Even if you know nothing about camera work, you probably know what lens flare is, especially if you’re a Star Trek fan. Essentially it’s the light bouncing off the lens, and there’s nobody who’s used it more than JJ Abrams, to the point where there was even a parody on YouTube called Lens Flare the Movie.
Recently, Abrams admitted he’s gone overboard with this cinematic device, to the point where he even erased some of it out with CGI. As Abrams told Craveonline, “I know I get a lot of grief for that. But I’ll tell you, there are times when I’m working on a shot, I think, ‘Oh this would be really cool with a lens flare.’ But I know it’s too much, and I apologize. I’m so aware of it now. I was showing my wife an early cut of Star Trek Into Darkness and there was this one scene where she was like, ‘I just can’t see what’s going on. I don’t understand what that is.’ I was like, ‘Yeah, I went too nuts on this.'”
Abrams confirmed to Crave that he “actually had to use ILM [Industrial Light & Magic] to remove lens flare in a couple of shots, which is, I know, moronic. But I think admitting you’re an addict is the first step towards recovery.”
Of course, the big question is, will there be lens flare in Star Wars? We’re actually guessing there won’t be, because it would take the movie out of the Star Wars universe, so to speak. As much as Abrams has his own style as a storyteller, and lens flare is one of his trademarks, he’ll probably want to keep the look of Star Wars more traditional, and not too much of a departure from its norm.