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Removing video flicker

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Benj RocheRemoving video flicker
by on Jan 21, 2010 at 6:45:00 pm

Hi i recently shot some footage of a video screen and using a shutter speed of 1/60 created flickering.

I'd like to minimize the flickering because I would like to actually replace the source of the flickering (with a composited source) and the reflections are also flickering.

thanks



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Dave LaRondeRe: Removing video flicker
by on Jan 21, 2010 at 6:55:33 pm

[Benj Roche] "I'd like to minimize the flickering because I would like to actually replace the source of the flickering (with a composited source) and the reflections are also flickering. "

Re-shoot. No fooling. It's the absolute best thing to do.

If you try to fix this in AE, you will take hours and hours -- if you can even do it at all -- and you will drive yourself absolutely nuts. Fluorescents do their voodoo at 60 Hz, your shutter was set for 60Hz, but your camera probably records at 59.94 fields/ sec... not quite 60 Hz (aka 29.97 interlaced). So the flicker will slowly drift across time. Depending on when you started and stopped the camera, the flicker will manifest itself at a slightly different time in a TV frame... and drift.

There is no standard technique for removing fluorescent light flicker. Perhaps someone will offer up something to try, but I don't know from experience that it would work, because I always save myself the aggravation and re-shoot.



Dave's Stock Answer #2:

When you're out on a shoot, and you say, "we'll fix this in post" without knowing PRECISELY HOW you're going to fix it in post, don't shoot it! You'll only end up shooting it over again.

Since post typically costs three times the cost of production, fixing something in post is not a way to save money, but rather a way to spend more of it.

And, before you say "well fix it in post," always consider who's doing the work, especially if you're the one doing the work.


Dave LaRonde
Sr. Promotion Producer
KCRG-TV (ABC) Cedar Rapids, IA


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Benj RocheRe: Removing video flicker
by on Jan 21, 2010 at 7:08:39 pm

thanks, reshooting is an option as this is no budget.

We shot on a 5D at 30fps. There was a digital billboard in the background. I am not sure if digital billboards are everywhere like they are in Los Angeles, but its basically a giant video screen shaped like a billboard...

I was aware of the flicker happening so I also shot with different shutter speeds and have a few shots that are flicker-free, but my favorite billboard shot was at 1/60

I'd still like to test out some flicker removal techniques - the shots that need to be de-flickered are mostly 1 second shots....

any filters I should read up on?


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Dave LaRondeRe: Removing video flicker
by on Jan 21, 2010 at 7:27:52 pm

[Benj Roche] "We shot on a 5D at 30fps."

Whoops! A red flag. What will be the ultimate use of this footage? If the response contains the words "TV" or "DVD" or "Blu-Ray", you need to fix that frame rate NOW -- you need 29.97, no 30, and not just for this shot, but the entire project. While you're at it, and since the 5D records in H.264, you need to fix that to use the footage in AE:

Dave's Stock Answer #1:

If the footage you imported into AE is any kind of the following -- footage in an HDV acquisition codec, MPEG1, MPEG2, mp4, m2t, H.261 or H.264 -- you need to convert it to a different codec.

These kinds of footage use temporal, or interframe compression. They have keyframes at regular intervals, containing complete frame information. However, the frames in between do NOT have complete information. Interframe codecs toss out duplicated information.

In order to maintain peak rendering efficiency, AE needs complete information for each and every frame. But because these kinds of footage contain only partial information, AE freaks out, resulting in a wide variety of problems.

---------------------------------------------------------------------------

Here's my recommendation for a REALLY GOOD flicker fix:
  • Go through the footage frame by frame. Find the first flicker frame.
  • Duplicate the footage, and on the duplicate, find an adjacent frame with no flicker.
  • Make the duplicate 1 frame long, put it above the original layer, and move it in time to cover the flicker frame.
  • On the 1-frame layer, draw a feathered mask around the area(s) that received the reflection in the bad layer. If the shot moves, reposition as necessary.
  • Repeat the steps above until you're done.

