Written by Charles McCollough

Mar 22, 2024
3 minutes
Halation in Video Design: The Hollywood Glow

In the golden age of Hollywood cinema, filmmakers utilized various techniques to create a sense of glamour and allure on the silver screen. Generally around bright light sources a technique called halation (known as the “Hollywood glow) was used to add a soft ethereal quality to images. In this blog post, we’ll delve into the concept of halation in cinematography, its historical significance, and how modern video artists are using ND filters to recreate this iconic look and style.

Understanding Halation in Video Design

Halation, derived from the word “halo,” refers to the soft, glowing aura that appears around bright light sources in a photographic or cinematic image. Cinematographers often manipulate light to scatter or reflect off the surface of a lens and will create a subtle halo effect that enhances the scene. Moreover in classic Hollywood films, halation was often deliberately incorporated to evoke a sense of romance, nostalgia, or fantasy, lending an enchanting quality to the visuals.

The Importance of ND Filters

Neutral density (ND) filters are essential tools in the cinematographer’s arsenal for controlling exposure and achieving desired creative effects. These filters are essentially sunglasses for your camera lens. They reduce the amount of light entering the lens without affecting color or contrast. Additionally by using ND filters, filmmakers can maintain a shallow depth of field and achieve smooth, cinematic motion blur, even in bright lighting conditions. ND filters can enhance the appearance of halation by diffusing light and softening highlights, resulting in a more dreamlike and cinematic aesthetic.

Recreating the Hollywood Glow with ND Filters

Modern video artists are using ND filters to recreate the classic Hollywood glow in their cinematography. Specifically by strategically positioning light sources and adjusting filter strength, filmmakers can achieve stunning visual effects reminiscent of vintage cinema. A ND filter can create a allure of halation and add an extra layer of cinematic magic to the screen.

Halation in Video Design ND Filters

Practical Tips for Using ND Filters

  1. Choose the Right Filter Strength: Select ND filters with varying densities to suit different lighting conditions and creative preferences. Simultaneously experiment with different strengths to achieve the desired halation effect.
  2. Experiment with Lighting: Play with the placement and intensity of light sources to accentuate halation and create dynamic visual effects. Subsequently consider using practical lighting fixtures or incorporating natural light for added realism.
  3. Maintain Visual Consistency: Ensure that halation remains consistent throughout the scene to maintain visual coherence and avoid distractions. Pay attention to lighting continuity and adjust filter strength as needed thus achieving a cohesive look.
  4. Post-Production Enhancement: Enhance halation effects in post-production using color grading and compositing techniques for added depth and dimension. Additionally, experiment with different blending modes and opacity settings to achieve the desired level of glow.
Halation in Video Desgn

Final Notes on Halation in Video Design

Halation continues to inspire filmmakers and video artists alike, offering a timeless aesthetic that transcends eras and genres. Presently creators can evoke the magic of vintage cinema and imbue their work with the enchanting allure of halation. This technique recreates the romanticism of old Hollywood. Add a touch of nostalgia to contemporary storytelling with halation. A powerful tool for capturing the imagination and captivating audiences around the world.

What do we use to create the Hollywood Glow? Learn more about Polar Pro below:

Polar Pro Mist Diffusion Filters

To learn more about Qi Graphic Design’s video design services, click below:

Video Design



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