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J.J. Abrams Admits That Sometimes He Overdoes It With The Lens Flare

by Kevin Jagernauth
October 2, 2013 9:30 AM
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JJ Abrams

From Alfred Hitchcock's numerous cameos to Spike Lee's rapid dolly shot to Wes Anderson's unique tableaux, filmmakers have a long tradition of marking their films with distinct visual trademarks. And J.J. Abrams has been no different, with his films littered throughout with cool blue lens flare, so much so they've almost become a running joke. And while he may like the effect, the director admits that even he has taken it too far sometimes.

"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," he told Crave Online. But how overboard can he go? How about to the point where he has to hire people to remove lens flare...

"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 literally 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,' " he continued. "This is how stupid it was... I actually had to use [special effects company] ILM to remove lens flare in a couple of shots, which is moronic. But I think admitting you're an addict is the first step towards recovery."

So, will the lens flare, whip pans and dutch angles continue with "Star Wars: Episode 7"? Somehow, we doubt it. We'd bet Abrams will be rethinking his visual language as he enters the world of 'Star Wars,' but hey, at least he's aware of the problem, right? [via Dark Horizons]

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More: J. J. Abrams, Star Trek Into Darkness

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  • lilhuxtable | October 2, 2013 11:35 PMReply

    His wife was the only one to bring it up. That's all it took.

  • simon | October 2, 2013 4:34 PMReply

    Now if he can move on and focus on the empty box hidden inside some fancy wrapping paper that his movies always end up being maybe he'll improve as a story teller, but I doubt it.

  • Andrew Willis | October 2, 2013 12:10 PMReply

    Slow news day?

  • Mark | October 2, 2013 10:20 AMReply

    It will be interesting to see if Abrams follows Lucas' Kurosawa-influenced style of staging, locked down camera and use of optical wipes, or if he will ditch all that and continue to shoot things the way he usually does. I cant say what style that is as all his films look completely bland and anonymous to me.

  • lu | October 2, 2013 10:18 AMReply

    Yeah, sure, Hitchcock'style was defined by his cameos.

  • sam | October 2, 2013 10:31 PM


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