The Invention of Holopainting

Every once and a while an art project comes along for which the scope and ambition alone are worth the time it takes to execute. Students at the University of Applied Science St. Pölten in Austria combined pixelstick with traditional Light Painting, Stop Motion and Hyperlapse to create some truly compelling 3D animations using a ring of 24 Canon 6Ds. The results speak for themselves:

To see more of Filmspektakel’s work, check out their website.

Mounts and Mountability

One of the often overlooked features of pixelstick is how well it lends itself to creative mounting. Since our very first prototype we’ve been bolting, clamping, and otherwise attaching pixelstick to as many things as we could to get the best, most interesting results possible.

light-1

You may recognize this shot from our original video. If you look closely, in some of the frames you can see someone standing under the arc of the rainbow, giving a sense of scale. We were able to get such a large and smooth rainbow by clamping pixelstick to the end of a 12′ painter’s pole and pivoting at the corner, where the wall meets the ground. We used it again in the below shot, which allowed us to get massively long and tall rainbow arcs that were easy to see even perched on a roof across the street.

light-2

Extending is just one technique. Whether by taking advantage of pixelstick’s 1/4-20″ Rear Channel or simply by using a superclamp, people all over the world are getting even more out of their pixelstick by sticking it on things.

To get razor straight images, Jersey Island’s own Dave Huelin put casters on a lightstand and clamped pixelstick to the front, for a smoothly rolling apparatus.
lightstand

13054984_10153329841951792_7120741438400071462_o
13063486_10153329842066792_3286435393199582676_o
13116225_10153329842976792_6653025784117605117_o

Achim Bossert went one step further and shot a full tutorial video for mounting pixelstick to some rubber wheels via the rear channel.

But the Pièce De Résistance of pixelstick mounting belongs to Chris Noelle and his team, who modified their pixelstick to mount on a factory robot, for some truly amazing results.

d5fd12_81c61dcbb2184d248cdd86545c7c0569
d5fd12_918de971946c4e40a8538f6354a49b6c
d5fd12_b7b2856d8c6c4fd98c217f9d1e838f06
d5fd12_024d1ec2a07a409caa4d4eed192d4e0c
robot

Chris and his team get full marks for both ambition and execution here. Mounting pixelstick to a precision-engineered robot designed for assembly lines is something even we never thought of doing with pixelstick. Check out the full story here. Amazing stuff, Chris!

Upon further reflection…

There are a few key differences between using pixelstick and trying to mimic the visuals in Photoshop or After Effects, and those differences account for much of the value in choosing to take the practical path.

  1. We are first and foremost shooters. Whether you shoot for fun or shoot for results, pixelstick keeps you behind the camera more and fiddling in software afterwards less.
  2. Instant feedback. Want to see how the shoot is going? Just walk to the back of the camera. You can see everything you’ve captured already. No need to wonder if you’ll be able to pull it off later in software.
  3. Most importantly, pixelstick allows you to interact with the shooting environment in a very real and compelling way.

One of the best examples of this real environmental interaction is reflections. Whether it’s the curving body of a car or the choppy surface of a lake, faking these kind of real reflections is extremely difficult to pull off convincingly. Far easier (and more rewarding) in our opinion is to let pixelstick do its thing, spilling beautiful, organic light all through your exposure.

 

New Image Packs: Fish and Animals

fishcontact

The warmer weather lured us out to shoot a few new image packs in Prospect Park last night. We decided we wanted to shoot some animal life, but thought that rather than go for hyper-realism, it might be more interesting to go for the type of vintage animal illustrations you might find in an old encyclopedia or on the wall of a bait and tackle. We think they turned out really well, and the shots below only scrape the surface. Head on over to the Image Packs section to grab the images. Load them onto and SD card, stick it in pixelstick, and get shooting!

IMG_9913

IMG_9917

IMG_9918

IMG_9922

IMG_9934

IMG_9941

Reblog: Colorkey Case Study

03-1272x716

(Note: the below was translated from the original German, a blog post from EyeLoveYou, a creative agency in Basel, Switzerland.)

The campaign to find the look for the Colourkey Leisure Card began with a close dialog with the target group: young people ages 14-25. Several workshops were set up to establish trends, needs, and preferences in young people in the Basel, Switzerland area.

