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Hey Kickstarter! You may remember us as the guys who launched pixelstick a few years back. After the overwhelmingly positive response pixelstick received from the photography community, we were motivated to get right back to work on something new, and we're proud to introduce it today.
Meet colorspike, an animation-driven photo/video light that feels right at home in any shooter’s kit.
Just announced: we have added high CRI white LEDs to colorspike! With this upgrade colorspike becomes the ultimate do-it-all light - from clean white portrait light to complex multi-color effects! Read the announcement here.
As photographers who became designers, our product ideas typically come from personal need, and colorspike is no exception. What we needed was a creative light that was:
1. Able to dial in a ton of interesting effects
2. Great for both video and stills, in-studio and on-location
4. Able to be linked together into an easily controlled multi-point lighting system
5. Bright enough to be useful
While we found a few tools that fulfilled some of these requirements, we couldn't find anything that did all of it (or even most of it) particularly well. And thus, the idea for Colorspike was born.
We've spent the last 2 years pouring our heart and soul into it. We think we've come up with something pretty great - we hope you do too.
Everything you see in this campaign was shot using Colorspike and the companion app.
Colorspike is a video shooter's secret weapon. Use the app to create bespoke visual effects that help realize your vision and drive narrative. Whether you need to simply try a variety of different color washes on a scene, dial in some deliberate off-camera effects, or even use it as a practical lighting source, Colorspike is up to the task.
Colorspike isn’t only for video. As a still shooter, Colorspike simplifies your workflow, helping you get more looks in less time and freeing you to focus on the creative process.
To demonstrate this, we partnered with New York-based Photographer Audie Sumaray to put Colorspike through its paces in a series of studio and on-location shoots.
Audie came to our Brooklyn workspace and with the help of Madeleine Keating (and Colorspike) had a 3-point lighting system set up in no time. While we hung back and took some video of the process, Audie was able to use Colorspikes in tandem with the App to quickly run Madeleine through a ton of different looks with minimal scut work. The results speak for themselves:
Audie also took a couple Colorspikes with him and set up separate shoots with two other models, getting some likewise compelling shots on location in their apartments.
While we designed colorspike to be fully usable without pairing to a mobile device, our feature-packed companion app is the key to unlocking all of colorspike's functionality. From managing your collection of patterns, to tweaking and creating new ones, to controlling multiple units simultaneously, the app takes colorspike to a whole new level.
The App deals primarily with pattern creation and management, allowing you to sync them back and forth between colorspike, edit their look and feel, and create new ones from scratch. Additional functionality includes device management, including the ability to connect to and control multiple colorspikes wirelessly.
The App allows you to create fresh patterns from scratch, but also gives you the ability to tweak existing patterns. A police siren can easily become an emergency light with a small change to the palette and animation speed. Add randomness to a basic white strobe and you’ll get an organic thunder and lightning effect. Most patterns are only a few small adjustments from being completely different and equally compelling lighting effects.
We're still busy developing more features for the app, but everything in this campaign was shot using fully working Colorspikes and a functional, full-featured version of the app, not prototype or proof-of-concept software. The hard work here is already complete.
The app will be availble at launch for all Bluetooth LE-enabled iOS and Android devices, and will always be free.
We designed Colorspike to be professional grade. The rugged anodized aluminum body protects the internals while dissipating heat silently without need of a fan. The bar form factor is perfect for going handheld while the dual side channels make mounting colorspike to a stand (or anything else) a breeze.
The ultra-bright, flicker-free LEDs are capable of displaying millions of colors and are packed tightly into a single row to reduce shadowing and produce clean lines when light shaping. This was a big sticking point for us - too often LED lights produce strange multiple shadows and fringing.
Colorspike runs from the included DC adapter, or from the internal battery when you’re on the go. This is handy for those times when you simply don’t have access to an electrical outlet. A lot of our outdoor shoots wouldn’t have been possible without the ability to unplug colorspike and keep working. Battery runtime will vary greatly based on the brightness and LED usage, but even at extreme cases should provide better than 45 minutes of continuous light.
Run-and-Gun shooters don't always have the time or the extra hands to grab their phone and use it to control a light, so we designed colorspike to have access to a variety of important features even when not connected to a mobile device.
Before going on set or location, sync the patterns you'll need over to colorspike’s internal storage. Later, you can select your pattern, adjust brightness and speed, and even dial in any of millions of solid colors for on-the-fly creation, right from the onboard interface.
Bitbanger is still just two people, as it always has been. Friends of over 20 years, we started Bitbanger together in 2012 with nothing more than a seed of an idea and the desire to make things that we would want to use.
We feel extremely fortunate that pixelstick was received so warmly by photographers. It's been rewarding to see the community grow around it, and its success has allowed us to continue pushing on new projects.
Because of the massive up-front costs involved in bringing a product to market, a cool (but niche) product like pixelstick could simply never have happened without the support of the Kickstarter community. We are in the same boat with colorspike. We have front-loaded as much time and investment into the project as we possibly can, bringing it to Kickstarter only when the next steps would be impossible without your help. We have to purchase tools, parts, and materials to make colorspike a reality, and to do that, we need you! We hope you'll consider supporting us as we continue to pursue big ideas.
Music: Makeup and Vanity Set
Additional Photography: Audie Sumaray
Studio Modeling: Madeleine Keating
Location Modeling: Liz
Location Modeling: Francesca
Risks and challenges
Our previous kickstarter, Pixelstick, was by every conceivable metric a success. We reached our funding goal in less than a week, kept our backers well informed throughout the process, and shipped within a reasonable timeframe to a lot of happy backers.
Behind the scenes, it wasn't quite that simple. Like many Kickstarter campaigns, we launched with a functional proof of concept and some good ideas on where to head next after funding. We encountered myriad challenges post-funding both in the physical design and software development. While we solved each issue with mercifully little impact to the timeline, We weren't thrilled about the number of variables and unanswered questions going into the post-funding stage of such a popular project.
We took a different approach with Colorspike. We resolved that we wouldn't launch the Kickstarter until we had answered all outstanding questions regarding design and implementation.
We won't pretend there aren't risks - countless things can go wrong with any design, and scaling to mass production presents its own unique set of obstacles. But we're proud to say that we resisted launching this project prematurely so that we could tackle the majority of these types of challenges prior to announcing colorspike.
The remaining potential challenges are standard fare for any mass production endeavor: parts shortages, poor QC necessitating re-runs, customs issues, freight delays, and the like.
We've dealt with all of this before and we are confident that we can do so again.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (45 days)