Ever so often, the boundaries between the capabilities of a speedlite flash and a studio strobe gets blurred. Recently, I added a new tool to my lighting kit that I feel opens up another realm of possibilities. A speedlite-based projector, a Light Blaster.
The concept is pretty simple: you attach a speedlite at the end of the contraption, a slide/transparency in between and a lens at the other end. A range of printed transparencies are available with the purchase, I find the effects and backdrop kits the most useful to me. Not like I need a whole set of angel wings, unless there is some specific project that requires it.
Did some experimenting with it at night. This thing is not going to overpower the sun, best to keep the ambient as low as possible to get the intended effect. Plain walls are abundant around my neighbourhood, and with a pop of light I can transform them into any scene I want. The choice of lens attached plays an important role in your projected image. With a large aperture lens, you are getting more light output, with a 50mm f/1.4 I can even reach out to the next block. A wider lens also allows you to project closer to the wall, think short throw projectors.
One thing noticeable about the printed transparencies when you project them over a large area is the grain that appears. There was an actual mounted 35mm slide provided which gave much sharper images, though light loss was more going through the slide. Another problem I noticed is focusing the lens to get a sharp projected image. The stroboscopic function of the speedlite is barely enough to let you adjust focus in real time. Taking a test shot and reviewing through the camera's screen seems like a better way to go.
Taking things to the other extreme end; I have access to a 400mm f/2.8L IS and wondered if it could be used as a beacon of sorts. The setup turns out literally looking like a Photon Canon. Printed out the logo on transparency paper, gelled it orange and stuck it into the slide holder. Catching the very faint light that gets scattered by the air proved to be a challenge though. The above photo was shot at a crazy high ISO of 25600 at f/1.2, projecting onto a surface didn't require as high a sensitivity. Admittedly, I did some touch up on the final image to make the logo more prominent.
Check back for more works once I have something else in mind that requires the Light Blaster.