This project's funding goal was not reached on March 28, 2014.
About this project
Hello and welcome to the Litebrush Kickstarter page.
The Litebrush was the brainchild of Travis Stevens and Jamie MacDonald also known as Wave Gap Labs. Both Travis and Jamie have been interested in light painting for the past few years and have spent many nights throughout the year creating fun images using a wide variety of tools. Over the course of these last two years we have learned a few things about this particular genre of photography.
We’ve come to find out that the tools used for light painting primarily fall into two categories. The first is non-dedicated light sources being used to create images. Those would be things like, flashlights, LED keychains, kids toys, glow sticks etc.. All things that initially were made with another use in mind but have been adopted by light painters for use in their photography. The second category is devices that were purpose built for light painting. Often these are very complex in design, often being one of a kind, and more often than not, very expensive.
Something else we’ve learned is that the more complex the tool, the more time spent trying to figure out what to do with it and that seems to take away some of the fun, and more importantly, the creativity. We’ve found that simple to use devices often spawn creativity and since less time is spent figuring the device out, more images are created.
So with that in mind we set out to make a simple to use and affordable light painting tool. The Litebrush
With those insights in mind we set out to develop and fun, easy to use, and most importantly to us, affordable light painting tool.
Product Development - From Christmas Lights to a Litebrush
We started off with a few designs that were fairly simple and kept streamlining it until we created our first Litebrush. Our initial concept was a series of LEDs that the user could make their images with. We knew that we wanted to end up with a product that was simple in design and function, and that the photographer would be excited to use.
- The very first prototype was literally a string of Christmas lights attached to a wooden rod, this concept worked but was crude in design, not modular and needed refinement.
- Next we used a laser cut piece of stainless steel, with a series of holes cut into the blank to allow for zip-ties to hold an LED light strip in place. A 9V battery pack was attached with Velcro onto the stainless steel blank. This design worked well in concept, but still needed some work to allow for an appealing and usable product. A few things that we did not like about this concept were that the LED strip moved around a lot in the zip-ties, and the wires which attached the LED light strip to the battery box were not protected and could be damaged easily.
- For our final prototype we decreased the size of the stainless steel blank to allow for a more compact design, we chose an LED array that incorporated a 3M adhesive backing to adhere the strip to the blank, and we incorporated a wire management protector to protect the wires and reduce the chance of the wires being disconnected from the connectors.
- Once we had a defined prototype for the Basic Litebrush, we looked towards the Litebrush Pro as a way to enhance the visual aesthetics and incorporate an RGB LED light strip and a multiple mode selector switch.
- We still have a few more refinements to the overall design that we are planning on incorporating once the Basic Litebrush and Litebrush Pro go into production.
Finished product will have all wiring shielded in both heatshrink tubing and PET braided wire sleeving.
Under the Hood - What makes the Litebush work
The Litebrush Basic and Litebrush Pro generate their intense output from an SMD LED array and are powered with a single 9v battery housed in an ABS battery box. The SMD LED array was chosen over traditional LEDs because of their ability to generate high lumen output with minimal voltage drawn.
From the LED light strip the power and ground leads connect to a 5.5mm female barrel connector which plug into a male 5.5mm barrel connector running to the 9v battery box.
The battery box is mounted to the Litebrush using hook and loop tape so as to make the unit easy to disassemble. Use of the male and female connector and Velcro tape to allow for a more modular design, allowing the user to not only break down the unit for storage and transport, but also so they can add more lights to the system. The Litebrush LED array is capable of running at 14.4v which means the user can make the system more intense by adding their own power supply. This is where the user accessible barrel connectors come in handy.
How simple is our design? Try this, one switch for power on our Litebrush Base Model and on the Pro Model? A single power switch and three buttons on the controller unit that allows for an astounding 20 different color options and 19 different color cycling options! That’s it, only FOUR buttons in total on the Pro Model!
The Basic Litebrush has been designed to be simple yet durable. construction of the main bar is of 16 gage (1.5mm) stainless steel that has been put through a black oxide process which not only adds a certain level of durability, but also because it provides a non-reflective background for the LEDs. We didn’t want glare and reflection to ruin the images created with the Litebrush so black oxide was the obvious choice of finish. The LED array is secured in place with an all weather 3M adhesive that can withstand years of heavy use.
There are 30 solid color LED lights powered with a single 9V battery that provide numerous possibilities. The Basic Litebrush is available in red, green, or blue colors. Shipments to start in July 2014 with targeted shipment quantities of 300 units per month**.
*9V battery not included.
**Shipping in US only.
The Litebrush Pro is made out of an extruded aluminum support bar with a frosted diffuser. The 12 RGB LED lights are powered with a single 9V battery* and controlled via the onboard controller. This controller will allow for the lights to be changed to 1 of the 20 different colors or cycle through the colors at various speeds. The versatility of the Litebrush Pro will allow for endless photo possibilities. Shipments to start in July 2014 with targeted shipment quantities of 300 units per month**.
*9V battery not included.
**Shipping in US only.
Shoot with Us / Litebrush Pro
We love light painting and we also love URBEX (photographing and exploring abandoned buildings), so why not combine the two and put together a fun night of both along with some instructional lessons as well. We will provide the light painting tools and determine a photography location within an abandoned place that we have taken photos at many times. You will be responsible to providing transportation to and from the photography location and supplying your own photography equipment and tripod. With this pledge you will also get a Litebrush Pro light painting tool. Shipments to start in July 2014 with targeted shipment quantities of 300 units per month**. The light painting night will take place on a Saturday in September 2014.*9V battery not included.
**Shipping in US only.
How are we planning on using the money?
We will be investing in equipment that will allow for rapid assembly and shipment of the Litebrush and purchasing components in bulk quantities that allows us to keep the selling price at the current low prices. We want to ensure our backers get their product and start using it as soon as possible.
Shipments to start 2 months after the funds from a successful campaign conclusion. With this timeline place shipments will start in July 2014. We will be targeting to ship 300 units each month. Priority of shipments will be based upon pledge order, meaning first people to pledge will receive first shipments.
We would like to thank some of the people who have helped up with this project.
- Light Painting Inspiration - Keith Cronkite - Flickr
- Photography Support - David Bostedor III
Risks and challenges
With any product launch there are risks, we will do our best to reduce these risks as much as possible. We will be ordering components from multiple vendors in large quantities. In some cases some of these components may be on back order which means that we would either have to wait until they become available or find the components from another vendor. Throughout the launch of the Litebrush we will be communicating through project updates to keep everyone informed of the timing.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
No! We want to be clear that this product was designed with a few specific goals in mind. While we are totally impressed with that other lightpainting tool, we feel ours can benefit everyone as well.
#1 It was designed to be easy to use. Easy enough for a beginner, but still valuable to the more experienced photographer.
#2 The Litebrush Basic and PRO models both were meant to be an affordable option when compared to some of the other things you may have seen on Kickstarter.
We have run the Litebrush Basic for over 5 hours straight before deciding to just shut it off. We figured 5 hours of constant run time would be more than most people would use in a single session.
The Litebrush Pro was run for the same duration while in color changing strobe mode and was still going strong after 5 hours!
The Litebrush Pro and Basic models are not weather sealed.
YES!! We have decided that due to several requests international orders are a go! Just make sure to look for the Pledge that mentions the international shipping cost and sign up for that one.
- (45 days)