"Magic Bokeh" Lens

Not sure if there’s a better place to put this, but this is a hell of a cool lens trick. It’d be awesome to see this combined with video shenanigans


really neat! i love those “special effects” lenses. i have a couple Cokin lenses such as:

multi parallel prism

(not my image: source)

multi image filter


Never tried lens modding since it has always seemed a bit fiddly, with a high chance of irreparable damage (maybe if I scored some particularly cheap/free lenses?), but I do have a few Russian lenses that have pretty nice bokeh in their stock form. The Helios 44-2 has especially dramatic swirly bokeh at larger apertures. Though certainly nothing as extreme as the example posted above.

Also a fan of special effects filters. My favorite is Hoya’s “linear motion” filter, which does sort of an edge blur effect:

The above portrait was cropped so only one side of the blurring is visible

If I recall correctly, this feedback image is the linear motion filter on a camera rotated 90 degrees, so there is both horizontal and vertical blurring


This is something I’ve been wondering about. I’m primarily a photographer, and have a big collection of old lenses… including some weirdo ultra fast ones. (shameless plug below)…

I’ll report back once I’ve done some experiments with the footage from the ultra bokeh lenses!


Very cool stuff here. Anyone have any examples or comments regarding the usage of bokeh-flavored lenses while recording video? Particularly interested in how they might hold up for rescanning a small PVM with a tripod setup for capturing some live glitches. The vignetting and light flaring effects with some moderation seems like a great way to get some really cool vintage-looking videos, but I’m not sure about how factors like the TV size/glass and focussing features of these types of lenses might yield something watchable compared to a more conventional lens.

I’ve recently had some luck shopping for old CCTV cameras for pennies on ebay and at the local repurpose shop, with many coming with some relatively nice 16mm/C-mount lenses still attached. I’ve read those can achieve some interesting swirlies when paired with modern cameras. Excited to try those out with a borrowed Canon DSLR as soon as the adapter comes in the mail, will post an example if I get something that looks cool!


For re-scanning, the bokeh/wider apertures won’t really do anything all that interesting unless you are looking to shoot at an angle and just get part of the screen in focus. Since the screen will be pretty much on the same plane/same distance from the sensor, it will all be roughly within the same focal range. To get the bokeh etc it would need to be a greater distance, even at f0.95.

You could get some pretty cool shots where half the picture was in focus very sharp, and the rest very blurred out, but it would be more abstract and less a full frame… watchable coherent image, if that makes sense.


Have done some experiments with different methods of rescanning. And, yeah, for straightforward, straight-on stuff weird lenses don’t do too much. But you can get a lot of nice effects, which I quite like, when shooting macro and at an angle. It can introduce soft artifacts that offset the hard grid of the raster.

Though I will say that different lenses (besides maybe a Lensbaby) are often less interesting than putting prisms or other filters/reflectors between lens and screen.

I don’t have any video posted anywhere, but here are a few still shots I took while “free-lensing” (basically just not attaching the lens to the camera, so you get a tilted focal plane, like a Lensbaby but much cheaper and with added light leaks).


This is a cool idea. I hadn’t thought of creating art from the screen itself as opposed to… well, separate from the content of what is being displayed. Some of these stills are beautiful! Thanks for sharing.


just gorgeous! inspiring work. i have been recording direct captures for a while but this reminds me of the wide possibilities in rescanning. thanks for sharing.

1 Like

“We use a lot of lens distortion for Ptolemy’s POV,” says Peters. “When [Jackson] was in frame, we used a lot of split diopters and broken glass. We wanted to dirty the frame in as many ways as optically possible. All in-camera.”

The usual tray of lenses was not enough either. Peters got a little kooky, a little more creative. A cinematographer can’t make imperfections; it has to come naturally or unnaturally — design by accident.

“We used different types of broken glass,” he says. “Sometimes bottles. We would actually cut off their ends, the bottoms of bottles. We can get a lot of in-camera optical effects on the lines within the glass.


I absolutely love what you’ve managed to achieve in these stills! I’m a big fan of exploring the physicality of analog gear itself so this is right up my alley and is very inspiring. Thanks for sharing!