J.J. Abrams and Lens Flares

“I know what you’re saying with the lens flares. It was one of those things… I wanted a visual system that felt unique. I know there are certain shots where even I watch and think, “Oh that’s ridiculous, that was too many.” But 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 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 thats 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.”

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