Cinematography Mailing List - CML

Drunk POV Shot

I have to do a POV sequence of a "drunken drug-crazed" person. It is night exterior in Vegas with a lot of lights.

The director has asked me to find a "drunk filter" -- something I can shoot through that will give us a "warped" image. He did something one time with a piece of glass block glass over the lens.

I'm sure Clairmont's squishy lens is perfect, but we want to handhold and I need something inexpensive.

Anyone have any ideas on this one ?

Jim Dollarhide

Weegee (aka Arthur Fellig) used to take plexiglas, heat it, and bend it in odd shapes. You can sometimes find a book he wrote in the 50s about this, or see some of his films (yes, he made movies too) shot with these devices.

Or try shooting it drunk, handheld...

Jeff "a few litres of Beychevelle, maybe?" Kreines

Clairmont, also has a set of filter's I believe created by /for Dante

Spinotti for the film "Sliver".

The concept was a woman who was regaining her sight witness's a murder but because her vision is blurring, wavy, sorta of broken focus....

The filter's are acrylic that has been effected by heat.

They are uneven in their physical appearance and I believe they require their own matte box. It has been years since I shot with them. They are certainly worth the investigating.


spencer newman

I shot stock footage in the Fremont St area in LV last year-real trippy light effects. The Squishy was too limiting, it's mostly for on axis distortion. I took some of Clairmont's "blink filters"-melted plastic sheets that use different wiggle patterns for the effect.

They were 6x6, and I don't recall anything smaller. Call Todd in Clairmont's rental area, they're always ready to help out.

The mattebox that goes with these is far too big to deal with. We held the filter in front of the lens and created some really interesting looks. You might try the mesmerizer as well. If you want to see a sample, email me.

Kent Hughes



Panavision has a rental item called a "Mesmerizer". It is an anamorphic lens element that is placed over your taking lens and rotated manually. It distorts and sort of bends the image. They also have one that is permanantly attatched to a 5:1 zoom and here the anamorphic element is motorized for smoother operation. But if your shot is hand-held, the zoom might be the wrong way to go.

I have also used a low magnification diopter held in front of the lens and moved about in a random manner. The effect created is obviously the image coming in and out of focus but it looks completely different than just manipulating the focus on the lens. Also, the diopter, when moved from side to side in addition to in and out, creates an interesting "shifting" effect.

Paul Maibaum


Mesmerizer comes to mind. PS&E in Atlanta has one. Not only in distorts the image, you also have ability to rotate image 360%. For a drunken person sounds just right.

Ben Butin


These are the "Blink filters". Prety ungainly with the rotating mattebox, but you can hold the filter in front of the lens for some cool fx. I would try the squishy with the mesmerizer-could be a cool gag-but your talking about weight again...

Kent Hughes



How about a flat with some KY Jelly applied to the edges? This is especially useful if you need for this to work at varying degrees with different focal lengths. If you use a circular filter in a rotating stage you can have the effect move with a Microforce...

Another interesting effect is to cut antique glass into filter shapes and shoot through that. A bit weird if the focal lenghths are too long. Or tape pieces of this same glass to the edges of the matte.

Then there's those plastic fresnel lenses. They can be quite cool because the filter can be bent - adding a dynamic element to the effect.

Saran Wrap can be an interesting look...

David Perrault, csc

Sounds like a fun job! You might want to try a very wide angle lens mounted with one of those "effects" filters sold for 35 MM still cameras. Use a lens with a smaller diameter front so the filter will cover. I believe Cokin makes some wacky stuff that might work for you. You might try having someone off camera shine a light into the filter to get some flares. Also, you might consider one of the lipstick cameras; they were used for some fantastic POV shots in the fight sequences in "Ali."

I would also think about some post effects, like corner to corner warps.

Leo Ticheli



Mylar plexiglass is cheap and easy. Have two warm bodies handhold the plexi. Bend it as you wish. It may take some coordination but it may be worth a try.

Tom Jensen LA

Jim for your need to distort an image, similiar to what we've all seen over the past festive days ??

Try a filter size piece of Perspex which can be bent over heat, radiant or flame and this can certainly produce some random disortion.

Les Parrott

Hey Steven Gladstone showed us his reel today as a matter of fact...he had this cool effect done w/ an anamorphic lens held in front of the camera lens and moved around. Or something like that-I was kind of in a hurry, so now he can explain it himself, if I got it all wrong...

John Babl


I have used various old glass dinner plates (cake plate size works well) found in thrift/second hand shops. Cost about $1. Keep a couple in my "Fx" filter kit. AC's love 'em!

As with other optical distortion filters varying results can be had by rotating or shooting through a different area of the plate. The old glass doesn't have same "look" from side to side, sometimes it's "ripply" some times just unusual. Instead of rotating, since it sounds like you'll be taking a drunken walk, camera movement does an interesting thing Shot a POV of ghostly vision through my favorite cake plate after trying the bent plexi and stressed mylar thing. Had a piece of Christmas Pannetone off one of the little beauties as well

Ken Peterson



Maybe some effect that simulates a video slow shutter (4 or 8) w/ small pan moves (something like warp speed).

Best luck



I believe that the video slow shutter is itself an emulation of shooting film at 6 and TK'ing at 6

Good effect for this.

Geoff Boyle FBKS

Director of Photography

For another part of this same show, I'm shooting at 3 and tk'ing at 3, so this part is not an option. This "drunk" part needs to be an "optical" effect.

Jim Dollarhide

Director of Photography

I didn't have the opportunity to try that, maybe somebody could say if it works or not:

Shooting through some moving liquid solution in front of the lenses and then use it w/ slomo.



Among the best distorted POV scenes are ones that over-print the same shot, but offset by a few or more frames, often in addition to distorting the image optically.

I vaguely remember a remake of a famous B&W Noir film, starring Dennis Quaid and shot by Yuri Neyman (D.O.A.), that contains interesting POV shots. (The star, who has been poisoned prior to the film's opening, is walking toward a police station, I think.)


Jerry Cotts


I agree that the Mesmerizer would be an excellent "drunk filter" for your sequence. If you could rig a mesmerizer in front of swing and shifts (Although it's likely not possible to mount a mez that way) you could create stretched cool moving vignetting.

Illya Friedman

Camera Assistant (Sometimes DP)

Van Nuys, CA

When I think of the times when I've been really drunk, my perception under the influence seems to have been one of variable tunnel vision. Since it was so difficult to focus on anything, when I could focus on something or someone, everything else blurred or faded away in vignette fashion.

I've done this effect with a piece of the clear wrapper from a roll of Rosco or Lee. We burned a hole in it and centered it over the front of the lens with rubber bands and added a ProMist to even out the difference between Roco'd and non-Rosco'd lens. Kind of a poor man's swing&tilt. Any clear Visqueen should work as well.

You could play with ND vignetting in post as well, using Power windows, etc. or combine the FX with a Mesmerizer for full-on blotto.

Rob Lindsay

Nashville/LA DP

There is an effect used the The Road Warrior that might be appropriate for your purposes. The scene is after Max has tried to make a getaway from the compound and wrecks his car, his dog gets shot, he barely survives and drags himself off thru the brush.

The footage of his crawling was layered upon itself and occasionally several of the layers were quickly dissolved in and out as they shook to the left and right. Gave a great sensation of being barely conscious. When the Gyro pilot rescued him, Max's POV was shown using the same effect with the added dimension of shifting the layers in time as well as lateral displacement.

I think the universal experience of anyone who gets really shit faced is seeing double. (At least that's what I've been told.

This technique would convincingly pull that off.

Glenn Suprenard Dir/DP



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