As well as showing off the Axibo PT4 motion control pan-tilt head and slider, the company was also exhibiting their upcoming E-Jib Mini. Well, technically, they were exhibiting a prototype, hoping to get feedback from visitors at the show to finalise some details and get it prepared for final readiness to go on sale. The E-Jib Mini is a low-cost alternative to the massively expensive motion control robot systems on the market.
It works in conjunction with the PT4 in order to provide a full six axes of movement for your camera when working with virtual productions. But it also allows all of the usual motion control capabilities, too, such as repeat movements and timelapse. There is a page with some basic info on the Axibo website, but we had a chat with Axibo CEO Anoop Gadhrri at NAB 2023 to learn more.
The one problem you have with most robot arms marketed for use with cameras is that they weren’t really designed for use with cameras. They’re essentially industrial robot arms used in factories to automate production. They’ve been modified and retrofitted to also work with cameras, but it’s not what they were originally designed for. As industrial robots designed for manufacturing, they’re extremely expensive, and cost-prohibitive for many filmmakers.
The Axibo E-Jib Mini, on the other hand, was designed from the ground up specifically for working with cameras. This means that it can be cut back right to the essentials needed for smoothly moving a camera without all of the extra features industrial manufacturing requires. That, in turn, also means that they’re able to bring the costs right down. To less than a tenth of their current counterparts.
Its reduced size compared to traditional robot arms used for cameras also means that it’s a lot more portable. Massive industrial robot arms need a truck to move them from one location to another. The Axibo E-Jib Mini can be parked on a video tripod. Sure, it has to be a pretty heavy-duty video tripod, capable of holding a decent amount of weight, but a video tripod none-the-less. So, it’s able to be packed up, thrown into the back of your car and driven wherever you need it to go.
Unlike industrial robot arms, the E-Jib Mini is able to be operated very easily. You don’t need a specialist operator to control it. Anybody will be able to control this. The company plans to implement a simulator into the software, allowing you to see all of your moves before they actually happen. It’ll also be what’s known as a collaborative robot. Here, you’ll be able to physically grab the head and move it into the start and end positions (and any in-between positions) you want and the software will capture those positions and play them back at will.
Price and availability
The E-Jib Mini is still very much in the prototype stages and the company is requesting feedback to find out what you want and need it to do. But the company hopes to start shipping units by August 2023, which is only three months away. So, it seems like much of it is already pretty locked in. As far as a price, the target price point is under $7,000, but we’ll see how that pans out on final release.
We’ll keep you posted as we hear more.