Disappointed: noisy, slow, some aspects poorly constructed

edited November 2014 in Axis360
After seeing Red Rock's "One Man Crew," which was limited in that you needed to always have placement of the slider 6 feet from the subject, I was happy to find the Axis360. I found the online videos and loved the possibilities presented, so I purchased the main device, two slider extenders, two extra controllers for Pan and Tilt and two belts for the mid-size and longer lengths. Everything was delivered two days ago on a rush since I wanted to use this for a simple interview shoot yesterday. I checked it out immediately to be sure I knew how it worked so as to save time on the shoot. However, the main device didn't operate at all, and appeared to have been used and returned, based on the condition of the box and the some of the interior packaging. Fortunately, I easily swapped out the motor with one of the other two. The first problem was that the little phone jacks that are used to connect the controllers to their respective motors are incredibly tight and extremely difficult to insert and remove. No phone jack works like that. I'm guessing it's simply an inferior vendor who was used to source those items. Second thing I noticed was the odd snap connections where the controller is attached to the motor. They seem easy to dislodge and don't inspire confidence. Similar ball connections, where a plastic thumb-screw is tightened down are also flimsy, and the whole thing falls apart when the thumb screw is loosened, rather than having a solid connection around the ball device. I WAS pleased to see the batteries on all the controllers fully charged. That was a plus. Yet when I finally turned on the motor, the sound was loud and would not be at all acceptable for any shoot whatsoever. And this was only the slider motor. Using the pan and the tilt motors would increase the sound three-fold. I really wanted this to work - so I thought perhaps it's usable as an MOS device. Yet the slowness of the slider (even slower than represented in the description) makes this not possible. Granted, I'm only spending $2k instead of $8K or much more for a similar device, but if it doesn't do what I need, what use is it? I think this was a great idea that needs a lot of work. It's so close to being good. But, unless I'm seriously overlooking something, I think I need to return this. I welcome any thoughts to change my mind.


  • Im going to have to agree, that for use during a video shoot... too loud for any practical use. Either the Dynamic Perception Stage R or one of the EXPENSIVE as all get out units from Kessler. Not sure if using Servos would be quieter or if it is just the plain - non insulated steppers that curse anything with a need for video slider ping ping during an interview... just don't see it happening unless shooting from from another room thru glass :(

  • Hi dgadirector,

    Thanks for posting your concerns and giving us a chance to address them.

    Motor sound - The motors do make sound. We do not recommend recording on camera audio when using Axis360. Boom and lavalier mics can be used successfully in interview or other scenarios to avoid recording motor sound, but this takes careful audio work. Here is a video that demonstrates the motor sound: www.youtube.com/watch?v=lc6f2JmRSY4

    Motor speed - The motors go up to 2.4 cm/s or 110 deg/s. Max speed is set by setting speed in the MTR menu to high, and the speed on the home screen to 100%.

    Construction - We put great effort into building high quality products, so this feedback is surprising and helpful. We can certainly get the problem with your motor resolved. The quick connects on the motor controllers are meant to enable ease of use. A fastened connection would be stronger, but could take away from setup time. The ballmount is small and convenient also, keep in mind most any other motion control kit does not include a tripod head. Sorry to hear about your difficulties with the motor plugs, that is actually the first I've heard of an issue there. I'll look into that.

    I hope that clears up any confusion.

    Justin Jensen
  • Thank you for your reply, Justin.

    Among my other work, I shoot a lot of celebrity interviews (quiet sound stage, hotel suite, etc). Even with a boom or lav you're going to hear those motors. It's not something subtle that would only occur when using an on-board cam mic. This is much louder than the sound of central air conditioning or other devices which are normally turned off during a shoot. Granted, unless it's ramping up or down, the sound is steady and there might be "some" ability to mitigate the noise using filters in post, but not eliminate it.

    The YouTube link you provided does give a good example of the sound. Even with the winds howling in that first shot you can still hear it. The scratchy old-time audio of the phonograph seems to mute it to a good extent, but I really don't want to lay down audio to cover a "whine."

    ALL of the phone-style connectors are tough to remove. They're so small I was concerned about pulling out the wire since just grabbing and lifting up on the little, plastic locking flap is difficult. Oddly, insertion isn't a problem. Perhaps those were in a bad batch if you haven't experienced that.

    I had no concern about the bad unit - I did feel confident it would be replaced. I didn't need all three units for the shoot - only two - so it wouldn't have posed a problem if the sound was workable.

    I haven't looked around at other motion control devices, so I can't speak to what they do or don't offer. But a tripod head isn't why I was attracted to the Axis360. ;-)
  • I have to agree with the point about the telephone jack connection. It requires a pair of needle nose pliers in my bag because I fear I might dislodge one of the cables if I am forced to tug too hard. I too am disappointed in mine.
  • Very sorry about the trouble with the motor jack. We've addressed the issue and adjusted our manufacturing process. Thank you for your feedback. If you do break a cable, we will fix it under warranty.
  • I have the same problem with the telephone connectors. Extremely difficult to disconnect. Need pliers to do that. And when using pliers I'm afraid to crush the connector.

    It would be also useful to be able to disconnect that cable from the motor rather than have it permanently attached.

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