Lens Flare For HDR Enhancement And Lighting Repair

June 6, 2024

Learn how to use Lens Flares to add dynamic range in HDR workflows while also repairing and texturing the clipped highlights of light sources.

Using the Lens Flare Resolve FX to add dynamic range and smooth clipped highlights

This Insight teaches you how to use the Lens Flare ResolveFX to replace and repair lighting while adding dynamic range to a shot. This is particularly helpful for High-Dynamic-Range (HDR) workflows when labouring with blown-out lighting from Standard Dynamic Range (SDR) or archival media. Still, it works well even in fully Standard Dynamic Range workflows.

Smoothing clipped highlights

I work predominantly on long-form documentaries, which often contain a substantial amount of archival media. The lens flare plugin in DaVinci Resolve has become my go-to fix for any footage with blown-out or clipped lighting, such as the sun or lights.

The flat tops in this Waveform indicated clipped highlights that can be improved with a Lens Flare plugin. If you’re grading in HDR, Lens Flare can add dynamic range and a touch of texture.

Lens Flares are also a great way to tie shots together if they have different times of day but are cut together from various angles, one with a blown-out sun and the other shot with no sun or flare. When done right, that little touch of magic dust sprinkles a shot and elevates it to the next level.

Use your favourite Lens Flare plugin

I’m using the Resolve FX Lens Flare since it ships with DaVinci Resolve. But like every effect within the Resolve Fx Light category (except Light Rays), this is a Studio-only effect. But given that most 3rd party Lens Flare plugins cost the same (or more) for a license of Resolve Studio, if you like what you see in this Insight – then upgrading to Resolve Studio opens up the ResolveFX Lens Flare plug-in and dozens of other features.

Key takeaways from this Insight

By the end of this Insight, you should understand how to:

  • Use the lens flare OFX in DaVinci Resolve
  • Track with the FX Tracker to blend in the flare with the movement of the shot
  • Mask the flare with on-screen elements
  • Look at the shape of the light in the scopes and use that as a reference for repairing the clipped data

Questions or Comments? Leave a comment!

Do you use the Lens Flare as a repair or shot-matching tool? Let us know how you like to use it and if you have any favourite settings that help you dial its look.

– Zeb

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