Welcome to Vela One
Congratulations! You are now the owner of the world's fastest flash. You're probably itching to get started, but to get the best out of it please read the following tips. Don't forget to share your shots on Flickr.
Please read the safety warning below. Don't put too much stress on the LEDs. While we have flashed individual Vela Ones over 500,000 times each in testing, very rapid repeat triggering especially in strobe mode can damage the LEDs irreparably. Use a reset delay with your trigger, and turn the flash off when setting up your sensors and triggers.
Your first HIGH SPEED shot
You will need:
- Your Vela One flash
- A trigger, such as Vela Pop, Triggertrap TTv1 or Camera Axe.
- A cable for the trigger
- A camera and tripod
- A dark room
- A table
- A subject to photograph
First, arrange your subject. I like to shoot fruit with air guns, but you might like to smash lightbulbs, blow up sweets or something else. For this shot, start with the subject on the table and the Vela One flash on the table next to it, just out of shot, or on another tripod. Keep it very close for your first shot: ideally under 60cm or 2 feet.
Set up your camera and tripod. Set the camera to manual, with a high ISO such as 1600 to start. We will be triggering this manually with a long exposure, as the flash will be freezing the action. Use a shutter speed long enough to give you time to perform the action such as shooting or smashing the subject. I usually go for 2 seconds, which is plenty of time to fire the gun. A cable release is a very good idea here to avoid shaking the camera. I use Triggertrap mobile for this.
Connect your trigger to its cable according to the device's instructions. For Vela Pop, just plug the small plug into the trigger and the larger into the Vela One. For TTv1, plug the large plug into the trigger and the small plug into the Vela One. You can use either of the I/O sockets on the flash, depending on whether you have a 2.5mm or 3.5mm plug. Set up the trigger according to its instructions and place it near to the subject.
At this point you should have a Vela One connected to a trigger. Press the power button on the Vela One and you should see the green LED light up. If it stays yellow then change the batteries soon. Set the count to 1 and the length to 5µs. Press the test button (the lightning bolt) and it should flash. If it doesn't, and you hear a sound like a flash charging, wait 5 seconds and try again. The normally only happens the first time after it has been sitting unused for a long time. Don't worry about looking at the flash: the pulse is too short to damage your eyes.
Now check the trigger. If it's a sound trigger then clap your hands and see that the Vela One flashes.
Now it's time to check the lighting. Initially start with quite a wide aperture. Check your focus and turn off the lights. Press the camera shutter release, then clap your hands (if you're using a sound trigger) while the shutter is open. If the trigger is working properly then the Vela One should flash. Adjust the exposure based on the photograph, using the histogram display if preferred and repeat until you are happy with the lighting.
If you are shooting something, you will need to adjust the timing of the trigger. This takes quite a bit of trial and error, and is best performed by just firing the gun without a target (apart from the backstop, of course) and adjusting the timing to place the projectile perfectly. If you're using Camera Axe with a projectile sensor then you can just program the correct distance to place it perfectly.
Once all the timings and exposure are correct then you can start actually destroying things. Don't forget to share your photos!
If you've any questions, email me on [email protected] or check the Vela One FAQ.
The Vela One is assembled with inviting, easy to open hex bolts, but there are dangerous voltages inside, even when it has no batteries. We therefore do not recommend opening the flash. If you do, it is entirely at your own risk, and I'll assume that you know your way around a multimeter and are experienced dealing with high voltages. While the Vela One is much lower voltage than an airgap flash, and is even a lot lower voltage than a speedlight, the voltages are still dangerous and it is important to treat it with care. At the very least it will hurt like hell (trust me on this one) and it could be a lot worse. There is a very large capacitor inside, which will hold charge for weeks without power. Don't make the mistake of thinking that removing the batteries and turning it off will make it safe.
This is a video that I filmed last year with an old prototype, but the principles are the same with your production one.