February 26, 2014

Meet the Axis360: The Affordable Modular Motion Control System to Rule Them All

Axis360Here at No Film School, we talk quite a bit about the dizzying array of technical methods for creating camera movement (and even the reasons for moving your camera in the first place). In the past year alone, a seemingly absurd amount of camera movement products have hit the market, everything from brushless gimbal stabilizers to updated versions of sliders, shoulder rigs, and beyond. Sometimes these new products are unique tools that enhance our storytelling potential, and sometimes they're just more of the same. However, every now and again a product comes along that seems destined to change the way we move our cameras. The Axis360 Modular Motion Control System might just be one of those rare products.

Ever since the timelapse explosion of the late 2000's, motion control rigs have become the cream of the crop for "low-budget" camera movement. However, the best of these rigs have traditionally been prohibitively expensive, and the lower-end products are usually lacking in versatility, ease of use, and quality. The fine folks over at Cinetics (the company that brought us CineSkates) are looking to change all of that with their extremely versatile and affordable motion control system, Axis360.

As Kickstarter campaigns go, the Axis360 has received an incredible outpouring of support, raising more than its goal of $75,000 in its first day of funding alone. So without any further ado, here's the campaign video for the Axis360 from Cinetics.

The potential uses for the Axis360 are as varied as the amount of ways that the product can be set up. Obviously, one of the things that these products excel at is adding dynamic incremental camera movements to timelapse pieces, but the Axis360 seems to have an equally impressive adaptability to real-time video applications.

Need a perfect 360 degree pan with subtle ramping at the beginning and end of the move? No problem. Want to add a tilt into that move to create a dizzying POV shot of some sort (maybe your character is drunk)? Axis360 can handle it. You can even throw it onto a slider and combine all three of axes of movement to create seamless moves that would take a skilled operator and a good dolly grip to complete in a more traditional setting.

Another big selling point of the Axis360 is that it is just about as easy and intuitive to use as your could possibly want from a product with such a wide flexibility of movement. Here's a basic rundown of the menu system.

https://vimeo.com/86120856

Perhaps the best feature of the Axis360 is that it's completely modular. You can start yourself off with a basic kit (a very affordable $395 through Kickstarter) and piece together a fully functioning 3-axis system over time. Here's a breakdown of the various components of the Axis360 system and how they can be combined:

Axis360 Prices

For more information on the Axis360 Motion Control System, and to get in line to own your very own Axis360, head on over to the Kickstarter campaign.

What do you guys think of the Axis360? How do you think this product compares to the other motion control rigs on the market, both in terms of functionality and overall value? Let us know down in the comments!

Link: Axis360: Modular Motion Control For Cameras -- Kickstarter

Your Comment

45 Comments

This looks amazing.

February 26, 2014 at 1:32PM, Edited September 4, 11:45AM

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Angelo

Time to start planning my remake of the invisible skateboard section of "Yeah, Right"!

February 26, 2014 at 1:33PM, Edited September 4, 11:45AM

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Yeaaaah :D

February 27, 2014 at 1:47AM, Edited September 4, 11:45AM

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Durdle

I love the moment in Times Square where you see the Police pants just chilling there obviously questioning what's going on. It looks amazing though!

February 26, 2014 at 1:45PM, Edited September 4, 11:45AM

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Daniel Angeles

Seems like many of the innovative products released recently are mainly geared towards DSLRs. With so many people moving back to more traditional video cameras (FS700, C300, C100, etc…), it would be nice if they could accommodate larger, heavier cameras.

February 26, 2014 at 2:01PM, Edited September 4, 11:45AM

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Gene Sung

In their defense, when you have a product like GH4, the need to "go large" isn't as ... eh, big. And, besides, the overall trend is toward smaller electronic packages, be it cameras, computers, sensors or lenses. If/when Canon brings out its new Cinema series, it just may be portable enough to qualify as DSLR. Of course, personal preferences still rule.

February 26, 2014 at 2:51PM, Edited September 4, 11:45AM

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DLD

If People can afford these larger, heavier and more expensive cameras, they can afford more expensive versions of this rig. This rig is geared towards us who don't own c300s

February 27, 2014 at 4:55PM, Edited September 4, 11:45AM

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Bunmi

I was wondering if anyone new of and video tutorials that could show you the trade secrets that video editors use when cutting the video to the beat of the music? And, the names of the softwares and plugins? I am very interest in the purchase of such tutorials asap!

February 26, 2014 at 2:13PM, Edited September 4, 11:45AM

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GERALD

There are plugins for it, but it's easy to do manually. Just make your waveforms large and cut where the waveform spikes. That may be a bit oversimplified but that's the general idea. Or you can highlight the audio track in your NLE, play it through and tap the "marker" button to the beat, and then make sure your cuts are where the markers are.

