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DIY Projects

Create Proton Streams From Ghostbusters Using Light Painting

By Justin Heyes on September 18th 2014

When there is something strange in the neighborhood, who you gonna call? With its 30th anniversary, Ghostbusters is back in theaters and what would be a better way to celebrate then creating your own proton streams?  Shanks FX shows us a simple method to using things you might have in your junk drawer.

[REWIND:See the ‘World In Infrared’ With Your Own DIY Conversion]




The original film used a mix of in-camera techniques, as well as post-production animation to create the wild ghost wrangling lasso. Shanks’ technique requires some fishing line (as a guide) and light up kids toys (for the core elements). With any sort of light painting, there is some trial and error especially when there is movement in the scene. He describes his process “getting the right light combination for the proton streams probably took 3-4 days of experimenting believe it or not. It does seem simple once we figured out what worked and what didn’t.

The majority of the images were captured at f/22 using 4 second exposures. The final result came out very chaotic in nature, perfect for that proton look. For smoother looking footage (or if you are not a fan of pixilation) the YouTuber recommends using an ND filter to block out any extraneous light except for the proton streams and then composite them in post. I’m gonna grab my unlicensed nuclear accelerator and neutrino wand and try my hand at this ghostbusting ’cause I ain’t afraid of no ghost.

[Via Laughing Squid/Images Screen Caps]

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Justin Heyes wants to live in a world where we have near misses and absolute hits; great love and small disasters. Starting his career as a gaffer, he has done work for QVC and The Rachel Ray Show, but quickly fell in love with photography. When he’s not building arcade machines, you can find him at local flea markets or attending car shows.

Explore his photographic endeavors here.

Website: Justin Heyes
Instagram: @jheyesphoto

Q&A Discussions

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  1. Basit Zargar

    Nice article.

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  2. Justin Heyes

    The video has been re-uploaded. No word on why it was pulled in the first place.

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    • Barry Cunningham

      Thank you.
      Much better with the video.
      Are you able to correct the link in the original article so future readers won’t have to sort through the comments to find a link to cut and paste?

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  3. Andrew Van Arb

    Cool, sure wish the video worked though.

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  4. mugur ic

    Nice article. Thanks Justin!

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  5. Barry Cunningham

    “This video has been removed because it violated YouTube’s Terms of Service.” ???

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  6. Brandon Dewey


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