Tag Archives: deflicker

Flicker Free 2.0 Beta!

It’s been a long time coming, so we’re pretty excited to announce that Flicker Free 2.0 is in beta! The beta serial number is good until June 30th and will make the plugin fully functional with no watermark. Please contact cs@nulldigitalanarchy.com to get added to the beta list and get the serial number.

There are a lot of cool improvements, but the main one is GPU support. On Windows, on average it’s about 350% faster vs. Flicker Free 1.0 with the same settings, but often it’s 500% or more. On Mac, it’s more complicated. Older machines see a bigger increase than newer ones, primarily because they support OpenCL better. Apple is doing what it can to kill OpenCL, so newer machines, which are AMD only, suffer because of it. We are working on a Metal port and that’ll be a free upgrade for 2.0, but it won’t be in the initial release. So on Mac you’re more likely to see a 200% or so increase over FF 1.0. Once the Metal port is finished we expect performance similar to what we’re seeing on Windows. Although, on both platforms it varies a bit depending on your CPU, graphic card, and what you’re trying to render. 

The other big improvement is better motion detection, that uses optical flow algorithms. For shots with a moving camera or a lot of movement in the video, this makes a big difference. The downside is that this is relatively slow. However, if you’re trying to salvage a shot you can’t go and reshoot (e.g. a wedding), it will fix footage that was previously unfixable.

A great example of this is in the footage below. It’s a handheld shot with rolling bands. The camera is moving around Callie, our Director of IT Obsolescence, and this is something that gives 1.0 serious problems. I show the original, what FF 1.0 could do, and what the new FF 2.0 algorithms are capable of. It does a pretty impressive job.

You can download the Premiere project and footage of Callie here: 

https://digitalanarchy.com/beta/beta-project.zip (it helps to have both FF 1.0 and FF 2.0 to see the before/after) 

 

Beta ReadMe with info about the parameters:

https://digitalanarchy.com/beta/flickerfree_readme.zip

A couple important things to note… 1) if you’re on Mac, make sure the Mercury Engine is set to OpenCL. We don’t support Metal yet. We’re working on it but for now the Mercury Engine HAS to be set to OpenCL. 2) Unfortunately, Better AND Faster wasn’t doable. So if you want Faster, use the settings for 1.0. This is probably what you’ll usually want. For footage with a lot of motion (e.g. handheld camera), that’s where the 2.0 improvements will really make a difference, but it’s slower. See the ReadMe for more details (I know… nobody reads the ReadMe. But it’s not much longer than this email… you should read it!).

 

Here’s a benchmark Premiere Pro project that we’d like you to run. It helps to also have Flicker Free 1.0 installed if you have it. If not, just render the FF 2.0 sequences. Please queue everything up in Media Encoder and render everything when you’re not using the machine for something else. Please send the results (just copy the media encoder log for the renders: File>Show Log), what graphics card you have, and what processer/speed you have to beta@nulldigitalanarchy.com.

Benchmark project with footage (if you’ve already downloaded this, please re-download it as the project has changed):

https://digitalanarchy.com/beta/FF2-Benchmark.zip (~650mb)

 

Please send any bug reports or questions to cs@nulldigitalanarchy.com

It’s been a long time coming, so we’re pretty excited about this release! Thanks for any help you can give!

Cheers,

Jim Tierney
Chief Executive Anarchist
Digital Anarchy

Someone Tell The NCAA about Flicker Free

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you know it’s March Madness… time for the NCAA Basketball Tournament. This is actually my favorite two weekends of sports a year. I’m not a huge sports guy, but watching all the single elimination games, rooting for underdogs, the drama, players putting everything they have into these single games… it’s really a blast. All the good things about sport.

It’s also the time of year that flicker drives me a little crazy. One of the downside of developing Flicker Free is that I start to see flicker everywhere it happens. And it happens a lot during the NCAA tournament. Especially slow motion shots . Now, I understand that those are during live games and playing it back immediately is more important than removing some flicker. Totally get it.

However, for human interest stories recorded days or weeks before the tournament? Slow motion shots used two days after they happened? C’mon! Spend 5 minutes to re-render it with Flicker Free. Seriously.

