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M1 volt vs Betz wave

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I for one am very happy that Steve has taken the time to address the forum about the Volt technology but if anyone wants to hear from an operator who has owned just about every rig out there and most of the tech we have available instead of one of the guys who invented it, here goes.

I have said for years that Steve’s level sensor was the outright best sensor out there and I feel I can say that because I have owned or used them all at some point.  The Wagner level sensor was truly immune to inertia so you could flat whip pan it for days without it moving a muscle.  Roll the rig out of level and it reacted instantly, as in real time, no lag and precise.  I proved this multiple times in videos which I believe at some point I posted here.  I can’t remember.  My only complaint was that the display was a separate unit and couldn’t be put into the video signal.

Well, this is the same (better actually) tech that is at the heart of the Volt system.

I have owned both a Betz Wave 1 and now the M1 Volt system which I have had for nearly a year now.

The Wave 1 no matter how perfectly the camera was balanced always had a bit of its own inertia to deal with which was especially noticeable during lock offs.  It placed all its additional weight and height above the gimbal as well.  It could also be fooled during aggressive whip pans.  Even the very best operators can’t get around this.  The great Larry McConkey has done some absolutely stunning shots with the Wave 1 when it comes to his operating (framing choices, movement, etc) but if you watch closely, you can clearly see the Wave 1 playing catch up with his whip pans when it comes to keeping level.  I have seen Larry do better whip pan level on his own without any tech help so I know it isn’t him.  I do however think that the Wave 1 is great for handheld or variations of that with a pivoting cage like the Twister or even just plain old on the shoulder handheld.


The Volt requires only a little rethinking in how you balance the rig and operate (mostly about settings) but after that short learning curve, operating is operating and you do what you have always done.  Remember, this system is still in its infancy as well and can only get better, especially when people like Steve are here actively welcoming input and feedback from us.

I have not experienced the bugs that others have spoken about.  It doesn’t mean they don’t exist.  It just means that any number of things could be at the root of it.  I can’t say.  I only know that as I use it more, it becomes more natural to me and I am still tweaking my settings for the right feel on each shot but that isn’t much different than tweaking drop time.

Of all the tech I have owned or used, the Volt feels the most like regular operating without the artificial feel that some other things introduce like gimbals which only react to your movements.  The Volt seems to be the least reactionary of any tech aid including the Wave 1 (owned it), AR (owned it), Ronin2 in two axis mode (own it), Letus Double Helix in single or double axis mode (own it), Arri Trinity (tried it: promising but has some quirks and is heavy for everyday operating).

I will be getting the M2 Volt soon as well.  That’s how much i like the system.

Is it perfect?  Nothing truly is.

I wish there didn’t have to be a cable connecting the topstage to the gimbal.  This does affect your pan inertia no matter how soft and flexible the cable is.  I wish the motors and belts were not exposed.  I wish the pan encoder sensor cable were not a thin Hirose cable (I hate Hirose connectors) because I see this as an area for problems.

I also notice that the Volt does such a good job in the wind that the only axis left for the wind to affect is pan which is still completely free from stabilization.  If you have a very broadsided camera and mattebox package, the wind will attempt to pan the camera against your wishes so if the wind speeds are high, I still like a bit of four by double help from the grips (I was hoping I would never have to ask for that again).

Also, if desired you can remove the motor belts and use the rig as normal.  I don’t advise leaving the belts on as they do induce drag to each axis.

I could go on but I won’t.

The Volt system like all Tech aids should not be considered a cure all for bad operating.  It isnt.  Personally I can’t wait for my M2 Volt to be ready and what the future holds for this technology.

Thank you Steve and everyone else who had design input into the Volt system.

The best advice to take away is that you have to try them yourself for some time.  They are different tools and since every operator is a snowflake, some will love the Wave 1 and others will love the Volt.  I think it’s great to have choices.

My two cents.


Grayson Grant Austin, SOC

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  • 2 weeks later...

Hey all,

2 Volt questions:

1.  Any news if a 2" XCS post compatible Volt is in the works from Tiffen?

2.  What is the price of the Volt gimbal?

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everything I keep hearing is that it's a No from tiffen because it's a rebuild for the gimbal handle, etc. Which is interesting because isn't the volt gimbal handle actually a wider diameter than the xcs post? I don't imagine that Greg Bubb would be building something off of their design. I've been curious about all this as well because rite before it was released I had doubled down on more than a few xcs posts.


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  • 7 months later...

Love the Wave have not tried the Volt as there are none here yet.I use normal plates and just balance camera with accessories on a rod .So nice not to freak out abot horizon specially at very linear locations.

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