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M1 volt vs Betz wave


Dani Dagher
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i'm going to look at the m1 volt at NAB but i do own a "wave" and it works wonderful a majority of the time, but i do also use it on my two axis remote heads to create that third axis which is a bonus and there's other applications you can use the "wave"(hand held,the betz twister,easy rig or on your dolly) and this is where you can't use the m1 volt

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I've been holding off on saying much, as I know many who've gone the Volt route who I don't want to discourage, but I've had a very different experience than many with the Volt and the Wave. My experience with the Volt was that while it did offer some immediate advantages over the Wave (like its size and weight, and also the added bonus of having a rig that is neutrally balanced and thus can be moved around without any pendulum effects), it significantly changed my operating, and not for the better. I do a lot of tilting in my operating (something I wasn't aware of until I switched to the Volt), and the M1V electronics altered the way tilt felt, which required a lot of retraining, and additionally, I always saw a little pan wobble at the beginning and ends of tilts, no matter how much I turned the tilt strength down. There was also the issue (that I'm hoping eventually gets fixed) of the M1V tilting on a diagonal, and not in a straight vertical line, amongst a few other things that I found over my year and a half with the device.

The work I did with the Volt was simply not as clean or good as the work I could do with the Wave, so I have since moved back to the Wave and sold my Volt. I urge each operator who is moving towards any augmented stabilization technology to try using both (and make sure they are both set up correctly, as many do not balance the Wave correctly), and see what they prefer, and most importantly, to analyze the footage critically.

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I'm going to add to Tom's comment about Wave set up.  You need to set your preferences for when and how forcefully the Wave kicks in as you tilt.  This is not a daily setup, rather a one time thing.  I set mine up with the help of Tom and Larry McConkey and have never needed to redo it.  As for balancing within the Wave, I use an XCS side-to-side plate (pictured here) to raise the CG of the camera and to balance side-to-side.  Super quick and with a little thought on AKS placement, I usually don't even need to add the little weights Tom recommends (although I have them and keep them in the case).  

The Volt is a fascinating beast and I do believe may end up being the future of Steadicam, but I too had some issues with finessing tilts when I had a loaner for a week.  This combined with the fact that they don't have a 2" version of their gimbal or the ability to install it on an XCS gimbal are deal breakers for me.  I love the XCS post and gimbal.  The very design of the XCS sled is great for the Wave as the weight distribution puts all the weight at the bottom of the sled allowing one to use the Wave without a long post.  Its also worth noting that the Ultimate 2 is four pounds lighter than an M1 which also happens to be the weight of a Wave. 

 

LT2_main_photo.jpg

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Bear in mind we are constantly looking to make the feel of the Volt as aesthetic and transparent as possible. I now have a great Volt test rig here at my shop. Built on a beautiful Ultra sled.Working a healthy list of subtle but substantial improvements. Good news is all Volts can be upgraded. I want to make sure anything I release is rock solid and breaks no features you've come to depend on. Thanks. Steve Wagner

 

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And maybe said this before, but need to repeat: Volt is not A.I. it never tries to anticipate what it thinks you want to do in future nor does it try to react to something you did in past. Very simply put: as you move your sled in all possible motions:  Volt instantaneously transforms the physics of the actual rig into something not achievable in a passive rig: fast damped drop time for roll, easy to control long drop time for tilt, and no pendulum reaction to acceleration. with a few simple adjustments for all. Most importantly: once you set the knobs. the feel doesn't change. You and Volt cooperate. It simply becomes a learnable new class of passive Steadicam in your hands.

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I don't ever want Volt to change the feel of the sled in a 'Oops what just happened!' sort of way. so Volt as it acts/reacts should never surprise you, it may feel different from passive 'pure' sled the first few times as you push it around and learn its feel. But it will ALWAYS react same way given same operator input, My absolute basic philosophy for any and all upcoming improvements. I listen. Garrett Jerry H, Rey Reyes, and many great OPs

 

Steve Wagner

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On 5/27/2019 at 11:02 AM, Alec Jarnagin SOC said:

I'm going to add to Tom's comment about Wave set up.  You need to set your preferences for when and how forcefully the Wave kicks in as you tilt.  This is not a daily setup, rather a one time thing.  I set mine up with the help of Tom and Larry McConkey and have never needed to redo it.  As for balancing within the Wave, I use an XCS side-to-side plate (pictured here) to raise the CG of the camera and to balance side-to-side.  Super quick and with a little thought on AKS placement, I usually don't even need to add the little weights Tom recommends (although I have them and keep them in the case).  

The Volt is a fascinating beast and I do believe may end up being the future of Steadicam, but I too had some issues with finessing tilts when I had a loaner for a week.  This combined with the fact that they don't have a 2" version of their gimbal or the ability to install it on an XCS gimbal are deal breakers for me.  I love the XCS post and gimbal.  The very design of the XCS sled is great for the Wave as the weight distribution puts all the weight at the bottom of the sled allowing one to use the Wave without a long post.  Its also worth noting that the Ultimate 2 is four pounds lighter than an M1 which also happens to be the weight of a Wave. 

 

LT2_main_photo.jpg

Alec, doesn’t that plate raise the camera even higher? I find my post is already long enough to scrape batteries on the ground with most cameras. Currently using an Millenium XL and I didn’t even consider using the wave for the job. 

I can see the beauty of using that piece with a lighter camera for sure... great idea. 

 

Buzz

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Buzz, the plate was originally designed for the XCS sled which has no side to side trim on the top (for those who don't know, the fine trim is done on the bottom - this allows for an incredibly concrete and stable platform at the top to to the camera). Because there is no gearing up top, the camera platform is much lower profile (and lighter) than other sleds so the small height increase of this plate is trivial. Overall, even when using this plate, I find my XCS sled to be very short with any camera build as it was designed to have all the weight at the bottom.

As for using this plate in the Wave? Sadly, because of the way the Wave is designed, you have to raise the camera a little to get the CG higher and closer to the nodal point. Betz sells the Wave Rider for this, but it is way too big, heavy and tall. This plate is a good compromise. Furthermore, you need to balance the camera side to side in the Wave and this plate is the easiest way to do that.

I like the Wave very much for some applications, but I'd never put a 35mm camera or anything that heavy it it. These cameras have so much inertia anyway, I see much less need for using it.

 

 

 

 

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