February 26, 2014 at 3:26PM, Edited September 4, 11:45AM

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Birdman

February 26, 2014 at 4:01PM, Edited September 4, 11:45AM

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Saied

Seriously?

February 28, 2014 at 3:07AM, Edited September 4, 11:45AM

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Steve

"The biggest difference between amateur video and professional film is camera movement."

False.

February 26, 2014 at 2:14PM, Edited September 4, 11:45AM

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It's definitely one of the bigger differences, but proper lighting is probably the single biggest difference.

February 26, 2014 at 2:20PM, Edited September 4, 11:45AM

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Robert Hardy
Founder of Filmmaker's Process
4129

Looking at it broadly, I would say the biggest difference is "skill" which would include choosing the camera movement (or lack thereof) that supports the message or story...amongst a thousand other things. I hate the idea that a beginner would come here and walk away with the notion that a bunch of random unmotivated camera movement is going to make their work "professional", when what they really need is fundamentals and practice. Okay, end of rant. Nice looking product.

February 26, 2014 at 3:01PM, Edited September 4, 11:45AM

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I agree, to say the biggest difference for professional shoots is camera movement is misleading. There's also story, acting, costume, set design, location, lenses, grading, editing, sound, makeup, as already mentioned lighting amongst a host of others. And your right, movement should be motivated. I have yet to see anything that replaces the smoothness and grace of a real dolly, but this could be key for certain shots. If you struggle with purchasing a camera in filmmaking, then you are in for a rude awaking when faced with the actual cost of producing a film, it can get expensive quick.

Great product, just be careful with what you assert as "professional".

February 26, 2014 at 3:43PM, Edited September 4, 11:45AM

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Tony Sosa

Yall are right, there are many important factors in quality film. I guess our point was that bad camera movement can ruin an otherwise excellent shot. Thanks for checking out our project! Justin Jensen, Cinetics Founder

February 26, 2014 at 6:27PM, Edited September 4, 11:45AM

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Justin

Completely agree Jay, Content beats Quality always.

February 26, 2014 at 2:31PM, Edited September 4, 11:45AM

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Bradyn

The difference between an amateur filmmaker and a professional one is that one of then get pay.

Light, camera movement, content, everything can be used by anyone. I the fact is that you can find professional work that looks like SH***T. And amateur work that looks awesome.

For the love of HELIX, guys drop the ball. We all know that all of you are awesome.

February 26, 2014 at 7:41PM, Edited September 4, 11:45AM

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Edgar

The ability to 'speak' film language using all it's constituent grammar and vocabulary and then using it to say something important or resonant is what makes film good or not. There are many many more people these days able to use the equipment, so why are their not more great films made? For the same reason that despite everybody being able to write, not many are able to write poetry to a sublime standard. The internet is full of wonderful and meaningless timelapses, people are not interested by reproduced beauty (photocopying) they want meaning in it's ancient mythological form, the narrative. I spent a few years learning my craft, I spent many decades learning to tell a story.

February 28, 2014 at 3:16AM, Edited September 4, 11:45AM

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Steve

Amen, overcoming technical barrières is easy, overcoming creative ones is much harder.

February 28, 2014 at 1:45PM, Edited September 4, 11:45AM

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dats so fucking awesome

February 26, 2014 at 3:23PM, Edited September 4, 11:45AM

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How noisy it is when it's moving ?

February 26, 2014 at 3:48PM, Edited September 4, 11:45AM

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Steppers do make noise, so in video situations, you may limited it to non-dialog situations or use ADR techniques. Maybe some of the noise can be eliminated in post but I haven't experiment with that yet.

February 26, 2014 at 4:42PM, Edited September 4, 11:45AM

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Pat

I have their Cinemoco which looks to use the same parts more or less and its noisy no way you could shoot dialogue

February 26, 2014 at 8:14PM, Edited September 4, 11:45AM

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Lee

Wow! That thing is dirt cheap for what it's capable of. Looking forward to it making it to production.

February 26, 2014 at 4:10PM, Edited September 4, 11:45AM

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Looks to be quite similar to the Syrp Genie, that is geared towards time lapse and can also be attached to a slider. Though the modular build of this device does allow for pan, tilt and slide at the same time, which I guess would be hard to do with the Syrp Genie.

Interesting none the least!

February 26, 2014 at 4:16PM, Edited September 4, 11:45AM

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The Syrp Genie only consist of a single stepper motor which allows either panning or sliding. The strength this system is the length of the sliding motion which is determined by the length of the rope you choose. The Emotimo TB3 has 2 motors for panning and tilting with a aux port for a 3rd axis (sliding or follow focus depending on which you want) All computerized motions are repeatable. If you are handy, you can also construct a wheeled buggy or a rope system like the Syrp Genie. The Axis 360 system is modular, so you add an axis as you can afford it. It also has repeatable computerized motion. And I would think you can also modify it as the Emotimo system with a buggy or rope system.

