Getting as many in-camera effects as possible is always a recommended approach than trying to achieve the same optical illusion later in post. That way, you’re not only saving time and effort, but the final result is also far more believable and authentic. So, if you’re wondering how you can get more in-camera effects, Rayn Connolly of Film Riot shares five excellent tricks that you can apply almost instantly to your production. Just use these techniques as a starting point and build on them by improvising with more creative ideas along the line.
The first on the list is the forced perspective technique. In essence, it’s a classical visual trick utilised for decades in cinema that manipulates viewers’ subjective perception with the use of optical illusions to make objects appear larger, smaller, farther, or closer than they actually are. To achieve the effect you simply need to place your actors further away from each other until you get the result you want. Just don’t forget to keep your aperture as high as possible to prevent ruining the effect by keeping any of your actors out of focus.
The next trick suggests using a slow shutter speed that can add more motion blur to your image. It can be more subtle or extreme depending on how low you set it or how low is your camera able to go. Of course, depending on the particular situation you can try a few different settings, but it’s definitely a technique that can produce some interesting results in the end.
The third method is just the opposite of the previous one. This time, you want to crank up your shutter speed as high as possible to give your action scenes more violent and intense feel. Even though sometimes you might not have noticed it, the odds are you’ve seen this effect quite often, especially in high-octane sequences. The combination of this technique with higher frame rates can push the boundaries of your visual aesthetics even further, so don’t hesitate to give it a try.
Another way to stylise your project is by producing some in-camera anamorphic lens flares. Just tape a fishing line in front of your lens and point your camera towards any source of light. You can also experiment with adding more things to the front of your lens like circle piece of paper or any other suitable material. Alternatively, you can produce a similar effect by scratching a UV filter with sandpaper. However, as Ryan recommends, it’s best to put that stuff on a filter to avoid damaging your lens.
Last but not least, comes lens whacking. To achieve the effect you need to disconnect your lens from the actual mount first. Then you have to operate the camera while moving around the lens. You can also produce some great light leaks that can be a nice addition to any surreal scene. You can also get split diopter effect by putting the lens on an angle which will give you two spots both near and far in focus. The most interesting results on these occasions happen by accident so it’s always recommended to never stop rolling.
Ultimately, if you have more in-camera effects in mind that you want to share with the community, feel free to do so by using the comment section below.