Shooting through weird contraptions, household items, nylon stockings or broken glass is nothing new, but when it comes to getting that dreamy, specialty shot or “look”, you do what you have to and get the shot however you can using whatever you have at your disposal. Flarestick is pitched by inventor and DP Dirk Wojcik as lens flare crystals designed by professional DPs for working DPs.
Coming through the trenches of early 90’s music video shoots, Dirk shot through crystals from chandeliers, sellotape, vaseline, nylon stockings, and broken glass to battle the digital video look of early Betacams that were widely used at the time. It wasn’t uncommon back then (and even now) for DPs to have their own “secret weapons, or secret sauce” for creating partial blurring or reflections in the camera lenses getting special shots for highly stylized fashion, commercial or music video shoots.
According to Dirk, the idea arose to bring this homemade collection of “tools” into a more professional form that is easier to handle gave birth to Flarestick.
Flaresticks have been developed by DoPs so filmmakers don’t have to resort to using “home improvement store” substitutes such as used crystals, glass fragments and cellophane gels anymore.
Thanks to a 20 cm long transparent stick attachment, designed so that the shaped glass body of the crystal can easily be placed in front of the camera lens and into the desired position. You can then quickly create the desired blurring and reflection effects by moving the Flarestick around in front of your lens to your preference.
The Flarestick is apparently constructed out of high quality crystals and you can get a few different varieties each yielding a different effect.
- Fat Lady
- biggest crystal they have, for less defined glitter effect
- Fairy’s Favourite
produces an impressive, beautifully detailed radiation effect
Can be used without a flashlight
ideally suited to create partial blurring, soft areas in the frame
- Magic Wand
- flat in his shape to cover a larger area in the frame with a relatively small and light cut
- Cut is not as fine as that of Pixiedust and Fairies Favorite, but can render beautiful flare effects in combination with a flashlight
- Can be used for partial blurring
- The Ball
- Get loads of flares when used with a flashlight
Each Flarestick is sold for about €45, which is approximately $52; which is not exactly cheap; however there is the added convenience of the added stick/handle and multiple varieties for different effects. There is also a bundle of three that is priced at €109 (meaning you can get them for about €36 and change.
It would be interesting to see how these perform when put against the cheaper, off-the-shelf chandelier crystals that you can find online for about $8-10, as a I am sure the availability of such will be pointed out rather quickly by some of you in the comments.
And I agree, the price is high for a product of this nature, but this is after all pitched as a “pro” product so 🙂 if you charge €800 as your daily rate you should be able to afford it. At least I think that’s what the rationale behind the pricing probably is (of course, not disregarding the fact that there is labour and cost involved in the manufacturing and sourcing of these items).
In any case, in the event that I make any money off my bet on England winning the World Cup, I may buy one. Or three.
To learn more and order some head over to Flarestick.com