Light Painting with the Pixelstick LED Lightpainting Tool
Once in a while a product will come out that looks so fun everyone wants to try it. I never knew I wanted to try light painting until I saw this video for the Pixelstick, and it took several tries before I could pry it out of the hands of my coworkers.
The Pixelstick LED Lightpainting Tool is an aluminum stick with 200 programmable led lights used for light painting in long exposures or time lapse. The user can choose between several programmed patterns or download original images onto a sd card and insert them directly into the pixel stick. There are some specific image requirements; the Pixelstick can read 24-bit BMP images, 200px in height, turned 90° counter-clockwise. If you don’t have photo editing software that can make these changes Pixelstick has provided an online link to drag and drop your own files to be quickly converted to the appropriate format.
There are menu adjustments on the stick for brightness and speed, which can be balanced with the environment and speed of the Pixelstick motion. If you are working by yourself you will want to use a wireless remote and of course, a tripod.
The Pixelstick isn’t exactly high powered, but I was able to use it as a light source for an interesting effect on my 1994 Geo Tracker.
I’m not sure what a “serious” application would be for the Pixelstick, so I basically started using it as a coloring tool…
…and a portal through time and space…
The Pixelstick is also really great for seamlessly adding images into a long exposure. For example, this image of Chuck Norris hanging out by the Mississippi River…realistic, no? Okay maybe I struggled a bit with that one, but it gave me a good laugh.
My only gripe about the Pixelstick is the build quality. It’s clear that this is a simple and cheaply made product. Multiple times during use I had to stop and tighten a knob here, or pick up a fallen piece there. The handle itself was not very secure which left me worried I would accidentally fling the whole stick into the air. This is not the type of product, though, that needs to take much abuse so it didn’t worry me too much.
- A really fun tool that opens up your creativity when shooting at night.
- Works as advertised, and once figured out, pretty easy to use.
- Build quality is subpar. The plastic body feels a little flimsy for the price.
- Expensive. At $350 to buy, the system feels cheaply made.
This is a tool that is fun to play with and can give cool effects for portraiture and timelapse. If you are looking for something to spice up your relationship with photography this will do it. Is it something I would purchase? Probably not, but I will definitely use it again in the future. If you want to try the Pixelstick out for yourself, it’s available for rental at our store for as low as $3 a day.
Author: Sarah McAlexander
I’m Sarah. I have a BFA in Photography from the University of Memphis. I’ve been shooting professionally for over 6 years. When I’m not working here or freelancing, I enjoy yoga and traveling.