Here’s a portion of a story about Gonzaga star Rui Hachimura:

Most of the shots have the camera/light sync problem that Flicker Free is famous for fixing. The original has the rolling band flicker that’s the symptom of this problem, the fixed version took all of three minutes to fix. I applied Flicker Free, selected the Rolling Bands 4 preset (this is always the best preset to start with) and rendered it. It looks much better.

So if you know anyone at the NCAA in post production, let them know they can take the flicker out of March Madness!

De-flickering Bix Pix’s Stop Motion Animation Show ‘Tumble Leaf’ with Flicker Free

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One of the challenges with stop motion animation is flicker. Lighting varies slightly for any number of reasons causing the exposure of every frame to be slightly different. We were pretty excited when Bix Pix Entertainment bought a bunch of Flicker Free licenses (our deflicker plugin) for Adobe After Effects. They do an amazing kids show for Amazon called Tumble Leaf that’s all stop motion animation. It’s won multiple awards, including an Emmy for best animated preschool show.

Many of us, if not most of us, that do VFX software are wannabe (or just flat out failed ;-) animators. We’re just better at the tech than the art. (exception to the rule: Bob Powell, one of our programmers, who was a TD at Laika and worked on Box Trolls among other things)

So we love stop motion animation. And Bix Pix does an absolutely stellar job with Tumble Leaf. The animation, the detailed set design, the characters… are all off the charts. I’ll let them tell it in their own words (below). But check out the 30 second deflicker example below (view at full screen as the Vimeo compression makes the flicker hard to see). I’ve also embedded their ‘Behind The Scenes’ video at the end of the article. If you like stop motion, you’ll really love the ‘Behind the Scenes’.

From the Bix Pix folks themselves… breaking down how they use Flicker Free  in their Adobe After Effects workflow:

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Using Digital Anarchy’s Flicker Free at Bix Pix

Bix Pix Entertainment is an animation studio that specializes in the art of stop-motion animation, and is known for their award-winning show Tumble Leaf on Amazon Prime.

It is not uncommon for an animator to labor for days sometimes weeks on a single stop motion shot, working frame by frame. With this process, it is natural to have some light variations between each exposure, commonly referred to as ‘flicker’ – There are many factors that can cause the shift in lighting. For instance, a studio light or lights may blow out or solar flare. Voltage and/ power surges can brighten or dim lights over a long shot. Certain types of lights, poor lighting equipment, camera malfunctions or incorrect camera settings. Sometimes an animator might wear a white t-shirt unintentionally adding fill to the shot or accidentally standing in front of a light casting a shadow from his or her body.

The variables are endless. Luckily these days compositors and VFX artists have fantastic tools to help remove these unwanted light shifts. Removing unwanted light shifts and flicker is a very important and necessary first step when working with stop-motion footage. Unless by chance it’s an artistic decision to leave that tell-tale flicker in there. But that is a rare decision that does not come about often.

Here at Bix Pix we use Adobe After Effects for all of our compositing and clean-up work. Having used 4 different flicker removal plugins over the years, we have to say Digital Anarchy’s flicker Free is the fastest, easiest and most effective flicker removal software we have come across. And also quite affordable.

During a season of Tumble Leaf we will process between 1600 and 2000 shots averaging between 3 seconds and up to a couple minutes in length. That is an average of about 5 hours of footage per season, almost three times the length of a feature film. With a tight schedule of less than a year and a small team of ten or so VFX artists and compositors. Nearly every shot has an instance of flicker free applied to it as an effect. The plugin is so fast, simple to use and reliable. De-flickering can be done in almost real time.

Digital Anarchy’s Flicker free has saved us thousands of hours of work and reduced overtime and crunch time delays. This not only saves money but frees up artists to do more elaborate effects that we could not do before due to time constraints, allowing them to focus on making their work stand out even more.

If you are shooting stop-motion animation and require flicker free footage, this is the plugin to use.

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For a breakdown of how they do Tumble Leaf, you should definitely check out the Behind the Scenes video!

I even got to meet the lead character, Fig! My niece and nephew (4 and 6) were very impressed. :-)

Hanging out with Fig at BixPix Entertainment

Cheers,
Jim Tierney
Chief Executive Anarchist
Digital Anarchy