It’s been 5 years since we released Flicker Free, and we can for sure say flickering from artificial lights is still one of the main reasons creatives download our flicker removal plugin. From music videos and reality-based videos to episodics on major networks, small productions to feature-long films, we’ve seen strobing caused by LED and fluorescent lights. It happens all the time and we are glad our team could help fix flickering and see those productions look their best as they get distributed to the public.
Planning a shoot so you can have control of your camera settings, light setup and color balance is still definitely the best way to film no matter what type of videos you are making. However, flickering is a difficult problem to predict and sometimes we just can’t see it happening on set. Maybe it was a light way in the background or an old fluorescent that seemed fine on the small on-set monitor but looked horrible on the 27″ monitor in the edit bay.
Of course, in a perfect world we would take our time to shoot a few minutes of test footage, use a full size monitor to check what the footage looks like, match the frame rate of the artificial light to the frame rate of the camera and make sure the shutter speed is a multiple/division of the AC frequency of the country we are shooting in. Making absolutely sure the image looks sharp and is free of flicker! But we all know this is often not possible. In these situations, post-production tools can save the day and there’s nothing wrong about that!
Travel videos are the perfect example of how sometimes we need to surrender to post-production plugins to have a high-quality finished video. Recently, Handcraft Creative co-owner Raymond Friesen shot beautiful images from pyramids in Egypt. He was fascinated by the scenery but only had a Sony A73 and a 16-70mm lens with him. After working on set for 5 years, with very well planned shoots, he knew the images wouldn’t be perfect but decided to film anyways. Yes, the end result was lots of flicker from older LED lights in the tombs. Nothing that Flicker Free couldn’t fix in post. Here’s a before and after clip:
Spontaneous filmmaking is certainly more likely to need post-production retouches, but we’ve also seen many examples of scripted projects that need to be rescued by Flicker Free. Filmmaker Emmanuel Tenenbaum talked to us about two instances where his large experience with short films was not able to stop LED flicker from showing up on his footage. He purchased the plugin a few years ago for “I’m happy to see you”, and used it again to be able to finish and distribute Two Dollars (Deux Dollars), a comedy selected in 85 festivals around the world, winner of 8 awards, broadcasted on a dozen TV channels worldwide and chosen as Vimeo Staff Pick Premiere of the week. Curious why he got flicker while filming Two Dollars (Deux Dollars)? Tenenbaum talked to us about tight deadlines and production challenges in this user story!
Those are just a few examples of how artificial lights flickering couldn’t be avoided. Our tech support team often receives footage from music video clips, marketing commercials, and sports footage, and seeing Flicker Free remove very annoying, sometimes difficult, flicker in the post has been awesome. We posted some other user story examples on our website so check them out! And If you have some awful flickering footage that Flicker Free helped fix we’d love to see it and give you a shout out on our Social Media channels. Email firstname.lastname@example.org with a link to your video clip!