Traditionally a light leak occurs when the lens and camera seals aren’t aligned properly. Because of this, light enters the lens and gets distorted. When recording on film, you can’t control these unintentional leaks, but with post-production editing with digital video you can add or edit light leaks as necessary. Light leaks often appear as streaks of light across the frame, or as light bleeding into an image from the edges. This cool effect can create nostalgia, harkening back to old home movies and handheld video cameras.
A lens flare effect mimics the refraction caused by bright light shining into a camera lens. This often appears as a starburst effect or a streak of light across the frame. t can also be added into a video in post. “A lot of music videos and sporting events like boxing and fighting use light streaks and lens flares,” videographer Hiroshi Hara notes. “They add emphasis, drama, and can also look really cool.”