How to Add Convincing Lens Flares to Your Videos

You've fired up Premiere Pro. You've watched the entire JJ Abrams repertoire... twice. You're ready. Here's how to add convincing and tasteful lens flares to your videos. 

Lens flares, when done correctly, can be a great way to spice up a shot, add a bit of interest to a look, or simply accompany the natural light in the scene. Unfortunately, modern lenses are impressively good at resisting flaring, and when you do finally get them to do it, the results can be a bit weird or you might have sacrificed your composition to get the light source on axis. So, you have two options: make your own in a controlled environment or buy a lens flare pack. From there, follow this great tutorial from TravelFeels to edit it in convincingly. The crucial trick is using the Screen blend mode, which inverts, multiplies, then re-inverts the layers, essentially lightening the image without affecting the darker areas, and subtly blends the flare in. From there, you just need to make some basic color and contrast adjustments to polish the blending, and you're good to go! Just be sure to pay attention to the direction of the light source and to use the effect sparingly. 

[via No Film School]

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Casey Berner's picture

But those lens flares look fake. :/

gabe s's picture

Ok JJ want to be. My big issue with all the fake lens flare is that the light source needs to be visible for the flare to happen. Every example in this looks horribly manufactured.