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Riley Hooper
June 12, 2012 by Riley Hooper PRO
Lenses are designed to receive light and focus it into an image. But depending on your shooting conditions, not all light entering your lens will be focused. When light scatters and hits your camera’s sensor in unintended ways, it can generate a lens flare — typically a small starburst, ring, or circle of light. Sometimes lens flares are unintentional and can ruin a shot, but you can also use them to add style to your video. ![](f.vimeocdn.com/si/videoschool/lensflare.jpg) Check out this sweet lens flare action among some evergreens. *Image courtesy of Shutterstock.* You can achieve lens flares, or a lens flare effect, in a few different ways: First, you can achieve natural lens flares by shooting in bright sunlight. In fact, if you shoot right at the sun, you're bound to get some flares. But be careful to not overdo it, as lots of sunlight can damage your image sensor. You should also avoid looking directly at the sun. But you already knew that, right? If you want to achieve the type of lens flares that happen when shooting in [anamorphic format](en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anamorphic_format), we have a neat trick: place a length of fishing line at the front [or back](nathandblair.blogspot.com/2011/03/experiment-putting-wire-behind-lens.html) of your lens. Here's an example by Vimean [David Rodriguez](vimeo.com/davidrodriguez): [clip: 25581562] Another way to achieve lens flares and light leaks is by shooting with the lens detached from your camera body. This is called lens whacking, and you can read all about it in this [Video School lesson](vimeo.com/videoschool/lesson/207/the-art-of-lens-whacking). But what happens if you shoot all day and don't capture a single flare? Fix it in post-production! With lens flare template videos, you can easily overlay a flare effect using your editing software. In this tutorial, the folks at [DSLRcinema](vimeo.com/traceylee) show us how to add lens flares in Final Cut Pro by overlaying video files: [clip: 34245171] Once you've mastered that, be sure to check out DSLRcinema’s [advanced techniques tutorial](vimeo.com/34487378). These types of template videos are available for purchase all over the Internet, but if you're feeling crafty, you can make your own using the lens whacking technique mentioned above and shooting with the lens cap on. Check out [this video](vimeo.com/36001442) for more details. Like all stylistic effects, it's best to use lens flares sparingly. A little flare here and there goes a long way!

2 Comments

Benjamin Jacobson

I was looking for another method of achieving anamorphic flares without having to lens whack (due to the camera movement)... fishing line... awesome!

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