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Andy Joesoef

Star Trek Movie Flares

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Excuse my amateurish nature of this post, but I'm just really curious on how to get the flare effect on JJ Abrams recent feature Star Trek ? Is it done by facing some lightings directly to the camera ? Is it post work ? I mean, how do you control such thing and get the right amount of flare. It looks pretty eye candy and adds a cool dimension on the scene. Any ideas ?

Edited by Andy Joesoef

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the horizontal streaking effect is an artifact from the anamorphic optics, the rest is just getting the right angle. i think he said he used a flashlight. I think he talks about it in his TED talk

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From what I know most of them are there, as mentioned, as an artifact of anamorphic lenses and a flashlight shined back into the lens, often by the DP himself. Some other flares were added digitally. There are even plugin for After Effects for it now.

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Yes, as Adrian said, the flares are due to the anamorphic lens bending light to the aspect ratio. This causes the horizontal distortion when the light's flare is within the frame. Also as Adrian said, Videocopilot has made a plug-in for Adobe After Effects that will allow you to track the frames of your shot and digitally insert anamorphic lens flares. Do realize that they can become distracting to the audience if they are overused, unless for artistic purposes, and do not visualize a script better when they're in every single reflective surface of a shot. *cough-cough* Sorry for the lecture.

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Do realize that they can become distracting to the audience if they are overused, unless for artistic purposes, and do not visualize a script better when they're in every single reflective surface of a shot. *cough-cough* Sorry for the lecture.

 

So far, Star Trek pulled it off without being too much. I have never seen any other movies with similar amount of flare used as much as Star Trek. And I can kind of understand it visually. It adds to the futuristic feel of being inside a spaceship, at least in my opinion, it should be flashy :P I think it worked wonderfully in the movie. But I totally agree, overusing this style can be fatal.

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You should look into Punch Drunk Love. it also has some very nice flares.

 

 

 

Good movie too. I guess Star Trek was the first movie that got my attention to the flares. Most often I see this type of effect used in music videos, like this :

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Good movie too. I guess Star Trek was the first movie that got my attention to the flares. Most often I see this type of effect used in music videos, like this :

 

 

And this:

 

On Star Trek Dan Mindel or one of his assistants was just off camera shining a xenon flashlight into the lens. Part of the reason it works so well is that if you pay close attention you realize the flares, JJ camera shake, the camera movement and the action are all very carefully choreographed. It's not as random as it appears. Watch the placement and timing of the flares in action scenes or battle scenes versus for example.

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I admit that I haven't seen this new Star Trek movie. Though when I see that distinct anamorphic lens flare in films, is it often blue in colour. Was this the case in Star Trek? John Carpenter seemed very fond of this. I remember in the film Christine, the possessed car's headlights shining directly into the lens with the flare effect radiating across the full width of the screen. And yes, it does look cool!

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