Light painting can be a fun and creative addition to any photography. Put simply, for those who aren’t aware of what light painting is, it is a method of utilizing the long exposure on a camera and a moving light source. The light will show up in the image just the way it was moved around. Usually the light source is a basic item like a flashlight. You are limited with the designs you can create using this standard method though. While it is still fun to see what you can create with flashlights, the team over at Bitbanger Labs launched a successful Kickstarter project and developed the Pixelstick. Lets just say the Pixelstick takes light painting to a whole new level! Beware, you will attract curious passerby’s with your fancy lights at night.
- Matte black anodized aluminum body
- 200 RGB LEDs for over 16 million colors
- Assembled length: 73″ (187 cm)
- Disassembled length in bag: 43″ (109 cm)
- Weight: 4lbs (1.8kg)
- Software controlled white balance, brightness, speed, orientation
- Compatible with SD and SDHC (32GB max)
- Supports 24-bit BMP
- Runs on 8x AA batteries (not included, rechargeable recommended)
- Includes: flat milky diffusion lens, removable handle, spin sleeve, 24cm DC power cable, 8xAA battery holder, cold shoe adapter, and instruction manual
The Pixelstick is very unique in that it’s one of the first of its kind to hit the market. Consisting of 200 RGB LED lights that run along a 73” long stick with a handle. Due to the length of the Pixelstick, it has to be assembled before use (understandable). This is a simple process that only requires you to attach one side of the stick to the other, screw the handle in and plug in the program box to the battery. They include a bag for easy transport and storage.
The software comes with pre-programmed designs for you to choose from, but the best part is that you can load any image you want onto an SD or SDHC card and the Pixelstick will display that image. You want your giant head light painted in an image? Go for it! The pixelstick website even has a conversion tool where you just drag and drop the image you want to use and it does all the work for you to transform it into the proper file compatible for use. We had some minor issues with the file being cut off when trying to use this tool though, so we just formatted it ourselves. For a better understanding of how the pixelstick works, the pros that developed it explain it best; “Each one of pixelstick’s 200 LEDs acts like a pixel on a screen, displaying your image one vertical line at a time as you walk. These vertical lines, when captured by a long exposure, combine to recreate your image in mid air, leaving pixelstick (and the person using it) invisible.”
Ease of Use
Once it is put together, it is simple to use. Just set your camera on a tripod and adjust your settings for long exposure, choose your image file on the pixlestick, open the shutter, walk or move with your pixelstick however you need, close your shutter and then, if needed, adjust any camera settings and/or pixelstick settings to get your desired look with the next attempt. It might sound complicated, but the hardest part is actually figuring the best movement to get your image looking exactly how you want it. If you are looking to do more intricate images that include people though, you will need a little assistance. We found it a little difficult to try and create portraits with people in them without having at least two people not including the subject.
Given the range of creative possibilities the Pixelstick can do, $350 is a decent deal. Sure you can do light painting with flashlights but you can’t light paint full images and graphics like the Pixelstick can do. Some may argue that they can just create the images in an editing software but for those who make it their goal to create the art in camera, this is a ‘must add to your gear’ item (in our opinion).
- Allows you freedom to use your own images.
- Includes a padded carrying case.
- It's large, but that just means you can create larger images! So really it's a good thing!