Camera flashes are too slow. We're fixing that.

Capture bullets in flight with the first safe, affordable high-speed flash.

The Vela One is the fastest flash around. Take pin-sharp photos of supersonic bullets and explosions using a normal SLR. Pre-order now for estimated delivery in June 2015. Pay nothing until April and cancel at any time.

The Vela One is 100 times faster than a regular speedlight, which is an eternity in high speed photography. See the difference, even with an airgun.

Top feature: it won’t kill you!

The Vela One is cheaper, safer and faster than any other way of taking high-speed photos. Compare for yourself!

How it works

Watch this video to see how to use the Vela One high-speed flash.

Material Powder-coated aluminium, steel plate, ABS, polycarbonate
Dimensions 26 x 26 x 10 cm
Lighting elements 9 x COB LEDs with individual polycarbonate reflectors
Power supply 4 x AA batteries (Alkaline or NiMH rechargeable). Micro USB.
Pulse length (t.1 = t.5) 500ns, 1μs, 2μs, 3μs, 4μs, 5μs
Strobe count 1 – 6 flashes
Strobe interval 10μs – 250μs (4-100kHz)
Guide number Approx 5-7 feet at ISO 100.
Flash latency ~5μs from trigger to flash
Trigger input 3.5mm audio jack
Trigger/slave output 2.5mm audio jack
Supported triggers Triggertrap Ada, TTv1, Camera Axe, DIY triggers and more
Firmware licence Open source: GPL v3.0
Firmware platform Atmel AVR

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Blog

This is it: manufacture has started! The Chinese are back from holiday and it’s all go. Last week we made the first payment to our metalwork factory, so this week they start building. I’m really pleased to say that things are still almost on schedule (not too much shifting has been needed in my Great Gantt of Doom™) and we’re still within the margin of error that I built into the plans. This means we’re still on track for May shipping.

I’ve built a low cost, high-speed timer for camera flashes as an Arduino shield. As well as being useful for photographers, this has been an interesting exercise in using high speed, accurate AVR timers, interrupts and input capture on Arduino. Excluding the Arduino itself, the total cost came to around $3.

Nearly there! More than a year since I first had the idea to create a new kind of high-speed flash, and six months since I started working on it full time, it’s almost time to unveil the Vela flash to the world. It has been a week since the final enclosure prototypes arrived, since which I’ve been flat out taking product photos and filming the Kickstarter video. The really fun bit though has been doing a proper round of testing in the studio. This time I graduated from my studio in a box to use my office meeting room. I was lucky enough to get hold of one of the final production prototypes of the Triggertrap Ada sound trigger.

High speed photography has a tendency to be messy (broken glass, water and other flying debris) and potentially dangerous (guns, and that flying debris again). However it’s the need for near-total darkness which can prove to be the biggest problem. Having built a high-speed laser trigger, I needed a way of taking some photos. This presented me with a puzzle, as I work in an open plan office and have small children at home. Neither lend themselves to blacked-out rooms, flying shards of glass and small arms. The solution I came up with manages to solve all of these problems and more, and is I think worth trying even by those who are lucky enough to have access to real studios. For all of the details, see my guest post on DIY Photography.

Testing a high speed flash means I need an extremely fast laser camera trigger. And by fast, I mean microseconds (millions of a second). Having recently finished working on Triggertrap Ada, which is the highest-performance, most feature-packed camera trigger out there, I wanted to go the opposite direction and make the absolute minimal laser trigger. I didn’t care about configurable delays or thresholds: I just cared about speed. I also decided to set myself an arbitrary cost limit of $2. I’ve clearly spent so much of the past year working obsessively to target BOM costs that I couldn’t escape it! I’m only including the cost of components, and not things like cables, breadboards or the laser pointer (or flash).

How to trigger a flash