Vela Lab’s Uber High Speed Flash Aims To Freeze Bullets In Mid Air

Nov 25, 2014

Mitch Highman

A photographer by day as well as a photographer by night, I tend to have a camera with me at all times. I live in Fargo, North Dakota… and NO, it is nothing like the movie or Tv show “Fargo”. Feel free to follow me on social media! Instagram: https://instagram.com/mhighman/

Vela Lab’s Uber High Speed Flash Aims To Freeze Bullets In Mid Air

Nov 25, 2014

Mitch Highman

A photographer by day as well as a photographer by night, I tend to have a camera with me at all times. I live in Fargo, North Dakota… and NO, it is nothing like the movie or Tv show “Fargo”. Feel free to follow me on social media! Instagram: https://instagram.com/mhighman/

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Vela One
Vela Labs developed an LED flash with speeds of up to 1 /2,000,000 of a second – the Vela One. This means that the Vela One is fast enough to stop a bullet in flight.

Vela Labs CEO, Matt Kane, told us that such a fast speed is obtained by using ultra-high flux COB LEDs, and overdriving them. My first question was how exactly can you push an LED so brutally and not damage it. Matt explained that the massive currents are delivered in very short pulses and do not damage or shorten the life of the unit. 

Vela One Front/Back
Vela One Front/Back

And you definitely do not want to damage the unit… its beautiful! Its powder-coated aluminum chassis has 9 ultra-bright LEDs behind a debris-resistant polycarbonate screen. Here is their kickstarter pitch:

More specs on Vela One

Vela One Specs
Vela One Specs

High speed photography is not an easy task and takes power. A speedlight can fire at 1/20,000 second and that can stop the motion of a water droplet or balloon popping, but a bullet would still smear.

Speedlight Vs Vela One
Speedlight Vs Vela One

We have seen other uber high speed flashes like the Air Gap Flash V1 – it uses AC power and it’s quite big. Vela One runs on 4AA batteries and according to Vela Labs, will run all day with recycle times less than a millisecond! This comparison should help you make sense of the differences. comparison

Wondered what 1/2,000,000 means, here are some sample shots:

backlit-800
Looking at the Vela One as it backlights
bulb-800
Lightbulb & Bullet
bulb-strobe-800
Lightbulb & Bullet
grape-800
Grape
tomato-800
Tomato

This is a pretty interesting offer from Vela Labs as Previous offerings of High Speed flash were about $2,000 and could probably stop your heart is used incorrectly – early bird prices start from £450 (around $700), with full Kickstarter price £550 (around $860).

[Vela One at kickstarter]

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Mitch Highman

Mitch Highman

A photographer by day as well as a photographer by night, I tend to have a camera with me at all times. I live in Fargo, North Dakota… and NO, it is nothing like the movie or Tv show “Fargo”. Feel free to follow me on social media! Instagram: https://instagram.com/mhighman/

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6 responses to “Vela Lab’s Uber High Speed Flash Aims To Freeze Bullets In Mid Air”

  1. Doug Sundseth Avatar
    Doug Sundseth

    The shots shown, though labeled as “bullet” photography, are showing BBs. BBs have muzzle velocities in the 250 fps (approx. 75 m/s) range. Bullets have muzzle velocities from about 4 to 12 times that. Nice photos, but I’d be much more interested if they were to show high-speed projectiles.

    Also, a high-end speed light, like the SB-910 or 600EX-RT runs about $550US. To my mind, the $710US or so that they’re looking for isn’t “about the same as a high-end speedlight”, since it’s about 30% more. Nor is it “a tiny fraction” of the price of a traditional high-speed flash, assuming the $2000 you quote is about right for such a flash.

    Interesting, possibly worth purchasing, but nowhere near as magical as you would like to make it sound. And hardware projects on Kickstarter are notoriously high risk.

    1. MattKane Avatar
      MattKane

      Hi Doug,
      It’s true the photos are of BBs. That’s because I’m in the UK, which has very strict firearms laws which make it very hard for me to get hold of real guns. However the flash is certainly fast enough to capture even 3200fps bullets. The flash duration is around 500ns, during which time a 3200fps bullet would travel about half a millimetre.

      1. ColinA Avatar
        ColinA

        love the concept, when will it be available and if you are interested in a test with firearms I have access to range facilities and firearms that can be used for ballistic testing. What do you think?

        1. e Avatar
          e

          Where are you located?

          1. ColinA Avatar
            ColinA

            I am near Grays in Essex but have access to several range facilities perhaps the best for this type of test is near Leicester.

  2. Daniel Zachar Avatar
    Daniel Zachar

    Hi Matt,
    how was the luminous flux measured? How many lumens can deliver the flash from distance 1m, or according to 100Ws Xenon Flash? Thank you.