Applying an effect or a filter is a band-aid. This is the only sure-fire way to fix it. I use the same technique to get rid of 1-field hits in old videotape footage... but I have to work at 59.94. I've used it on shots where the camera is moving, the subject is moving, or both. Never fails.

And yes, it drives me nuts. But it works, and that's no bulls**t.

Dave LaRonde
Sr. Promotion Producer
KCRG-TV (ABC) Cedar Rapids, IA


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Benj RocheRe: Removing video flicker
by on Jan 21, 2010 at 7:46:20 pm

Hey the only format for this video is Web.

The footage was converted to Apple ProRes (Proxy) before editing.

Does AE have a built in method for removing flicker?


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david bogieRe: Removing video flicker
by on Jan 21, 2010 at 7:54:52 pm

[Benj Roche] "Does AE have a built in method for removing flicker?
"


Depends on what you mean by "flicker" and I can't tell from your posts. Mismatches in refresh rates between a screen and a shutter cannot be fixed easily. If there are moving images on your screen you must decide whether frame blending and forced motion blur are acceptable.

If you step through 20 individual frames, what are seeing that bothers you and what frames?
Try to be very specific when you say flicker.

bogiesan



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Dave LaRondeRe: Removing video flicker
by on Jan 21, 2010 at 7:54:54 pm

[Benj Roche] "Does AE have a built in method for removing flicker?"

No! Do you not think I would mention them, or something?

You could TRY the Auto Levels effect or the Color Stabilizer effect. As I say, they're Band-Aids. When you throw up your hands in frustration after trying them, you can start duplicating, masking, etc.

Quit grasping at straws and get busy.

Dave LaRonde
Sr. Promotion Producer
KCRG-TV (ABC) Cedar Rapids, IA


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Jeycob SonofCarlRe: Removing video flicker
by on Mar 25, 2010 at 3:44:58 am

Check out Tinderbox's FurnaceCore deflicker plugin. it's AMAZING. will only deflicker the parts of the frame that are flickering and leaves the other's alone. better than Sapphire, Tinderbox, and any others I've tried. Blew my mind.


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mathew lisettRe: Removing video flicker
by on Jun 5, 2010 at 9:30:20 am

do you know of a video thats hows this, or ould you be able to do a short one .


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Jake FantomRe: Removing video flicker
by on Feb 17, 2012 at 9:01:07 pm

I am far from an expert and I am not a professional videographer. However, I have spent the last five days obsessively researching this problem, and I found an answer that worked for me. I had some footage of a beautiful event (new mom and baby) that was ruined by horrible fluorescent light flicker. I tried literally every one of the various plugins, filters and tricks recommended in these pages and elsewhere. None of the BorisFX or GenArts or built-in AE effects worked worth a damn. The Furnace plug in might work. I tried the trial version. But it was going to take 24 hours to process about one minute of video on a fairly high-powered Mac, so I bagged that. The only plug in that worked was Magic Bullet Denoiser. I used this in FCP, but I believe it was also available for AE. It worked like a charm, completely eliminated the flicker, and added a creamy texture to skin tones without losing video quality (at least to my naked eye). The bad news is, apparently this filter is no longer available from Magic Bullet because the company they licensed it from was bought by Google. They are promising an updated version in the near future. I will be first on line for it.


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Haik KavookjianRe: Removing video flicker
by on May 21, 2012 at 8:30:57 pm

Hey Jake,

What settings did you use in Magic bullet Denoiser? I've been messing around with it and it definitely works better than the Furnace plugin, but I'm still seeing some flicker. When I crank things up too high, my moving subject starts to jitter quite a bit.

Any thoughts?

I had another idea that would be a huge pain, but someone please let me know if you think this might work. I noticed that the flickering is caused by dark bands that run across the frame. The first frame has a dark band at the top and one in the middle. As you move through each frame, the bands transition down the shot and after the third frame, the pattern repeats itself. So... here is my thought:

-Export the sequence as a series of jpegs (each frame is a new jpeg)
-Use Photoshop to batch correct each frame, selectively using an exposure filter to lighten the dark bands
-The tricky part is that the band pattern changes. So I would need to apply one filter to the 1st frame, 4th frame, 7 frame, etc... another filter to the 2nd frame, 5th frame, 8th frame, etc... and another filter to the 3rd frame, 6th frame, 9th frame.
-Then create a new sequence with the edited jpeg frames.

