Applications Make Adding Star Trek Lens Flares Easy + More Lens Flare Video Mashups

Much has been said about JJ Abrams directing style in the 2009 Star Trek movie and copious lens flares. Well if you ever wanted to give your photos or videos the JJ Abrams Star Trek treatment there are apps for that. See below how you can add flare to your life, plus some examples lens flares being added to things to make them more…flarey.



Lens Flares? – There are apps for that

If you have Adobe Photoshop, adding a lens flare to a photo is not to hard to do (here is a tutorial to get you started). But that takes owning the software and all that time. Now a new application from Brain Fever Media called LensFlare makes it easy to do lens flares with your iPhone. It is available in the iTunes store for $0.99. Here is a demo video

The folks at io9 had some fun with the app, adding lens flares to some classic movie moments, check out their gallery at

"Star Wars" with lens flares
(click to see more at io9)

And if you are serious about your lens flares you can buy the  Video Copilot Optical Flares plug in for Adobe’s After Effects. The plug-in costs $124.95, but makes those flares come easy, check out the demo.


Lens Flare videos

Last May we showed a video from YouTuber partmor, which showed a 1960s preview from "The Space Seed", done JJ Abrams-style.

Here is more "Space Seed" with flare via JohnnyZito

And here is Star Trek VI with more lens flare (via wcleere).

Is it possible that in the future everything has lens flares? WoodenNickelShore asks this question.

And finally, our old friend Daren Dochterman posted this shot of his excellent model of the original Enterprise "futurized".


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The Lensflares in Star Trek 09 didnt bother me in the least. It sounds like JJ wanted to add something different and unique to the visual that wasnt viewed in the previous movies. I say go for it, its a step in the right direction for that particular movie.

Some of these are pretty cool! I did think it was a bit over done in the movie though.

Its kind of like the constant “rain” in Blade Runner. If ya know where Im coming from.

I’d rather have copious cleavage, a la vintage Bill Theiss.

I would hope that ST2012 finds a new trick or two.

I hope JJ and his team understood the message !!! (the flares weren´t bad at all, but to many) [And give me back an engeenering ROOM !!!]

Daren always has kewl stuff…however as for the lens flares, I sure hope they keep them to a huge minimum in the next movie…please!

Oh come on; it wasn’t THAT bad. Yes, it was a tad overdone, but “Blade Runner” had lens flares, Close Encounters has lens flares (all over that ending, as I recall).

To me, the use of lens flares in Trek 2009 kind of gave me the effect of seeing that all-white pristine new bridge of the Enterprise-A at the end of Trek IV. I liked it, but I agree; a little less in the sequel might be a good thing, guys! ;)

And Daren Dochterman is a genius; he was funny as hell on the Trek panels I’ve seen him in at Comic Con, too.

Vulcan cleavage CmdrR (female that is) would be an nice addition! Lensflares are old hat, keep em in it, but more Female cleavage! Yes of course show male cleavage as well for those that are interested of course (Kirk’s ripped uniform for example).

That short had some beautiful models, but the flares were too overbearing from the star

I like the dirty Daren one the best

As silly and distracting as the lens flares are I like Daren’s use of them on the original Enterprise. Not that’s a lens flare I can live with.


“dirty Daren” that still makes me laugh.

RIP Robert Culp

I really liked the effect and cant see what everyone is bitching about

I really like the updated version of Space Seed.

I thought it worked well in several shots, but agree that it was overused after a while.

5. I sympathize I want a legitimate engineering room as well, no Budgeneering.

I loved the lens flares. It gave it more of a sense of realism to me. It didn’t give me the sense that I was watching a movie but that a camera crew just happened to be there while the situation was occurring. And in that situation, you don’t have the time to set up the perfect shot.

Less lens flares, real engine room. ‘Nuff said.

my friend is tweaking up a film I had directed. He jokingly added a lens flare in one shot and we joked about how adding the lens flare now makes me a visionary director just like JJ Abrams.

seriously a few lens flares can be cool but the level that JJ Abrams did in Star Trek XI was overkill. I felt he actually ruined a lot of good shots with those dreaded lens flares especially when they washed out actors’ faces.

However I do agree with my friend that the lens flare did add something to the visual effects of the film.


I don’t want the documentary style shooting style all the time.

I love good old steadycam shots, dolly tracks and close ups. I like shots to be like art, crafted and designed, not shoot it on the fly.

Actually, I watched ST09 recently and it wasn’t the number of lens flares that sucked – it was the placement. Sometimes they just stank, they were totally incongruous. At others they at least matched the feel of the thing; however you feel about lens flares, at least they made sense.

I just think they didn’t know when to quit putting them in.

I think its interesting that you mention VideoCoPilot.

VCP is run by Andrew Kramer who happened to design the titles for Star Trek 09

Closing Titles i think with all those planes and cast names. He might have even designed the opening title card.

Not planes…planets

Do you have anything that can remove lens flares?

In all seriousness, Abrams went ape with the flares. And I agree with another poster that at times, I could not figure out why a flare was present.

I’m with #20 here. I go to the movies to escape reality. I can get real life by watching the evening news. Flares and shaky cameras make me have to take an Excedrin. Some otherwise beautiful shots in space were ruined by bright flashing and a camerman that looked like he was having a seizure. I noted before my favorite space scene was when the Narada was waiting for Spock to arrive–a nice steady camera and not a flare to be had.

