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!     

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Your Comment


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

December 15, 2016 at 8:03PM

Zack Wallnau
Cinematographer & Tinkerer

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

December 17, 2016 at 6:05PM

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 5:40PM


hated everything about that video

December 16, 2016 at 6:24AM


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 8:32AM, Edited December 16, 8:32AM



December 16, 2016 at 10:21AM

Michiel Eskens
Director & Editor

I love this site, but some of the DIY video people make me feel like I have entered the equivalent of the house-flipping phase of the late 1990's. All of the house flipping shows were geared to the DIY and all subsequent versions of these shows were trying to outdo each other with the latest quicker, cheaper, easier methods for the weekend carpenter. Who has the most clever hack??

What is significant about hacks under 90 seconds?
It only took a few seconds to smear chap stick on a filter/lens, so I am going to assume that these "hacks" are for those who do not have time to prep a better hack than smearing Chapstick, BUT, are geared for those that have enough time to go to the store to buy Chapstick?
Basically, I feel like these "hacks" were created for the sole purpose of having "hacks" that can be created in under 90 seconds, BUT if someone were able to find just a few more minutes, they could "out hack these hacks" fairly easy. In sum, if MacGyver were on a game show, and he only had 90 seconds to film a dream sequence, the Chapstick smear will come in handy. I wish they would keep in mind that we can all find an afternoon to create a "hack." I am sure a more complicated hack will take more than 90 seconds to describe and review for the viewer, so are we creating hacks for the sole purpose of fitting into a 90 second spot? I believe the Chapstick "hack" is actually doing the viewer a disservice, and this line can be crossed very easily when you are trying to find the most clever way of achieving a task with the least amount of time and money, especially if kids watch the videos.

February 27, 2017 at 10:56AM

Dave Klem

thanks your tip ... i will share with my friends ... http://www.fordphumy.org/ford-ranger/

August 9, 2017 at 6:50PM