December 15, 2016

8 Camera Hacks You Can Do with a Belt, a Knife, and Other Household Stuff

You don't need post plugins; you can create sweet color and flare effects using objects just lying around your house.

When you're in a pinch, it's nice to know some ways to "hack" your camera to get it to do or capture what you want. If you've got a belt, knife, sunglasses, and other everyday items you can definitely do a bunch of cool stuff. In this video from Peter McKinnon, you get to learn 8 hacks in just 90 seconds, like using a belt as a camera stabilizer, turning a coffee jacket into a makeshift lens hood, and using a bunch of random things to give your images some sweet filter effects and in-camera flares. Check it out below!

Here's a list of the 8 hacks McKinnon shares in the video:

  • Use a belt to create a "belt sling" camera stabilizer.
  • A coffee jacket makes a pretty decent lens hood.
  • Slather on some chapstick onto your lens (or filter) for a dreamy look.
  • Cellophane (wrappers) create a weird smoky effect.
  • Got some shades? Use them to add a little color to your images.
  • You can use a knife blade to reflective effect.
  • Got a little handheld flashlight? Well, they're perfect for flares.
  • Don't got a handheld flashlight? The one in your phone works just as well.

One thing to keep in mind with all of these flare and color effects is that in order for them to work, your depth of field needs to be pretty shallow, or shallow enough to make the foreground where your knife, cellophane, shades, etc. are completely blurry.

Share the nifty hacks/tricks that you can pull off with household items down in the comments!      

Your Comment


Chapstick and a knife on the lens? Sign me up!

December 15, 2016 at 11:03PM

Zack Wallnau
Cinematographer & Tinkerer

You mean chapstick on the lens filter and reflecting the knife blade?

December 17, 2016 at 9:05PM

Dave Clark
owner, speaker, coach

It's perfect for when you DON'T GOT the IQ to use the right tool for the job let alone proper grammar skills when writing an article.

December 21, 2016 at 8:40PM


hated everything about that video

December 16, 2016 at 9:24AM


All those are pretty bad. Here's another terrible one that I've done:

Turn on your cell phone light and put your finger in front of it to make it glow orange. Put your glowing finger in front of the lens at the edge of frame and it will give a nice warm glow as long as it's blown out of focus. A nice little sun-hitting-the-lens look - or even a burnt film look.

December 16, 2016 at 11:32AM, Edited December 16, 11:32AM



December 16, 2016 at 1:21PM

Michiel Eskens
Director & Editor