October 16, 2012 jon

Anamorphic Filters

If you have been to the cinema recently you may have noticed several directors and cinematographers heavily experimenting in lights flairs and filters, a similar look normally achieved in modern music videos, to create more of a raw camera look, losing the clean, colourful 90’s glaze we all got bored with far too quickly.

Well we have! so we’re just going to tell you how these techniques are created and the best way as a film maker to produce similar effects in production and in post production without the Hollywood budgets.


Streak filters;
There seems to be an abundance of films using this effect recently.. Looper, J.J. Abrams – StarTrek (which even Abrams has quoted as calling “ridiculous“) anything by Micheal Bay. Even going back as far as Ridley Scotts dark futuristic classic BladeRunner which was shot in 1982… I KNOW!!!

J.J. Abrams achieved most of his off screen light glares and blooms by having a few selected lighting technicians point 100K lights into the lens from the side of the scene achieving the look of glare from an off frame source.

Star filters:
These were popular back in the day but you still see a lot of feature films using then to emphasise a candle or distant street lights.

Where to buy:
We are big fans of Optefex who sell these filters in most sizes and colour tints. The standard is 4X4 inches if you are using a regular sized Mattebox
They can range from 4X4 can cost £200 – £600 but also a on lens filter 72mm or 77mm if you look around.

Where to hire:
We have hired from ShootBlue for approximately £70 a day before

How to make:
If you have a steady hand with a knife you could produce your own, there are several tutorial online.. You could cut straight lines down a piece of 4X4 plastic and hang them vertically in front of the the camera lens inside a Mattebox filter:

Or put some nylon or fishing wire in front of your lens with an elastic band.

As with most things these days in film, you have the ability to makes something look as good off the camera as you do on by knowing which Plug-ins to use and how.

Red Giant’s Knoll Light Factory and Video Copilot’s Optical Flares are two great examples. They give you full control over the flares and where they will glare in relation to your subject.
It’s always worth remembering that overuse of any effect such as these flairs can also hinder the look of a great shot…


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