I think all these parody clips way overdone!! The lens flares in ST09 were well done…fact

Oh c’mon, since when do we need so much lens flares in star trek, that is why I prefer the original movies (From “The Cage” to Star Trek X: Nemesis) over the new jjtrek

The lens flares were intended to indicate a moment of danger or where the timeline was taking a different twist. That they appear constantly in every shot is a complete misconception. That’s the weakness with the Youtube clips.

Personally I had no problem with the lens flares and handheld cameras. The complaints demonstrate how conservative Trekkies have become, after years of rather bland Berman Trek stylings.

The lens flares were part of what made the new film so vital and alive!



These make me appreciate Abrams and Mindel’s cinematography even more. They work well actually in the colourful set of the original show, but their presence on a dark Meyer bridge is highly illogical.

The lens flares didn’t bother me, and I think far too much has been made of the matter. I wonder if any other director has been criticized as much for his choices in style?

27. Dom
I agree with you.

28. captain_neill

:p ;)

Agree with #18

(much) less lens flares, real Engineering.
Rest was good (apart from the ridiculous control panels, without any continuous style )

Hey Bob Orci. How about this for the next title for the next Trek. . Star Trek Attack of the Lens Flares. I like it. It’s Exciting.


Dom, totally agreed. Every director trying something new is welcome. Trek has always been too conservative, in terms of styling.

However you stand on the lens flares in the new Star Trek, one of the products mentioned in the original post (VideoCopilot Lens Flares) is good for making photon torpedoes too. I made this video the other day:

I made the phasers using this Light Saber tutorial:

34. Paulaner

Well . . . not always. TOS used quite a lot of handheld camerawork on the bridge and in corridors. The lighting was also extremely stylised and there was phenomenal use of colour, which looks gorgeous on the Blu-rays. Also, Nick Meyer used handheld in all the bridge scenes in TUC, feeling that the bridge was otherwise rather dull.

It’s with TNG onwards that the rather bland, supposedly ‘stately’ look, came in to effect. Compare any TNG-Ent project with the visual dynamism of Nick Meyer’s work or any of TOS directors/cinematographers and 80s-2000s Trek is actually something of a backwards step!

I guess I love the nicely crafted and designed shots.

But it seems flares and shaking the camera is the new revolution of film making. Soon they will shake the camera so much that motion sickness will occur while watching a film.

My eyes!! The goggles do not work!!!

“Every car this year will have holes in it’s sides.”

@17 – well said!

if you listen to any of the million comments that Abrams made about the flares, aside from the ‘documentary feel’ and such, he alos wanted to give the shots some life and maybe the impression that there was more going on than what was being shown in the always present Kirk/Spock bubble world. i know the movie is supposed to be about Kirk and Spock, but c’mon the whole darn universe doesn’t revolve wround those two. there were other people on that ship and other happenings as well. the falres, in my mind, were JJ’s way of adding depth and life to the otherwise static and sometimes lifeless Star Trek shots.

but that’s just me.

theirs never any news about the trek sequel. I feel bored! Even rumors would be great !

#41. Rumor. Bob Orci is considering naming the next movie. Star Trek. Lens Flares.

Those videos were sweet

37. captain_neill: ‘I guess I love the nicely crafted and designed shots.’

But, for the most part, they weren’t especially interesting. TOS demonstrated far greater dynamism and Babylon 5, for all the weaknesses of early CGI technology, had a sense of ambition that seemed lacking TNG and co.

I remember reading somewhere one of the people on those shows saying you ‘can’t’ have shots in Star Trek where the camera moves round the ship, where it’s upside down or whatever. And I used to think: ‘Why not?!’ A symptom of the dreaded Roddenberry Box again, I suppose!

‘But it seems flares and shaking the camera is the new revolution of film making. Soon they will shake the camera so much that motion sickness will occur while watching a film.’

But that’s the thing: it isn’t a revolution and it isn’t something I’m necessarily a fan of (Hello, Paul Greengrass!) But Trek using handheld camerawork and greater dynamism in FX shots is nothing new outside of the TNG universe. It’s just that people’s perceptions of what can be done in Trek have been blunted somewhat by years of rather self-limited, unambitious FX work!

# 13, 17, 27, I totally agree

I don’t know why everyone hates it so much. I loved it, and I loved the movie!!!

Anyway back to the article: so cool! I’m going to have a try with this! Thanks a bunch for submitting this article!

A director who crafted great shots on Star Trek was David Livingston.

He did these shots that were at weird angles, the way he shot Crossover and Distant Origin with weird angles, distorted close ups and low angels was more interesting than shaking the camera and add a lens flare.

I like the new movie, I really do but I have problems with it, but eveyone else seems to be in love with Abrams.

It ain’t the best ever but according to the majority on this site it seems to make me a deviant just because I don’t consider Star Trek XI the best ever Star Trek film.

i agree with 25… seriously… the vid with star trek vi? get serious lol.

the others were pretty good though.

as for the use of lense flares in Star Trek 09, i thought they did a good job of doing it effectively without going over the top. it’s not as bad as some people made it out to be…

‘I’d rather have copious cleavage, a la vintage Bill Theiss.’

‘Cleavage flares’? CmdrR, you may be onto something……. ;-)

whoops. “submitting”? I meant “posting”. sorry

I agree with most here:

Less lens flare


Less shakey-cam!!!!

It’s too distracting!