Light Leaks have always been considered a nuisance to filmmakers. The problem is due to a manufacturing problem or general wear-and-tear that would cause light would spill through a hole or gap in the body of a camera and “leak” into a sealed chamber. The result is the film being exposed to unaccounted light. However, with editing styles and film looks changing so quickly, what was once thought as a problem is now becoming a stylistic technique. Filmmakers are using light leaks, film burns and lens flares to add tone, style and colour to their films.
How To Create Light Leaks
There are a few ways to create your own light leaks. The first way is to use a techniques known as, lens-whacking, to do this, simply detach your lens from your camera body and hold it ever-so-slightly in front, leaving a small gap for light to spill onto your sensor. You should be able to see the results instantly on your viewfinder. Playing with the size of the gap with will increase the intensity of the light leak.
Another way to make light leaks is to film them in a controlled environment. Unlike outside, where the sun is your main source of light, being in a controlled studio environment (we say studio, but we really mean a dark office) you will have to get creative with your light sources.
Use a tripod or table to hold camera in place. Set up a black background to shoot against. This will be important later. Now, with a flashlight shine light into the corners of your lens until you get the look you desire. You can experiment with colours and eve different kinds of lights. Place glass objects in front of your lens to get even more unique looks. Once you have all your footage filmed you can then import it into your favourite editing program, drag the clip onto of your footage and set your blending mode to screen. Now watch the magic unfold.
If you’re looking to give this technique a try you can get some free light leaks at www.lightleaks.me
Here’s an example of how it all works: