Add a stunning lens flare to any video

Film industry insiders associate JJ Abrams with lens flare. Why? That's because the flare effect adds some drama to a scene. No movie encapsulates JJ Abrams' penchant for the camera flare than Star Trek Into the Darkness. You can give your video drama the same intensity with some help from a lens flare—then, share your striking creation with collaborators and audiences around the world. With innovative features and intuitive tools, Runway makes it simple and quick to explore, experiment, and excel at your craft.

A trick of the light, brought to life

Want to shift the style of your video in a flash? Enhance your final product with lighting tricks that mimic natural effects, bring vibrancy and interest to transitions, and add texture and dimension to your video. With Runway’s suite of post-production lighting tools, creating fascinating flares is easier than ever.

How To Use Lens Flare

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Add Lens Flare
Discover Runway’s “Lens Flare” effect under “Effects and Filters” in the right-hand panel. Once applied, explore a number of refinement options like translation, rays, and chroma to achieve your desired effect.
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Once you’re happy with how your lens flares came out, you can continue editing or export your finished creation in a variety of resolution and formatting options.


Adding a lens flare to your video shines a bright light on your storytelling skills and creative prowess. In just one click, deliver visual interest and captivating details that speak to your unique style and commitment to artistry.

Build setting

Establish your world and influence your viewers’ experience of your setting, alluding to a specific time of day, transitioning through an establishing shot, or adding a stark quality to indicate an unknown, foreign location.

Punctuate a scene

Draw attention to a setting, character, transition, or plot device, using a well-timed lens flare to underscore what’s important.

Achieve realism

In the natural world, light penetrates, reflects, and distorts objects and scenes. Employ a light flare effect that mimics the adjustment of a human eye to create a video that feels at once otherworldly and naturalistic.

Why Runway?

No matter where you are in the world, you can create stunning visual effects with Runway’s video editing software. Experiment with filters, try out bold techniques, and tap into the magic of collaborative editing. Our all-in-one, cloud-based suite allows your creativity to shine.

Keep it simple

Complete post-production in one place with Runway’s intuitive interface. Enjoy all of your favorite editing hacks with Runway’s complete suite of easy-to-use tools like Green Screen or Inpaint. With everything you need at your fingertips, keep your project on track and arrive at your finished product in a flash.

Spark creativity

With a diverse selection of filters, video templates, and user-friendly functions to get you started, Runway fuels your creativity and adds professional polish to your final cuts. Choose from adaptable presets and versatile effects designed to spark your inspiration and take your projects to the next level.

