If you ever have reached the point where you are looking for a highly creative tool to open up all types of new doors to your photography portfolio, this is it. Oh boy, is it ever.
So What Exactly is This?
A “light painter wand”? What is that? The best way to describe the Savage Universal RGB Light Painter Pro LED Wand is to think of a Star Wars light saber that can be configured in a variety of colors. It has LEDs on one side to allow for creative shaping of light trails during long exposure photography, also known as “Light Painting”. Much like a light saber, this wand can be hand-held via battery power, or fired up via the included AC-adapter. It includes a rotating dial at the base to select virtually any color you wish, and even includes a smartphone app to easily dial in exact colors, color patterns, brightness, and so on. There’s a lot going on here, but before I get ahead of myself, let’s go over details:
So, What is Included with the RGB Light Painted Pro?
The Savage Universal RGB Light Painter Pro LED Wand comes with the following items:
- RGB Light Painter Wand
- Protective padded carrying case with Velcro handle
- AC Power adapter
- Li-ion battery (fits Sony NPF750/NPF770)
- Battery charger
- Optional mounting hook
- Wrist strap
- Free Smartphone app for iOS and Android
- Instructional guide
How is the Quality of the Included Items?
I am really impressed with the carrying case for this. It’s padded, has a nice Velcro strap, and the exterior is strong enough to keep this protected. It uses a universal battery that you may already have on-hand from other items, and the specs show the battery lasts up to 5 hours at full power. The wrist strap was a smart idea as well, so much like when using a Nintendo Wii, you won’t accidentally have the wand go flying into a TV set or window when swinging it around.
Where Can I Download the Smartphone App for This Wand?
This wand comes with a free app to download for both iOS and Android that unlocks some fun and creative features. I did a search on Apple’s App Store for “Savage Universal” and actually came up empty. So, just to note, the actual app is called “Light Manager” (by Young Chong) but better yet, simply click on either of the links below to download directly:
Light Manager app for iOS:
Light Manager app for iOS:
IS the App Required for the Wand?
No. You do not need to use the app to use this light wand. If you do not use the app, you can control the color by simply rotating the dial on the wand itself. However, the smartphone app unlocks many creative and useful features. There are so many features available via the app, that the app itself could constitute its own review. But some highlights of the app are features like the ability to select a Rainbow Fade color option, other fade options such as red/green, red/blue, blue/green, rainbow strobe, and others. This is where the LEDs themselves change colors and transition into different colors, creating a highly unique look with long exposures.
You can even have the LEDs access your smartphone’s music library and pulsate colors based on the music (rave anyone?), and a “Mood” setting to set the color based on your voice. Since I would be using these for still photography, I didn’t fully utilize these options, but they were fun to play around with briefly.
What if I Have Two Savage RGB Wands, Can the App Control Both?
Yes! This really impressed me. The app is smart enough to allow you to control each wand individually, or sync them to control both at the same time. This was crucial to some of the different color combinations I used when shooting with two wands.
Enough with the Specs… Let’s See Some Shots!
So what did I do with it? Well, the possibilities are endless really. As an artistic portrait photographer, this type of tool is right up my alley. However, it’s nearly impossible to pinpoint a single use for this type of tool. There are endless possibilities, including using these for video. Think of it as a paint brush that uses light as its medium. My goal for this review was to have creative portraits where the frame exploded with vibrant light trails.
This meant placing the camera on a tripod, largely with a pinhole-sized aperture (f/18~22) and leaving the shutter open from anywhere from 3-10 seconds. I used a black background, and a remote shutter release. As I would hit the shutter, I would then swing one or two wands around, with the LEDs facing the camera. Each swing produces different light trails, and honestly, it was just so much fun. Rather than flood the review with too many test shots, here is an animated GIF of many of the test shots I took using the light wand:
(All of these shots are single shots straight out of camera, stitched together as a GIF)
How Was It Shooting Artistic Portraits with an Actual Model?
After shooting some test shots with my mannequin head, I realized this will be a challenge for any model, as they will have to hold their position for anywhere from 1-10 seconds, and that isn’t easy. (Don’t blink!) But the beauty of these wands is that even if you may have a rough idea of the looks you want, painting with light is so much fun and experimental, that sometimes you may stumble upon some happy accidents. So the end result is that there really are no rules. Have fun with it. I sure did. Here are some sample shots I took during my shoot with model Karina (@karina.artista):
(Me waiving dual wands behind the model, both wands set to the “Rainbow Fade” option via the App. Long exposure, 8 seconds, f/22, ISO 100)
(Both wands behind the model set to Red. Long exposure, 8 seconds, f/22, ISO 100)
(Waiving dual wands behind the model, one wand set to red, one wand set to green. Long exposure, 8 seconds, f/22, ISO 100)
(Mixture of a strobe with a red colored gel, and a single wand in blue (waived in front of the model as well), long exposure 6 seconds, f/22, ISO 100)
(Waiving dual wands behind the model, one wand set to teal, one wand set to orange. Long exposure, 8 seconds, f/22, ISO 100)
SAVAGE RGB Light Painter Pro LED Wand Review Summary
Wow, in a word, these things are fun! Painting with light can really be a fun way to mix things up in-studio and capture some truly unique looks with vibrant color effects. Yes, to achieve the looks above, you will likely end up swinging these things around so much that even Darth Maul would be proud, but the results will be well worth it. The included battery-power allows full-freedom to use these anywhere, including outdoors. I honestly love these wands and am looking forward to using them even more in the future.