Using the BCC FxPlug Lens Flare in Final Cut Pro

Lens Flare Filter

In this tutorial we will use the bcc lens flare filter to generate a point light source and a lens flare effect that we will track automatically to the camera motion in the clip to which the filter is being applied

  • Let's start by launching Final Cut Pro
  • into FCP we'll import the Artbeats stock clip "lake.mov"
  • Let's scrub the clip to familiarize ourselves with the motion that is generated by the slow right to left pan of the camera.

Lens Flare Filter

What we are looking in the clip for ideally is an area that remains visible throughout the shot. In this particular clip we can see what appears to be the top of a building just on the edge of the tree line in the center of the image and that this remains visible from the start to the end of the clip and is not obstructed by another element in the scene. This is the spot that we will use to capture the camera motion.

Lens Flare Filter

  • Apply the BCC Lens Flare filter to the clip by dragging it from the filter list directly onto the clip in the timeline
  • Double click the clip in the timeline to bring the filter controls into the filters tab where they can be accessed

Lens Flare Filter

Before we set up the look of the lens flare that we want to add to the image, let's track the camera movement

  • It is important to set the play head at the start of the clip in the timeline so that the motion tracker can track the clip in it's entirety
  • Scroll down through the filters' parameter list until you see the Motion Tracker group
  • Click on the arrow beside the Motion Tracker to reveal the motion tracking parameters
  • Click on the Track On-the-Fly checkbox to enable the motion tracker

Lens Flare Filter

When you do this the filter displays a box within a box over the image clip. The inner box is the target region and the outer box is the search region. These two boxes instruct the filter to search for a targeted group of pixels, which are in the inner box, within the outer search box on the next frame in the clip. The size of both of these boxes can be controlled by the user. The smaller that you make the box, the faster the tracking process will run, however there is a limit as to how small you should make these boxes, which is dependent on the detail in the clip and how fast the pixels in the image move from frame to frame. The rule to follow is that the target area must be found within the search area on the next frame - if the target group of pixels is not within the search region on the next frame then the tracker will fail and generate an erroneous result.

  • Click on the button next to the Tracker Center KF parameter to enable the on-screen point picker widget
  • Click on the image in the Canvas to position the Tracker Center on the object that we identified earlier as a good tracker location
  • Set the value of the Target Width parameter to 3
  • Set the value of the Search Width parameter to 10
  • Click on the Canvas Window to make that the current window selection
  • From the FCP pulldown menu select: Mark>Play>Every Frame

Lens Flare Filter

This action will set the tracker in motion. When tracking is complete the playback will stop and you should see a line drawn across the image indicating the path that the camera took as it panned from right to left.

Lens Flare Filter

  • Disable the Tracker by clicking the Track On-the-Fly checkbox.

The Motion Tracker on-screen display will disappear from the Canvas Window. Now we'll apply the recovered camera motion to the Lens Flare source light position.

Lens Flare Filter

  • Scroll down the filter parameter listing until you find the Apply parameter.
  • Change the pop-up from None to Light Source

Lens Flare Filter

Lens Flare Filter

Now the light source will move along with the camera and remained locked down in the scene. Although the Light Source for the Lens Flare is being tracked and is locked to the tracking target, we can offset the position of the Light Source from the original group of pixels that we tracked.

  • Set the value of the parameter Offset X to -0.45
  • Set the value of the parameter Offset Y to -0.13

Lens Flare Filter

The Light Source is now positioned in the upper left quadrant of the image instead of the original position in the middle right of the clip.

Next, we'll adjust some of the parameters of the Lens Flare to make it look just the way we want.

Lets use the factory installed presets to get a look that is based on a real world lens flare.

  • Click on the preset pop-up at the top of the filter and take a look at the various lens types and the flares that each one will generate by selecting them in turn and observing the image result in the Canvas

Lens Flare Filter

All of the parameters that are in the Lens Flare can be modified by the user even after a preset has been selected.

  • Select the preset Standard50-300Zoom

Lens Flare Filter

  • Set the value of the parameter labeled Global Intensity to 80
  • Set the value in the parameter labeled Global Scale to 1.25
  • Click on the button next to the Pivot Point parameter to enable the on-screen point-position widget
  • Set the position of the pivot point in the upper center of the image by clicking on the Canvas window right where you want to position the pivot. Alternately you can enter these numeric values -11.25 (x) -92 (y)

Lens Flare Filter

We are now ready to render the finished effect.

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