If you saw Star Trek, you probably noticed the abundance of lens flares. Director JJ Abrams acknowledges he went overboard, but he also wants you to know it wasn’t some cheesy Photoshop after effect. As
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.
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.
He’s right. If I want to feel like the future is bright, I just look at this picture of Birthday Dog. You can’t look at this picture and not be happy.