I was getting ready to go to a house blessing this evening and one of the seminarians was telling of his week. While on retreat, one of the people had told him about his experience while at adoration. Many of those present had deeply felt the presence and love of Christ present in the Blessed Sacrament. Recounting this story, the young man had felt Christ present and had seen a sort of light as the monstrance passed by. I asked him if that light looked like an anamorphic lens flare.

In the last scene of Given we added an anamorphic lens flare to the monstrance. As opposed to the light rays which shine out of the monstrance in “God in the Streets of NYC” which likely come from Noise Industries’ Light Rays plugin, the lens flare we used comes from Video Copilot’s plugin: Lens Flare. As opposed to simply manufacturing light, the anamorphic lens flare imitates the way that light interacts with an anamorphic lens. It shows the dust in the lens, causes little spikes to shine out from the source, causes lines to cross the lens, and creates little shapes from the lens iris. The anamorphic lens flare imitates the reaction of light within the lens of the camera.

In using the lens flare I wanted to depict that when we come in contact with the light of the world, the reality is not just something that we see. But the reality actually gets inside us, interacts with us, and even changes the way we see things.

This effort was a pain in the neck. I had tried various plugins in Apple Motion. One would not work on my graphics card, and the other one caused Motion to crash…no solution here. So, to get the effect, I had to go into After Effects. The only problem was I didn’t have a copy and I had never used it before. I suppose it is no small feat to attempt to find copy of a program (using the trial period for AE), learn how to use it (namely a piece of animation software-generally extremely complicated), and then install and use a plugin for that program all for the last scene of Given. Well, I got it done in a day.

This work of media is crucial. God wants to use it to touch the hearts of young people. So will we do “What it Takes?”

I hope so.

Fr. Josh