The trusty lens flare has come a long way in the past few decades. Traditionally, filmmakers have gone to great lengths to actively avoid them. But these days, it’s an entirely different story.  Lens flares are now seen as a powerful addition to a filmmaker's toolkit—an effective way to inject videos with drama, atmosphere, and realism. Plus, with the ability to add lens flares in post-production, it's a convenient storytelling device that’s available to all.

But how can you use lens flares to maximum effect? Keep reading for some lens flare how-tos.


Injecting realism into digital shots

Lens flares are a great way to ground a shot in realityparticularly ones that incorporate multiple digital elements. The deliberate use of a visual ‘flaw’ like a lens flare means that the viewer associates the shot with a real-life scene.

It’s not about tricking your audience, but about keeping them invested. If they take a moment to think about how a particular scene doesn’t look real, they’re no longer connected to the story. 

To achieve a realistic look in post-production, an organic lens flare works best. (CG options tend to appear overly crisp and unnatural.) Try Rocketstock’s 4K lens flare pack, Radium for that organic look. All of Radium’s 120 elements have been captured using real sunlight with an anamorphic lens. It’s a great way to achieve an authentic ‘in-camera’ feel.     


Heighten drama and enhance mood

Lens flares are versatile; not only can they create a sense of realism, but they’re also a great tool to guide viewers’ emotions in the right direction. 

Take wedding videos, for example. The right lens flare at the right moment can add elegance and romance to a shot. A complimentary, warming lens flare can be used as a simple visual cue that subconsciously triggers feelings of contentment and peace.  

With customizable lens flares like Radium’s, no matter what mood or emotion you want your shot to convey, inbuilt editing tools let you craft a lens flare to match.

Less is more

The ability to add lens flares in post means that it’s tempting to go overboard. (Star Trek, anybody?) Just remember, like any filmmaking tool, lens flares should be used to further your video’s story, not just because they look great. If a viewer is distracted by the overuse of visual elements like lens flares, they’re no longer focusing on what’s important: your story and characters. 

To see just how lens flares can elevate your next video project, check out the demo below. Then to put these tips into practice, head over to RocketStock and check out Radium’s 4K lens flares for yourself.