January 11, 2018

8 Creative Lens Filters You Can Make Yourself

If you want to create some unique camera effects, you may have everything you need right in your own home.

There are so many ways to apply creative effects to your films and videos. You can buy dedicated lens filters or use digital assets in post-production, but if you don't have 1.) the cash to spend on new gear, or 2.) the time to spend working your magic in post, then you should try using some very easy and very cheap DIY lens filters to give your images the look you're going for. This video from COOPH shares eight of them that you can make right now out of random household items.

Even though these suggestions are aimed more toward photographers, most of them will work just as well for filmmakers. While some of these DIY lens filters require materials, time, and actual assembly, several of them are really just...things you hold in front of your lens to create a cool effect. Just be sure to get that shallow depth of field, otherwise, you'll just have a bunch of plastic or a ball of yarn in your shot. (And that ain't cute.)

  • Droplet filter:  Spraying some water on your lens and pointing it near a light source can create an interesting look. (You might want to throw a protective filter on your lens before you do it, though, so you're not spraying your glass with water.)
  • Lens flare filter: Taping some fishing line to the outside of your lens can create some really cool lens flares. In fact, many filmmakers use a single line to create anamorphic-style lens flares.
  • Fake tilt-shift filter: Cutting some translucent plastic into the shape of your lens and then cutting a hole out of the middle makes for a great DIY tilt-shift filter. You can even experiment with different shapes and sizes.
  • Plastic filter: Holding some clear plastic out in front of your lens can soften the color contrast of your shot.
  • Wooly filter: Use some multi-colored yarn to create some unique camera effects.
  • Tinsel filter:  Tinsel is very colorful and reflective, so if you've got some left over from the holidays, you should try holding it in front of your lens to create an awesome look.
  • Foggy filter: Try fogging up your lens with your breath. Granted, this may not work as well for filmmakers as it would for photographers, but if you're in a pinch and need to create a misty effect, you might want to try this.
  • Bubble filter: Bubbles...can't go wrong with bubbles.

What are some other creative DIY lens filter ideas? What about some cool stuff you can hold in front of your lens to create interesting effects? Let us know down in the comments.     

Your Comment

5 Comments

I love it! Beautiful.

January 12, 2018 at 12:29AM

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The Mellow Filmmaker
Filmmaker, Editor, Videographer
173

Deli mustard is also great as a lens filter. I heard they used it on the new Star Wars!

January 12, 2018 at 5:39PM

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BD
368

January 13, 2018 at 1:27AM, Edited January 13, 1:27AM

7
Reply

Nope, none of these.

January 15, 2018 at 4:35PM

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Keith Mullin
Rental Manager
103

Remember those overhead projectors in schools/offices that looked like ostriches?

Those clear plastic lenticular sheets that were used to magnify and focus documents can make for very interesting filters. They tend to warp, flip, and flare up images.

Google "magnifying sheet".

January 22, 2018 at 11:59AM, Edited January 22, 11:59AM

5
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avatar
Cole Freudenthal
Editor & Composer
74