DSC_0094-1024x680

DSC_0108-1024x680

With an understanding of the needs of the target group, we began to search for design trends that would fit the campaign. On Kickstarter.com we came across and invested in the development of pixelstick, the long exposure photography tool being made by Bitbanger Labs in Brooklyn. The project met its funding goal and we were among the first people in the world have a pixelstick in our hands.

pixelstick_tech-1024x768

Pixelstick consists of 200 full color LEDs, neatly arranged and attached to a 180cm long stick. The integrated controller can transfer images to the stick and play on the LEDs. By moving the pixelsstick in front of a camera taking a long exposure, you can now paint the image in the air. The technology allows practically anything that can be processed as an image to now be realized as light art.

In short, pixelstick is a luminous machine with plenty of room for creative experimentation.

10-1272x716

It was the perfect tool to implement the new identity for Colourkey. On one hand, a colorful and dynamic world is presented. On the other, pixelstick’s in-camera effect corresponded to the “realness” desired by the target group. Images that look assembled digitally, but are created in and interacting with the real environment. Armed with pixelstick, therefore, we made our excursions night after night, creating colorful bands through the city. Not everything was perfect – there was an element of practicing and trial and error required before we had something that was presentable on screen.

gross_oben-1272x716

In the end, it was all worth it. Working with pixelstick is a blast. For us, the investment in this new technology was worth it fourfold in these ways:

  1. By supporting a crowd funding project, we succeeded together with many others in this world, and helped realize the idea that pixelstick arrived as a market-ready product.
  2. Zeitgeist: The pixelstick provided the perfect basis for the imagery of our customers colourkey.
  3. In-house solution: With an interdisciplinary team consisting of design, creative, and photography, we were able to offer a complete package for the campaign to our customers.
  4. Trends: Finally, we were strengthened in our conviction with open eyes and ears to go through the world bo online and offline.

The campaign has been launched and can be seen in the Basel region, including billboards, online banners, and festivals.

Pixelstick meets SpiroJib

We’re always interested in the various ways people go about getting the most out of their equipment. Skilled lightpainter, tool-builder, and all-around pleasant guy John Griffin had his eye on designing a device to help him create spirograph-style images with a variety of light sources, and soon after building what he calls SpiroJib, he contacted us for some extra parts to help him mount his pixelstick to it. The results John was getting with SpiroJib were impressive enough already, but when combined with pixelstick they became truly awesome.

The SpiroJib is constructed from a gear and pedal system from a bike. With a simple modification John was able to mount his pixelstick to the rotating arm.

12654374_541153526053002_4897081168322956141_n 12670618_541153519386336_6804274913772719200_n

instructions

Once mounted, he was able to shoot these really excellent images:

12654187_541153632719658_3522400898351348015_n 12507208_531569377011417_5279510289973456807_n 12662488_541153666052988_2645051167721317291_n 10599217_531569417011413_1020027112226507437_n 12647429_541153659386322_1833664780204165665_n 12631300_541153616052993_8276278766951708404_n 12565429_541153566052998_8490453721927911292_n 12592419_541153586052996_2833297147270365549_n 12645191_541153619386326_9172987229900013066_n 12509146_531569407011414_2074076892613992440_n 993864_531569373678084_8267598988755384991_n 1933911_531569370344751_5850998893607245877_n 10402565_531569367011418_445522797610783152_n

 

Want your own SpiroJib to go with your pixelstick? Well, good news – John very kindly released instructions for creating one.

 

Achieving photorealistic effects in-camera with pixelstick

Pixelstick is a versatile tool that can serve many roles in a shooter’s setup, but one of the things that truly sets it apart from other photo lights is its ability to read and display photorealistic images into a long exposure. To achieve all the brilliant reflection and spill of a normal in-camera light with the added benefit of that light taking any form you wish is a useful option to have in your kit. (…more)

Animating with Pixelstick #1

Animating with pixelstick is both fun and rewarding, and there are a million ways to do it. Over the next few weeks we’ll visit some of the most common methods and walk you through how we ourselves do them. This time around we’ll be exploring how to animate a single image in place – basically an attempt to get a similar shot multiple times and stitch it into a delightfully wiggly short timelapse. The entire tutorial is encapsulated in the video below but we break it out step by step afterwards if that’s your preferred learning method. Enjoy!

(…more)