After my last photoshoot with a model I realized that it’d be pretty convenient to have an RGB lightstick for various scenes. Same could be accomplished with an off-camera flash plus color gels, but it seems that it’s simpler with a lightstick and using an off-camera flash has it’s other uses and nuances compared.
Additionally I also wanted to use the lightstick as a sort of mood light for parties with friends and maybe at home, so the LED strip should be addressable to support various effects just for that extra coolness :)
For just photography there are dozens of commercial products available, of course, if you are ready to pay 200+€ for something PRO which is as simple and I didn’t want to order cheap-o sticks from China either in fear that they would actually suck and be very basic.
Having that in mind, I set out to gather ideas how this could be done without spending too many hours on the software side. I figured that this should be a common project… however like I learned with the airsoft bomb project – common doesn’t mean usable. There were many projects related but all the code I found was so horrible that ultimately I wrote my own in a few months period.
I found a couple of examples how to approach this and found an awesome project called WLED which is just what I wanted.
This project idea was born from another project that we at makerspace did, as sometimes happens, when you make something to work temporarily, but later see how well it worked you realize it’d be cool to have a proper thing.
And this time it was when we were photographing Makerspace Hack’n’Tell transitional prizes.
Hack’n’Tell is an event we host every first Saturday of each month where anyone can come and present projects that they did. After presentations, everyone who came can vote for the best project and the winner gets a prize for a month (until next event) and in that time he can add something or modify the prize however he wants and at the end of the year the prizes become something really impressive :)
Anyway, we made a lightbox and began planning how could we photograph them in a way to show most of them. Since the prizes have something to look at on every angle, it’s pretty difficult to photograph it in such a way to show everything in a few photos. After a few tries one makerspace member remembered a project he did about ten years ago for a similar reason. It’s supposed to rotate an object 360 degrees with high precision and automatically take photos on every turn. It was perfect for this. We placed it inside our temporary lightbox and shot everything we needed.
Unfortunately, there isn’t any progress article of that rotator (named “Sukeklis v2” btw), but there are progress photos which can be seen below. It’s pretty nicely built and control is simple too – a few http commands to control and get info fully.