How to Create Anamorphic Lens Flares for Dirt Cheap
We talk a lot about shooting anamorphic here at NFS. With its unique aesthetic, including horizontal lens flares and oval bokehs, it's no wonder why so many indie filmmakers are wanting to get their hands on these awesome, albeit expensive lenses and adapters. And because the price tag causes most of us to miss out, we have to get creative to achieve at least a portion of what anamorphic lenses provide. Here's a DIY tutorial that shows you how to use fishing line to produce horizontal lens flares with a similar look to those made while shooting anamorphic.
There is definitely no replacement for the effects an anamorphic lens produces — not only the flares and bokeh, but the wide aspect ratio and dimentionality as well. However, if you want a close to zero cost solution to obtaining some pretty decent horizontal flares, this fishing line technique works pretty well.
All you're going to need is some clear or blue nylon fishing line (0.29 gauge, or you can just paint it blue), a lens hood, and a way to poke four holes into the hood. (I'm sure you could use tape or whatever else to secure the line if you don't want to damage it.) You're also going to need a prime lens.
In fact, one of the caveats mentioned in the video is that the effect tends not to work as well (or at all) with zoom lenses — though it might if you use a thicker line. The focal length of the lens you're using plays a huge role in how well the fishing line is hidden.
Also, make sure that the fishing line is vertical when you shoot, otherwise your horizontal flare will rotate to become a vertical flare. Of course, if you want to just get some crazy flare effects, rotate that line whichever way you want!
There are a handful of other tutorials that do pretty much the same thing. The only difference is that many of them use a rubber band to fasten the fishing line to the lens, which may cause issues when you try to focus. But, if you find that it doesn't, that's just another option — just string the fishing line vertically along your lens and fasten it with your trusty rubber band. No need to drill holes!
Here's a video that shows how to use rubber bands:
Go ahead and give this trick a try and let us know how it turns out. If you've done this before (especially on a zoom), what worked/didn't work for you?