Share with your co-creators

Streamline workflows and support your co-creators with Runway’s collaborative function. With cloud-based saving and in-browser access, you can invite friends, artists, or clients to follow along with your editing process. All you need is a simple link invite to provide notes, track progress, or even edit scenes in real-time, side by side.
What is a lens flare?
If you’ve ever asked, “what are lens flares?” chances are that you would know them by looking at them, even if you’re unfamiliar with the term. In photography and film, lens flares are natural phenomena that occur when light hits the camera’s prime lens directly and scatters across the film or digital sensor. Because the light is too bright to form an image, it leaves behind visible artifacts instead—typically rings, circles, starbursts, or horizontal lines, depending on the camera's movement.
While lens flares can arise as the unintentional consequences of poor framing and camera lens-quality issues, they can be manipulated and mimicked in post-production to enhance artistic style and add dimension. Whether they’re captured on film or created digitally, light flare can establish a sense of realism, emphasize subjects or moments, and build intensity.
With Runway’s lens flare feature, you can apply a stark, stunning flash of light to your footage wherever and whenever you’d like—without the unseemly glare or unpredictable outcomes that can emerge during filming.
Is it easier to create a lens flare when shooting or during post?
Though you can create a lens flare during shooting, it’s often easier and more effective to apply this effect during post-production.
It may be true that capturing the perfect natural lens flare can turn a day of filming into a momentous occasion, but that’s because it’s so rare—and so risky. Indeed, orienting your film shoot around flares may not be the most effective method if you’re on a budget or a time crunch.
Let’s compare both processes:
  • Natural lens flare – In terms of setup, you need to situate your film set up very specifically to align with your light source. While you’re welcome to let the light hit your lens on full blast, investing in a lens flare hood gives you more control over your light source. If you prefer to have even more control of the lighting situation, you should consider investing in a lens that’s more susceptible to lens flares, such as a zoom lens or anamorphic lens.
  • Digital lens flare – Through the digital process, you’ll add lens flares to your footage after production is complete. The process couldn’t be simpler—you’ll apply a lens flare overlay on top of your video and adjust its speed, duration, brightness, and direction of movement. This process allows you to modify the flare in whatever way you see fit to complement your narrative and aesthetic. With Runway’s AI-powered, precision tools, you can achieve tailor-made flare without all the fuss required to score a desired visual artifact.
To sum it up, while both methods can create stunning visuals, natural lens flares often require careful planning, setups, and investment in equipment. Even if you take all the correct preparatory steps, it’s challenging to anticipate how the light will interact with your story. Thankfully, you can achieve a life-like lens flare while editing your work, all thanks to Runway magic.
How else can I mimic sunlight through editing?
While lens flare images offer dramatic and poignant portrayals of sunlight, there are other ways to capture the warmth and beauty of sunlight through editing.
Even if you ran out of sunlight or had to shoot a scene in less than ideal circumstances, you can boost the light in your video in post—thanks to these helpful features and tools:
  • Light leak overlay – Experiment with Runway’s light leak overlay, which evokes the effect of accidentally light penetrating a roll of film. By recreating this visual artifact on digital film, you can add a layer of nostalgia, warmth, and texture to your video—as well as the implication that you shot your footage in natural light.
  • Vibrance – Amplify the vibrancy of the lesser saturated aspects of your scenes to bring overall radiance to your video. With Runway’s vibrance effect, you can increase the energy and richness of your footage, where natural light fell short. Control the intensity—even when you can’t control the sun—with Runway’s editing software suite.
  • Color filters – Don’t let the sun set on your editing goals. Create colorful visual effects in your video to allude to sunsets, sunrises, and sunny afternoons. Using color filters, adjust your whole video to look like golden hour or a misty morning. Play with cooler tones for sunrise or fold in golds and oranges for sunset. Either way, you’ll build a color story that complements your desired lighting.
Enhancing natural sunlight is just one of the many abilities you can unlock through the world of editing. Discover the possibilities that come with an intuitive post-production platform. With Runway, you can let your creative spirit shine, no matter what production brings.
Will adding a lens flare to my video negatively impact the quality?
Not necessarily. Although considered a technical error, lens flare can improve your video—it just depends on when and how you apply it.
If you’re aiming to achieve a lens flare during filming, you’ll want to shoot in specific circumstances (bright light and stray light included) and with specific equipment (a zoom lens and a lens hood to begin with). In the off-chance that one element fails or something goes awry, you might have to contend with footage that’s overly distorted or a scene that’s too washed out for your liking. You might also run into problems with focus and balance—both of which can impact video quality. In which case, the lens fare becomes unwanted light.
However, if you add a lens flare during the editing process, this effect will not lower your video quality. Adding lens flares can actually improve your video’s quality by reinforcing your storytelling, imparting visual texture, and increasing cinematic style.
In terms of functional benefits, adding a lens flare in post can help you:
  • Adjust light rays brightness
  • Customize lens flare color
  • Allow for digital camera flexibility
  • Maintain continuity
  • Take the pressure off of the filming process
  • Synchronize with audio
  • Increase reach and mobility
With the help of Runway’s full suite of editing functions, you can achieve natural-looking lens flare effect and so much more—all without risking the quality of your footage.
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