It can be tough giving your footage the look you want, especially when that look is distorted in some way. You can head into post and try your luck there, but you might end up spending more time and money than you anticipated. If you have a few lens tricks up your sleeve, though, you can tailor-make some really impressive effects in-camera in a fraction of the time for free. If that approach seems more up your alley, Ted Sim of Aputure's A-Team provides a bunch of great ideas for creating interesting effects using free or cheap materials in the video below.

These tricks are great and can help you create some really cool effects, but I do have one word of caution: use a filter. I'm not a fan of putting substances directly on my lens, so if you're going to use water, fog, or tape to create an effect, I highly recommend putting a filter on your lens first, because, you know, it's cheaper to replace a filter with sticky tape adhesive all over it.

Here are the effects Ted mentions in the video:

  • Sunset effect: Aim a tungsten light into your lens to create the look of a sunset.
  • Flashback effect: Spritzing some water on your lens (if you're going to do this, you should use a filter) can make your shot look like a flashback. Water is not your camera's friend, so be careful with this one. Don't let any get on your sensor.
  • Mist effect: Spray some smoke/fog/atmosphere near your lens and point a light at it for a cool, foggy effect.
  • Warp effect: Grab a glass and situate it around your lens. This creates an interesting warped look.
  • Rainbow effect:  Some clear tape can create some cool color effects if you put it on your lens (again, use a filter).

What are some other in-camera effects that you can pull off with household items? My favorite: putting fishing line across your lens to create some cool "anamorphic" lens flares.

Source: Aputure