Using Light Leaks To Add Style To Your Films

Whether you’re creating home movies, wedding films, short films or even travel diaries, using light leaks are a great way you to give your films character and really make them stand out.

Light leaks, also known as film burns, haven’t always been a friend to filmmakers. Back in the day, light leaks were considered a pain. In old cameras, film was protected in a sealed chamber, one that light couldn’t penetrate. However, every now and again, general wear-and-tear would cause a tiny gap or hole to form in the camera body, leaking light into the chamber, exposing the film. This excess light, would create interesting flares and shapes on the image.


More recently, light leaks have become a way of giving your films a vintage look. And with the popularity of instant filters, this effect is more popular than ever.

So, how do you get these light leaks? A technique called ‘lens-wacking” is popular amongst DSLR filmmakers. It involves detaching the lens and holding it ever-so-slightly away from the camera body, allowing light to sneak onto the sensor. You can pick up and camera and try it for yourself, the results are instantaneous. With so many variables contributing to the how it looks, it’ll be very difficult to recreate that exact look again. Some people really like the spontaneity.


Some filmmakers elect to do this whole process in post production as it gives them flexibility to control the effect exactly how they want. The really great thing about this is that it doesn’t require much time at all. In fact, it’s probably faster to create this effect in post.


To do this, take any of the major non-linear editing programs that are on the market; Final Cut Pro, Avid Media Composer, Adobe Premiere, Sony Vegas, Etc. Whether you create light leaks yourself or get them from somewhere else, your light leak will be a digital movie file that is shot on a black background. The background being completely black is the key here. Once you’ve got your light leak file, here’s what you do next:

  • Step 1. Import all your media into your editing program. This includes the light leaks you want to use.
  • Step 2. Place your selected light leak onto your timeline directly above the footage you want to enhance. You can always move it around later but it’s best to get it as close as possible.
  • Step 3. Change the blending mode. I prefer using “screen.”
  • In Final Cut Pro X you can find the blending mode in the inspector window, scroll down to the bottom and you’ll find “compositing”, select “screen” from the drop down menu. In Premiere Pro you can find the blending mode under the “effects controls” tab in your source window. For those using Final Cut Pro 6 or 7 (I know it’s hard to let go), you can change the blending mode by simply right clicking on your light leak and scrolling down to the blending mode option.
  • Step 4. That’s all it takes! Play back the footage on your timeline. Looks great right?

Those basic steps are just the tip of the iceberg. Having digital light leaks are great because you can manipulate them any way you like. Change the speed, color, opacity and even the scale. The world is your oyster!

Check out the video below to see it action:

If you’re looking for a great set of light leaks, check out There are over a 120 full HD light leaks that will definitely set your projects apart from the competition.


Security Now podcast from TWIT

Security NowI listen to a lot of podcasts as primary source of media. Over the past few months I’ve been listening/watching more shows from the TWIT Network and “Security Now” has fast become my favorite.

Steve Gibson is the primary host, along with Leo Laporte,  and each week he gives in-depth technical knowledge about computer security. How are attacks taking place, what to look out for, the ins and outs of cryptography. In this week’s show, he talks about iOS security based on the Security document Apple published and calls Apple’s security “crypto heaven” – except for iCloud Keychain.  It’s a fascinating episode to listen to.

If you, like me, are interested in online and computer security, this is definitely a podcast to start viewing. Go to Security Now on Twit to check out the show.


Worlock – Sherlock meets the Doctor!

After watching a podcast interview of the Sherlock team by Apple, I heard about this “Sherlock meets the Doctor!” fan film on youtube. I watched it, and was amazed with the quality of this video. It didn’t look 100% real but it look so darn close. This is an amazing piece of fan work that anyone who is a Doctor Who and Sherlock fan should watch!


Be Real.

It’s been a crazy few months writing code but it’s finally time to unveil Be Real.

Be Real is a mobile destination where you can get help, ask questions, or share your stories with others. We all come from different walks of life where some are more fortunate than others. I believe that everyone should have the chance to have a normal life even when they’ve gone through a lot. I would love to see Be Real be a centralized place not only for those who need help but those who want to help others.

Be Real has been designed not only for webkit-based smartphones and tablets, but also for WAP feature phones.

Be You. Be True. Be Real.

To start the experience of Be Real, go to on your phone


More preference settings are needed for iMessage

iMessage is by far the best feature added to iOS 5.

I use it all the time and every single day. Before iMessage was around I rarely used text messaging because, quite frankly, I didn’t want to pay more for a highly priced text messaging plan.

Although iMessage is awesome, I do wish it had more preference settings, specifically in dealing with sending text messages when iMessage is, for some reason, unavailable.

The preferences for iMessage are bundled under Messages in the System Preference app.

iMessage by default is off, but once it’s activated the only other option is “Send as SMS” which will make the phone push a standard SMS (where regular text messaging rates apply), which is on by default.

I turn this feature off because I don’t want to use text messages, but Apple should add more granular preferences.

1. Give me an option to differentiate between US and International text messages.

This is important because there are times when I don’t mind using text messages in the US but I can wait a few minutes for iMessage to work correctly for international messaging. Allow me to “Send the iMessage when the service becomes available”.

