The Pixelstick

A few days ago, I joined a group of enthusiastic photographers at the Port Perry waterfront to try out a new device.  It’s called “The Pixelstick“.  It’s a device that takes light painting to the next level.  It uses a long wand-like structure attached to a digital memory to essentially scroll bands of light or fully formed images across space as you move it.

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The images are stored as .bmp files inside the device.  A person then carries the wand-like structure and moves it up and down while crossing the plane of the photographer’s camera.  This is typically done at dusk or at night.  The photographer uses bulb exposures and a stopped-down lens to capture the “painted” result.

The movements can occur on a flat surface, or up and down the stairs of a building or around objects.  To ensure the resulting image is in focus, photographers can first focus manually on the person carrying the device and then that person doesn’t move too far forwards or backwards out of the plane of focus of the lens.  Stopping down the lens to an opening as small as possible expands the depth of field and thereby, the possible range of movements.

The human eye sees nothing more than a 6 foot flashing, moving, single band of light, which in itself looks pretty.  And stopping down the lens at night seems counter-intuitive.  But, with the bright LED’s of the wand, the camera sensor is exposed with plenty of light to create some compelling images.

The inventors of The Pixelstick, Bitbanger Labs, used Kickstarter funding to launch the product and it has been an incredible success.  For more information, check out the product overview at Pixelstick Specs.

It was a blast to see this in action.  The anticipation of seeing what would come up on the camera screen was part of the fun.

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