February 26, 2014 at 4:38PM, Edited September 4, 11:45AM

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Pat

Oops, forgot to add that the Emotimo TB3 is wireless.

February 26, 2014 at 5:01PM, Edited September 4, 11:45AM

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Pat

You can already do this with the emotimo tb3. In addition, you can do repeatable computer controlled passes to built up composited scenes for special effects. I brought one a few months ago and just finished adding a 6ft 3rd axis slider to it, I love it. But I do like the modular idea of the axis360.
Check out their website http://emotimo.com/

February 26, 2014 at 4:28PM, Edited September 4, 11:45AM

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Pat

I like the feet of the cops clearly visible at the beginning of the video. "What in the hell is this thing?"

February 26, 2014 at 4:57PM, Edited September 4, 11:45AM

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zack

"Tripods are not allowed in Times Square. Take this out of here now." - Police officer
"It has four legs." - me :)

February 26, 2014 at 6:32PM, Edited September 4, 11:45AM

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Justin

I think I'm still leaning toward the Edelkrone slider and motion control setup especially now that their pro slider was released. Would like a third point of movement though. Thoughts?

February 26, 2014 at 5:23PM, Edited September 4, 11:45AM

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Ian Mora

I'm not sure if the Edelkrone slider can do timelapse photography, it doesn't appear to from their literature. Also can't do tilting or 3pt movements or ramping.

February 26, 2014 at 9:39PM, Edited September 4, 11:45AM

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Pat

Hmm, I just noticed that the unit can get kinda big when you want to pan and tilt at the same time or pan, tilt and slide at the same time.

February 26, 2014 at 5:26PM, Edited September 4, 11:45AM

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Pat

2 things:

1) belt driven moco will always have undesired movement

2) it would be nice to see an app based control option for these types of units

February 27, 2014 at 9:03AM, Edited September 4, 11:45AM

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al

Why 3 separate controllers for slide, pan and tilt and not just one to control them all?

February 27, 2014 at 6:05PM, Edited September 4, 11:45AM

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Mattia

What's the difference between this and the Emotimo tb3?

March 1, 2014 at 11:07AM, Edited September 4, 11:45AM

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th3xer

@th3xer: Results. Check out what people have done with the eMotimo rigs http://vimeo.com/channels/375580

March 6, 2014 at 8:18PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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@Erica thanks for sharing the Emotimo user group. Please check out the Cinetics user group as well. People have done really cool things with our gear also ;)

https://vimeo.com/groups/cinetics

March 19, 2014 at 3:54PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Thanks for the question! Axis360 and TB3 are totally different products. Axis 360 does panning, tilting, and sliding moves. And it can be configured to do any combination of the three. The TB3 is a pan and tilt head. The kits are definitely apples and oranges. I can give some more info on Axis360 though. The Axis360 pan and tilt setup is capable of full 360 degree rotations in each direction. Axis360 uses a machined brass worm gear drive, so it moves smoothly and strongly and holds its position when it is not powered. And the entire Axis360 kit breaks down into a small package for travel. Hope this helps!

March 19, 2014 at 3:51PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Great question, Mattia. A controller for each motor enables the motors to be used individually, and for the power and motor driver for each motor to be located near each motor - this makes a cleaner setup with fewer cables. If you do want to control the system from one controller, you can link the controllers together with daisy chain cables. Thanks!

March 19, 2014 at 4:01PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Hi Al, why do you say belt drive will always have undesired movement? I think belt drives can move pretty wonderfully if built properly. We also make a motorized dolly that uses direct drive, CineMoco - http://cinetics.com/cinemoco-system/ The direct drive dolly enables arcing or linear moves on a flat surface and horizontal moves on the track. The belt drive slider, Axis360, moves vertically and any other linear direction. Thank you!

March 19, 2014 at 4:09PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Hi Pat, the Axis360 motors and controllers are designed to be quite small, but the kit does get bigger as you add additional motors. Regardless, I think the two axis and three axis Axis360 setups are smaller than most any motion control kit available. And the single axis kit, Axis360 Pro, is way compact! Thanks for the comment!

March 19, 2014 at 4:13PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Hi Pat, glad you like your gear. Sounds like a great kit! Axis360 can also do repeatable computer controlled passes to create composited scenes for special effects. This can be controlled on the Axis360, or through a computer running Dragonframe software (not included). Thanks!

March 19, 2014 at 4:17PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Thanks, David!!

March 19, 2014 at 4:19PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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