We’re reinventing the high-speed flash. Come along for the ride!

Vela Labs is developing a new kind of camera flash that will revolutionise high-speed photography. We’re launching later this year and blogging our journey, along with lots of tips and hacks along the way.

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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