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Review: eMotimo Cart

At less than $400, the eMotimo Cart is like a rails system with its own wheels and power that does not have to be tethered to a specific place, or used in conjunction with a tripod, that lets you determine the motion path and arc of your shot.


Let's look at the Cart's performance and functionality. To start using the unit, begin by connecting the power cable (Figure 5, below). Then you've got a cable connecting to the motor on the cart. That uses the aux step motor port on the TB3.

Figure 5. Connecting to the motor. Click the image to see it at full size.

Once everything is powered on and hooked up, if you're going to be doing a timelapse where you want the box to control the camera, you'll use a camera cable that will plug into another port and go into your camera's shutter cable port. If you're just going to shoot some real-time video, you don't need to plug anything into the camera from the TB3 because it's just going to move the camera.

Controlling the Cart

Once the Cart is powered on and connected to your controller, you simply advance to the second screen (Figure 6, below), and then you're ready to set your first point of motion.

Figure 6. Control the Cart’s motion using the menu screens on the TB3. Click the image to see it at full size.

You can then control the cart's position, taking care not to run over any cords if you're using AC power. Your tilt and pan are controlled with the joystick on top (Figure 7, below). Make sure the nut is locked good and tight.

Figure 7. Controlling the tilt and pan. Click the image to see it at full size.

Once you've chosen all your pans, tilts, and Point A-to-Point B (and more points as desired) movement, all you have to do is finish is to go through the other settings, including the ramping that you want it to do, the easing in and easing out. Then you tell it to run the program.

Smooth Shooting

The Cart is not a perfect solution for every project. You can't take it everywhere or shoot with it everywhere. You're limited by the wheels that have to be on the ground. Even if you're on an asphalt driveway, there are going to be too many bumps and ridges to shoot smoothly.

If you're planning to use it on an imperfect surface, you can expect to have to do some stabilization in post. If you have a nice, smooth, concrete surface like I have on my porch (Figure 8, below), or like many of you have in your studios, you'll be fine. However, if I were shooting on my porch and I moved the cart just a few feet behind me onto my porch’s wooden slats, I'd be out of luck, unless I ran the Cart in the direction of the slats so it wasn’t going over the bumps between the boards.

Figure 8. My porch provides the nice, smooth surface required to get perfectly smooth shots with the eMotimo Cart.

The bottom line is this: At less than $400, the Cart can make a good addition to your camera gear whether you already have a TB3 or not, but there are going to be a lot of instances where you'll really just want a set of rails or a dolly instead of something that has to go on the ground.


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