What Is Light Flicker?
One of the most irritating things that can happen to any content creator and filmmaker is when they have shot an amazing scene and then when they import it to their system for editing, they realize there exist some defects in the video. The defect can be many things like noise, overexposure, and in the case of today’s subject, light flickering.
Light flicker happens when the speed of your camera shutter is not in sync with the frequency of the light source. Lamps, Neons, or any other light source, pulses based on the standard frequency of the electricity in the region. For example, the frequency for the US is 60hz and the UK is 50. To counter this issue, many videographers try to sync their shutter speed with the light frequency. RED actually has a tool that will calculate the perfect shutter speed for any Power Frequency based on the frame rate you would like to film in.
If you are a careful videographer that always remembers to do that sort of stuff then great! I really envy you. But if you are like me and always forget stuff left and right, then this blog post is going to help you save some amazing footage that you might have thought is ruined and has no use.
No Plugin Method
There exist more than one way to salvage a flickering video. The first one is the no plugin method which really blew my mind the first time I learned it! So in order to do this method, you first have to duplicate your footage and stack them on top of each other. Then you go to the Effects Control panel and set the opacity of the top footage to 50. Then go back to the timeline, move the top footage one frame forward and DONE! Goodbye flicker!
This method works wonders, as long as your footage does not include any fast-moving object. You can also move this method one step further by stacking three lines of footage, just remember to set the opacity to 67 and 33 on the copied footage.
If for any reason you can not use the previous method, or if it didn’t work for your footage, do not worry, there is a plugin for that! Among a list of different plugins, Flicker-Free is the one I found to be the best and easiest to use! Flicker-Free is a plugin by Digital Anarchy and it is a really good and comprehensive solution when it comes to getting rid of that nasty light flicker. just keep in mind that the plugin is not free but I believe it worth the price if you are trying to work professionally. Also, I have to say that I am not in any way affiliated with this brand, I’m just suggesting it based on my personal experience and preference.
To make Flicker-Free work, all you have to do is to go to your Effects panel and search for Flicker-Free. Then you can drag and drop the effect onto your footage. If you go to your Effects Control panel and check under Flicker-Free, you can see that you have some options to play with. You generally do not need to mess with these things because almost always the preset does the job. The only thing you may need to change is the presets. Since flickering can appear in different forms, you may need to change the presets to fit your situation.
Just keep in mind, this plugin, or any other solution, as far as I know, are not miracle workers. In footage with moving objects, you may see some halos and degrade especially around the moving object. So you have to approach these methods with that in mind. But in most cases, the small loss in quality is a sacrifice totally worth making.
Flickering videos can be big bummers but fixing them can also be somewhat of an easy job. Of course, it is always better to consider all the things before and while shooting a scene, but these sort of problems are among those minor inconveniences that are going to happen here and there, so having a Plan B to sort them out is what differentiates a hobbyist from a professional. I hope today’s blog has helped you elevate your video production, content creation, and video editing work!
Best of luck, and bye!