eMotimo spectrum ST4 +

Nodo Inertia Wheels

from the co-creator of Alpha Wheels

The Inertia Wheels

These are one of the coolest pieces of tech I have ever put my hands on. Having the mass of the wheels change while in your hands feels like a magic trick. The level of LIVE control is unreal and opens up new possibilities with the spectrum ST4.

Why Wheels?

If you know and use control wheels - move along as you know all of this already. If not, here's a quick introduction.

For camera positioning, it is one of the most accurate and repeatable ways to point a camera where you want it. The inertia, or rotational mass, of the wheels helps prevent unwanted motion from hand control. Once moving, the inertia prevents quick or unwanted speed changes.

With a good integration to a fast head, the wheels are also position accurate. This means that a position of the wheels is "tied" to a position of the camera. This means that you can "muscle memory" your way into a practiced camera position, even with your eyes close if needed. Muscle memory . . whatever do you mean?  Close your eyes, touch your nose . . .  easy as that.  Close your eyes, hit your mark . . . it's easy as that . . . with a bit of practice.

What's new about this set of wheels compared to what else is on the market?

1) Dialinable mass
We made that word up, but its basically setting the feeling of either light or very heavy wheels dynamically. No other set of wheels can do this. Typically you add mass plates or change from aluminum to brass depending on how you like to work. The Inertia Wheels use patent-pending motors in the hand wheels to change their weight instantly.

2) Adjustable speed
This is defined by ratios of how many turns of the wheels to a full 360 of the head in pan/tilt. The lower the ratio, the faster the head is. By having this easily adjustable, you enable incredible control for macro, or whip pan with the flick of your speed dial.  

3) Adjustable Drag
Other wheels have this, but typically its mechanical and physical drag attached to slow a wheel down. With inertia wheels, its dialinable and driven by electromagnets.

4) Flexibility in what it can talk to.
There are getting to be more brand specific wheels like DJI's set or Freefly's set. These manufacturers saw opportunity after Alpha Wheels were released, but of course want you to buy everything from them and lock you into controlling only their gimbals. Inertia Wheels works with Ronin, it works with MōVI, and works with eMotimo motion control. Other wheels might have some motion control integrations and capability, but our goal is to blow them all away.

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Hot Head Mode

The Inertia Wheels can be mounted on a tripod and run off batteries, the operator can be almost anywhere with the wireless link. In this mode, you have live pan/tilt control based on the two wheels. You dial in your speeds, mass, drag and get your feel going.

This is great for remote camera positions, on jibs, cranes, or any anywhere else you need to put a remote pan/tilt head with a 15lb payload.

With the spectrum ST4's 4 axis controller, you can even add Focus and Zoom motors to a geared cinema lens. All axis are controlled live with the Inertia Wheels.

Add in a slider

This is really where it gets powerful. Since the spectrum ST4 is a 4-axis motion controller, you can assign one of those knobs to a dolly move.

With speed control using the Left Knob you can dial in a slow or fast move that is adjustable on the fly. While the slider is traversing, you have live control of the rig.

Set your stops by pressing a button on the Inertia Wheels.

Once stops are assigned, you never worry about hitting the end of the track. You can even call looping mode, where the head will ping pong between the stops you set. Too fast, slow it down by adjusting with the knob. Too slow, same thing bump it up. Want to change direction mid run, wind the speed dial back the other way.

The wheels are always live and the head responds instantly to pan/tilt framing commands.  

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Watch our Early Results

Special thanks to Jesse Watson who helped us play with the wheels and gather this footage. He pulled out almost every lens in his arsenal and really pushed the gear to try new and creative things.

Position Accurate

With position control you can hit a mark repeatably based on wheel position. This makes the wheels feel like a traditional gear head where the wheels and camera are mechanically linked.

Slide isn't an afterthought

eMotimo is working hard to offer a level of live control for sliding shots. The speed of the slider is set and can be fluidly adjusted in live and looping modes. The workflow here is clean and effortless to play with a scene.  

Recordable / Playbackable

This feature is coming and will enable you to create a recording of a move and play it back exactly to a degree no gimbal can follow. This opens up compositing for lighting, and VFX for moves that feel tremendously organic.

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