7 Practical Effects That Can Help Zhush Up Your Cinematography
If you want to add some style and flare to your shots, these cheap items will help you create some stunning practical lens effects.
Post-production programs like After Effects are great for adding creative effects to your footage, but what if you 1.) don't know how to do that, 2.) don't have the time to do that, or 3.) want to give your effects a little more of a human touch? Well, I suppose you'll have to learn how to create in-camera effects. In this video from Apture, cinematographer Justin Jones shows you seven super easy ways to create practical lens effects using super cheap items that you can pick up at any hardware store. Check it out below:
While it's helpful (and kind of essential) to know your way around programs like After Effects, knowing how to create beautiful and creative in-camera effects is a skill that will allow you to give your work a more unique and (again) human touch. I mean, there's nothing worse than seeing a stock effect in a project that has been used in countless other projects before it.
Not only that but, since you're capturing the effect in real-time, you'll know right away whether the look works or not. Shooting in-camera practical effects gives you the chance to experiment and play around with image capture in a way that "doing it in post" just can't.
Here are the seven tricks Jones mentions in the video:
- Warped plexiglass: Use a heat gun to make a piece of plexiglass nice and flexible so you can bend it. This allows you to blur certain areas of the frame while keeping the rest in focus. It also creates a cool double-vision look.
- Diopter: Using a rimless diopter lens, you can create an interesting isolated magnification effect.
- Edison bulb: This very cool light bulb produces a bunch of cool looks, like shimmers, flares, and distortions.
- Amber Edison bulb: Just a little added bonus from this bulb—it's amber coating gives your shots a subtle warm coloring, as well as all of the weird effects previously mentioned with the Edison bulb.
- Prism: These things are great at scattering light and creating a cool color spectrum (rainbow) effect.
- Crystal beads: This effect is pretty cool, so if you can find some crystal beads at a vintage second-hand store, grab 'em while you can. These things create a unique glimmering effect, in part because you can dangle and twist them in front of your lens.
- Chandelier crystal: If you want to create the classic kaleidoscope effect, a chandelier crystal will do the trick. You can pick them up at Home Depot for a few bucks.
What are some other creative practical lens effects that you've used? Let us know down in the comments.