2. Allow me send as an SMS on a per-basis situation.

The phone should attempt to deliver by iMessage but it can’t, so ask me if I want to send it via SMS or wait until iMessage is available.

These are two simple adjustments to iMessage which will really give me the control of how my messages are sent and allowing me to control my costs.


Text to Speech tip

Mac OS X has Services that you can use throughout the Mac. When you right click to get the Contextual Menu, you can often see these options towards the bottom of the menu. Things like, “Tweet”, etc. One new option they’ve added recently is “Add to iTunes as Spoken Track”. You can select any text on the screen, whether it be in Mail, or a web browser, select this option, Choose the voice and name the track and Boom, it’s in iTunes. If you hit play, all the text you selected will be read out to you.

Just think of the possibilities. You don’t have time to read the latest article online, so you quickly select all, “Add to iTunes as Spoken Track”, sync and off you go. You can then listen to the article on your iPhone or iPod.


Steve Jobs, I’ll miss you

I never wanted this day to happen yet we all knew it was coming, perhaps even sooner since Steve’s recent resignation.

Steve Jobs passed away today, and I am very sad along with many others. Twitter and Facebook is full of tributes to Steve Jobs including from those that are surprised they feel this way.

Steve Jobs is my hero, my idol, my inspiration and my mentor.

During the summer of 2001 I was given a wonderful opportunity to go work for the company that Steve Jobs created. I became a QA intern working on a new unknown product called iTunes.

I remember one day, I came to work a little later than normal because I had just been arguing with FedEx as my first Apple Titanium Powerbook had been lost in shipment. I wasn’t in a pleasant mood and just wanted to get to my cube. I walked into the elevator along side another employee and hit the “3″ button. This guy outside the elevator walked in backwards while talking to someone. He kept talking and talking, holding up the elevator. I wanted to say, “ah come on, hurry up”, but I didn’t. He eventually stopped talking, and turned around to face me. I looked at him and was a little shell shocked. It was Steve Jobs. I had heard stories that Steve had fired someone in the elevator so I didn’t know what to say. “Hi, how are you?” was about all I could say. He smiled and replied, “Just a little busy with MacWorld next week”. And with that the elevator opened and I had to walk out. I couldn’t wait to get to my cube to tell everyone else who I had just met in the elevator. He made my day.

I saw him a few times on campus and it always amazed me that for someone who was a billionaire, he always wore the black shirt and gray shorts. But I thought it was great because he’s down to Earth. As interns we also had the privilege to have a Q&A with Steve in Town Hall. He talked about why he came back to Apple, and how passionate he was about not allowing Apple to disappear. And boy, did he turn it around.

Steve was a genius, a thinker, and a believer. He has changed the world, not only for those who have Apple products. He has reinvented the computer, changed the music industry, and revolutionized the mobile industry. With his leadership he has truly revolutionized the world and the way in which we use technology. Even if you don’t own a single Apple product, the products you do own have been created in someway because Apple did.

The world has been forever changed for the better because of Steve’s amazing vision. He turned a company that was on the brink of bankruptcy to the worlds most valuable company. He has created products that change the way we think, the way we do things, and the way we live. It’s these things that I have been inspired by.

Steve, you have influenced and changed my life in many ways in my personal life, my work life, and the even the way I life by. I am passionate with what I do because of you. If I’m going to do something, I want it to be meaningful and I’m not afraid of changing the world. I remember the day when someone called me “the Indian Steve Jobs”, I felt so incredibly proud.

Steve, thank you. Thank you for everything. I will remember you.


Switching to Hover

I’ve been using a well known domain registry for a while now. You know, the one with a crazy super bowl ads, women plastered all over the screen, and more recently with a crazy CEO killing elephants in Africa. I believe enough was enough. After being sick with the constant up sell every-time I tried to do some thing there, I’ve switched to a new domain registry.

I listen to MacBreak Weekly over at, and they’ve been recommending so I thought why not give them a shot. They give you a nice clean interface for transferring and domains with zero, that’s right, zero up sell. It’s clean and quick! It’s awesome. On top of that, within the standard price you get the secure registration where they hide your contact information.

If anyone is interested in a domain name, check out

Update: Just found out they store their passwords as plain text. This is not good and at this point would not recommend Hover.

Update 2: Even though I complained about this, I was told customers want this type of ease of use. However, a few weeks later, this news came out on a major hacking site and Hover had to change their code and say that passwords are now encrypted.


MacOS X Server to be included in OS X Lion

Over the past couple of days I’m surprised that no one has picked up on the fact that Apple is going to be including their server offering inside of the standard Mac OS X.

Up until now if you wanted to run Mac OS X’s server solution which includes their calendar, mail, wiki, and other collaboration tools, you had to either buy their Mac Mini Server for $999 or purchase the software separately and run it on your own hardware. Now, however, when Apple releases the next version of Mac OS X, Lion, you will automatically have all this for free.

It makes sense for Apple to streamline the development of their operating systems as they no longer have just Mac OS X to worry about but instead their iOS too. Simplifying their workload will hopefully make their turn around times with the Mac OS much faster. Of course, it also is great for people to become familiar with the OS X Server offering before deploying it within their home or business.

No matter what, I can not wait to get my hands on Mac OS X Lion when it’s finally released! Thank you Apple.

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