuning> Try Plus, first.
  4. Pick up the Movi. Move through some shot sequences (pans, etc) and see how it feels. If it feels squishy or you are losing your horizon, we can dial it in more with Custom Tuning.
  5. You’ll see Custom Tuning in the menu (just below the tuning presets). Tap the arrow next to it to get into the menu:
    1. Set the Autotune slider to 30
  6. Set the Movi down on a stable surface (like a table), and tap the arrow next to Autotune Start (right side of the screen)
  7. It will make some noise and dance around a bit (this is normal and intentional, and will not hurt your phone or the Movi).
  8. After it finishes, pick up the Movi again and move it around, see how it feels.
    • Still squishy? Change the value incrementally to increase output to optimum: Set to 31, run autotune, test. Set to 32, run autotune, test, etc, until it feels good as you move it around.
    • Is it vibrating when you set it down, or when you move to the ends of the motor range (usually at the end of a sweeping move)? Do the opposite of the above – Reduce to 29-run autotune-test, etc.

Calibration – Using Roll Trim 

If your phone is balanced in the Movi and you have tuned the motors so that it doesn’t feel squishy as you move it around, but you still feel like the horizon is crooked, we need to check the calibration of the roll motor. 

Dial in your settings

There are some settings we need to adjust so that we can use the Movi to help us adjust the calibration. 

  1. Open the app on your phone and power the Movi on.
  2. Navigate back to the main capture screen and adjust the following settings by tapping through the options (if you don’t see these options, you need to enable Ninja Mode in the mode menu in the bottom left corner of the app):
    • Response: Fast
    • Window: No orange bars (smallest possible window)
    • Tilt should be unlocked, but keep roll locked
  3. Set Movi on a table or other flat surface and rotate it such that one side of the display lines up with a vertical object/line  near you. This could be a door jamb, corner of the room, window frame, etc.
  4. The edge of your frame (check both sides of your frame), as seen through the phone, should align (parallel) with the vertical line in your environment.
    • If both sides of the frame are aligned with the vertical elements in your room: you should not adjust your roll trim. But if you have issues where you are moving and the vertical elements in your shot are angled, you just need to adjust tuning more (increase values), or you may be operating beyond the speed capacity of the Movi. 
    • If your frame is out of alignment with the vertical elements in your room, you’ll need to adjust the Roll Trim on the Movi. 

Roll Trim

There is a Roll Trim tool in the settings section of the Movi app:

  1. Navigate to the roll trim menu (Settings > Robot > Main > Roll Trim).
  2. You’ll see an option for both Landscape and Vertical orientation, because you calibrate them separately. Start with Landscape because that’s what we’ve been talking about.
  3. Tap the + or – buttons of the orientation you are wanting to adjust until the top of the phone clamp is level. Then switch back to the camera to double check how the video looks, compared to vertical lines in your scene. Adjust as necessary.

Worth noting:

  • This roll trim affects all applicable methods of operation, but only when Roll is locked.
  • If you reset your Robot Settings in the future, it will default your roll trim adjustments to default as well (0).

Still need help? Get in touch with our support team.

Contact Us