The Lindsey Optics Brilliant² Rota-Streak Filters are quite a niche product. They provide cinematographers with the ability to create in-camera streak, star, and swirl effects.
What do they do?
Streak Filters basically play with light and create streaks on bright lights and highlights. Now, these type of filters certainly aren’t for everyone, and they’re not going to be something you use on every shoot. They are more of a specialty filter that can be pulled out and used for creative shooting. You can also use the cylindrical Streak Filters as a way to replicate or imitate the type of flares you would see when using an anamorphic lens.
How do they work?
The filters are designed to fit in most professional 4×5.65″ matte boxes. The Brilliant² Rota-Streak Filters are constructed by mounting 138mm Round Brilliant Streak filters in a geared rotating frame that fits in 4×5.65 matte boxes using one stage in the matte box.
If you are using a 138mm streak filter in a rotating filter stage you simply rotate the filter until you find the effect that works for that particular streak. Now, this all depends on what type of streak filter you are using. As the rotating filter stage has 0.8 pitch gears on it, you can also use a motor to rotate the filter during a shot to create a more dynamic rotating streak, star, or swirl effect.
What are they made out of?
The Lindsey Optics Streak Filters are made using a unique manufacturing method to laminate very small cylindrical rod lenses inside the glass filter. By incorporating the rod lenses with different spacing, a variety of streak effects can be achieved. A closer spacing creates a stronger effect, a wider spacing creates a weaker effect.
A diamond pattern creates a star cross effect and the swirls create elliptical flares on specular light sources and highlights.
7 types of filters available
The Brilliant Streak Filters are available in 7 types: 2mm, 3mm, 4mm and 6mm, Diamond Star, Confetti and Swirl. They are also available in 6 colors: Clear, Blue, Yellow, Green, Pink and Red.
The Brilliant Streak Filters are available in Brilliant² 4×5.65/138 Rota Streak and 138mm Round Drop-In sizes. There will soon be 4×5.65″ rectangular streak filters available, and Lindsey Optics can make them in other sizes on request.
Just like every other Lindsey Optics product I have reviewed, the Brilliant² Rota-Streak Filters are exceptionally well made. The filters come in a very sturdy filter frame that fits into 4 x 5.65″ matte boxes.
How do they perform?
This is a hard question to answer as what one person may like, another may hate. They certainly work as advertised, but whether you like the effect they produce it completely subjective. I personally think less is more when it comes to streak filters. I prefer the thinner cylindrical filters in more natural colors myself. Using a 6mm blue streak filter along with something like a Tiffen Glimmer Glass filter can produce softer looking streaks.
It is quite easy to go overboard (and I mean jump way off the boat) with streak filters. In a lot of cases, they can be so overpowering that the only thing a viewer is looking at is these gigantic swirls or streaks. For certain applications like music videos this is fine, but for most other applications, moderation is the key.
Lindsey Optics certainly isn’t the only company that makes 138mm rotatable streak filters, but I do believe they are the only ones who make an option that is already fitted inside a rotatable tray. Some of the other options (that don’t come in a tray mount) include the Tiffen 138mm Streak Self-Rotating Filter ($534.95 USD), and Schneider 138mm Round True-Streak Confetti Filter ($513 USD),
Streak Filters are an easy way to create interesting in-camera effects for certain shooting scenarios. Like a lot of filters, they are just another tool to have in your box of tricks. Like any specialty filter, I personally find that often less is more. If you use them in subtle ways and don’t try to go over the top (sorry for the Stallone reference) you can certainly add a little bit of creative flair to your shots.
The Lindsey Optics Brilliant² Rota-Streak Filters are well made, easy to use, and are optically very good. While they aren’t for everyone, some shooters will find them useful for the type of work they do.