J.J. Abrams Talks about STAR TREKS Lens Flares

by Joey Paur



There is a lot of talk about J.J. Abrams' 'Star Trek' and it's excessive use of lens flares. These lens flares can be seen in the trailers and footage from the film and they are used throughout the whole movie. It is part of the film's signature. So I guess the question is was their an overuse of lens flares in the movie? Having seen the movie I would say not at all. For me I felt the flares added something different and unique to the film. I personally didn't find them distracting so I wouldn't worry about it. When J.J. Abrams was asked about the his use of lens flares and what he did to get them he replied:

I love the idea that the future was so bright it couldn't be contained in the frame.

The flares weren't just happening from on-camera light sources, they were happening off camera, and that was really the key to it. I want [to create] the sense that, just off camera, something spectacular is happening. There was always a sense of something, and also there is a really cool organic layer that's a quality of it. They were all done live, they weren't added later. There are something about those flares, especially in a movie that can potentially be very sterile and CG and overly controlled. There is something incredibly unpredictable and gorgeous about them. It is a really fun thing. Our DP would be off camera with this incredibly powerful flashlight aiming it at the lens. It became an art because different lenses required angles, and different proximity to the lens. Sometimes, when we were outside we'd use mirrors. Certain sizes were too big... literally, it was ridiculous. It was like another actor in the scene....

We had two cameras, so sometimes we had two different spotlight operators. When there was atmosphere in the room, you had to be really careful because you could see the beams. So it was this ridiculous, added level of pain in the ass, but I love... [looking at] the final cut, [the flares] to me, were a fun additional touch that I think, while overdone, in some places, it feels like the future is that bright.


This is a great explanation from Abrams and there isn't much more to add other than I love the fact that none of these lens flares were digitally added in post production besides the obvious full CGI shots in the film. They were actually creating these lens flares on the set while actually shooting. I didn't know that until now. Now I appreciate the use lens flares in the movie even more.

Source: io9

Featured Posts on GeekTyrant