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I'm trying to create a bright light/tunnel light/heaven light effect on DSLR video in which I'm getting closer to the light source.

I tried pulling the curtains shut in a room during daytime and letting light in through a small opening while filming with a dark plastic bag covering the lens. I got the effect below but the light is too simple.

enter image description here enter image description here

Also tried with a lamp but get the same effect. Does anyone know a good technique to achieve a more interesting light effect?

Update: Tried using diffused light from a lantern, while covering lens in plastic with rubber band. I scraped lines across the bag to try to get a star effect. Feels like I am getting closer.

enter image description here

  • Do you want this to be a video (moving) effect, or is this something which would also apply to still photography? – mattdm Aug 27 '17 at 14:44
  • Video moving but I am guessing the same light effect will apply – CyberJ Aug 27 '17 at 15:10
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I suggest a small flashlight on a shelf or table. Try diffusing the light with tissue, copy paper, paper towel, Post-it, etc. until you have a pleasing effect. Using a tripod and a zoom lens, rack the zoom as you record the video. In the example I made, I used a 70-200 mm lens starting at the 70 mm end and, as the video recorded, moved the zoom to 200mm.

https://vimeo.com/231375076

  • Nice effect thank you! I tried the flashlight with wide aperture to get a blur effect but did not think about diffusing the light itself. I'll try it out and let you know! – CyberJ Aug 28 '17 at 19:07
  • Please see update. Added photo using lantern. – CyberJ Aug 28 '17 at 20:35
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  1. Grab a piece of black cardboard, or just paint it black.

  2. Make a cylinder that can slide around your lens. It is like an "oversized" lens hood.

  3. Put it in around the lens. You can even slide it if you are shooting video.*

  4. To make it blurry use the widest aperture and keep the focus on an object a bit far from the camera.

  5. To make just a bright spot of light overexpose whatever you have in front of you, a white wall illuminated by the sun, for example, but in reality, you can use a normal scene with more light than necessary. Play with the ISO, the higher ISO the brighter the scene.

    • A moving tunnel can be done either sliding the cylinder or simply zooming in and out with your lens. Try both.

A simple test. f1.4 50mm lens, with a toilet paper as a tunnel. Of course, needs to be painted in black.

enter image description here

But with a wider angle lens (18mm, f5.6) and smaller aperture, it is not working very well, because too much is in focus.

enter image description here

So the option is not to make a cylinder, but a cone, this way the end of the tunnel will be closer to the lens, therefore blurrier.


But probably this specific effect is best done in post. You can control the size and the blurriness.

  • Thank you! I bought cardboard and will test it out. Will let you know the results – CyberJ Aug 28 '17 at 19:05
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This normally occurs when you have particles suspended in the air and film directly into the light. It occurs in foggy or dusty scenarios.

You might be better off adding it in post. In Photoshop you can duplicate a layer, apply a radial blur set to "zoom" mode, and then blend it with the original at 50% opacity and your favorite blend mode.

In a proper video editor like Final Cut Pro X, you can use a "Light Rays" effect. If you use Adobe products, you can look into Red Giant's "Trapcode Shine" plug-in, or create it yourself using a similar technique as mentioned above for Photoshop.

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