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Create Hollywood Magic With Organic Lens Flares

Lens flares are perfect for giving your footage blockbuster atmosphere. But how can you best utilize them when you don’t have a blockbuster budget?

Lens flares, though in the past considered a flaw when seen in films, are everywhere now. They’re a great tool to turn to when you want to add depth and atmosphere to your project. How are they created? Basically, lens flares occur when direct light hits a camera’s sensor, creating a stream of shapes and color that washes across the screen. DNews released this exquisite video on how lens flares form and where they come from.

Creating Your Own Lens Flares

In this quick how-to from Olufemii Tutorials, creating light leaks and lens flares is made simple with just a few common inexpensive items found at local hardware and dollar stores. Remember though — the flares you shoot will only be as good as your lens and camera.

Using the Sun

Harnessing the power of the sun is an obvious method for producing lens flares and light leaks. The natural light source can provide an excellent in-camera effect. However, getting the right shot is tricky and can prove rather difficult given that you can’t control the strength of the sun’s light or the timing.

Friendly reminder: If your characters are in the same shot as the sun, remember to position your subjects in a way that doesn’t blow your image or colors outYouTuber Devin Supertramp made this excellent video explaining how to set your f-stop when shooting for lens flares and the different shapes you’ll be able to produce.

Lens Flare Packs: The Perfect Post-Production Solution

To get the type of wide lens flares that you see in the work of J.J. Abrams, you would need to shoot the flares with an anamorphic lens. Of course, you might not have the budget to work with such expensive glass. Additionally, time and available light can be an issue as well.

If you find these roadblocks preventing you from capturing perfect lens flares on your own, a reasonable post-production solution might be best — and our friends at RocketStock have got you covered with Radium, a video-asset pack of 120 anamorphic lens flares in 4k, downloadable for Premiere Pro, Final Cut Pro and After Effects. Each and every lens flare was captured organically with studio-quality anamorphic lenses. Using Radium will save you time and money — and your project will look like a blockbuster.

Got any tips for working with lens flares? Share your experiences in the comments below!