Jump to content

How to achieve "The great beauty" glowing highlight effect


Recommended Posts



I am and enthusiast cinematographer in the process of learning and experimenting.


I like how the highlights glow in "The great beauty" and other films and I would like to know how to achieve something similar with digital cameras.


Aspects I like are:


- Detailed but soft (unsharped) images

- The light sources seem to glow

- The light goes a bit into the boundaries of the shadows

- The highlights have a nice roll-off

- The light rays can be seen.


Aspects I dont like:

- Dreamy effect where everything seem to glow

- Clipped highlights with bad roll-off


I guess some of these aspects are related with the use of film, that I like a lot. After some researching I have reach the conclusion that using diffusion you can get similar results.


Filters as Soft FX and Classic Soft seems to help reducing sharpness and some of them seem to create a nice halo around lights.

Filters as Black pro mist, Glimmer Glass, Pearlescent and Black Frost seem to "make the light visible" around light sources which i also like.

Also there are combinations of some of them with mixed properties.


I haver never owned or used a filter, they are expensive and I don't know if they are the solution I am looking for.


Do you think that filters are the solution for this? If you could only buy one or two to get this kind of image and the aspects I like, which one would you choose?


Thanks a lot!








Edited by Pedro
Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Premium Member

Looks like a diffusion filter was certainly used for these shots. To my eye it looks like a mist-type filter, so Promist, Frost, Glimmerglass, Smoque, or Low-Con. Lenslet-type filters like Classic Softs and SoftFX usually have a more defined halo around bright sources, whereas mists are usually more of an overall effect and thus look more low-contrast. It could also be a combo mist/lenslet filter like a light Classic Black Soft of Hollywood Black Magic. Another possibility would be nets, but then you would usually see a rainbow cross pattern on bright highlights.


*Wanted to add that part of what makes these frames look so good with that much lens diffusion is the inclusion of large areas of shadow in the frame. If you had a sunny front-lit building like in the last frame without any dark areas like the shadowy tree, the blooming would overwhelm the entire frame and look overly heavy. I've noticed this especially with nets and Smoque filters which can look rather heavy-handed when used this way.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.


  • Create New...