Someone please tell me this is crazy and won't work so I don't waste hours giving it a shot.


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Nir AAronRe: Removing video flicker
by on Jul 18, 2012 at 11:56:01 am

I had the same idea with Photoshop (Ulead Media Studio is better) to edit each frame.
But I am sure that there is a working plugin for it.

This is my problem:





Any ideas?


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Haik KavookjianRe: Removing video flicker
by on Jul 18, 2012 at 3:06:45 pm

Nir,

It looks like we have a similar problem, although I don't know how your footage ended up like that because it is outside. I was shooting under fluorescent lighting at 60fps in Europe. (I'll never make that mistake again).

I still haven't given my potential fix a go because the entire process seems so daunting. A plugin or script that did everything would be great, but I haven't seen it yet.


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Kamil IwanowiczRe: Removing video flicker
by on Mar 12, 2013 at 6:26:33 pm

Hi guys,

I was also fighting with flicker in one of my shots but as the shot is not easy to mask it was driving me nuts. The issue is a monitor partly hidden by person's arm which is flickering like crazy (the monitor, not the person :P).

But just a while ago I realised that as it's a very slow pan and almost no movement, I just slowed it down by 50% and used twixor to go back to the original lenght. Worked like a charm. Hope this will be useful for someone, it definitely saved me a lot of pain.


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Joshua VanRe: Removing video flicker
by on Apr 21, 2013 at 9:10:30 pm

I ran into this same issue, here is what I did to clean a Florecent flicker issue I encounter shooting on the sony fs700 at 240 fps. In post I used AE CS6 and Boris FX - BCC DeNoise.

settings:
Value Range - 98.58
Mix with original - 32.00

Video Before/After:
https://vimeo.com/64510913
pass: boris

Seemed to work ok. Hope this helps..

JoshuaVP.com
vimeo.com/joshuavp


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Haik KavookjianRe: Removing video flicker
by on Apr 29, 2013 at 2:57:42 pm

Hey,

I'm not seeing BCC DeNoise as one of the effects. I'm running CS5. Is it only available on CS6?


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Seth OlsonRe: Removing video flicker
by on May 8, 2013 at 7:45:00 pm

Poor man's solution:

Duplicated the footage layer a few times, offset each one by a frame, turned down opacity of the layers according to the number of layers. Example: 4 layers, 25% opacity on the top 3, 100% always on the bottom. This has a risk of adding fake motion blur, but sometimes that can be reduced afterwards with sharpening. Also, you need extra heads and tails.



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Tim SelanderRe: Removing video flicker
by on May 30, 2013 at 5:40:21 am

Seth! Holy Cow -- that works incredibly well!

Yesterday, client gave me an interview shot under 50hz fluorescents, with a 1/60th shutter speed, also a lot of outside light coming in windows which toned down the flicker a bit, but it was still quite noticeable. Tried 4 tracks at 25-50-75-100% opacity -- worked great with some motion blurring. Three tracks at 33-66-100% also worked great and lessened motion artifacts. So I tried just two tracks, 50-100% -- and even THAT took care of the flicker, with minimal motion artifacts in my opinion.

Can't wait until someone gives me a similar shot, only without the outside window light, to see how well your trick works with really obnoxious flicker! (Since half of Japan runs the electric at 50Hz, flicker filled video is a constant problem here.)

Many, many thanks.

Tim Selander
Tokyo, Japan



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Richard RobinRe: Removing video flicker
by on Jun 25, 2013 at 4:04:50 pm

Thank you, Seth and Tim! What a life-saver! And free! Like Tim, I had footage shot at 60 fps in Russia under florescents at 50 Mhz next to a window with sun coming in. Usually, my camera (Panasonic GH2), set on full auto, eventually figures things out and compensates. But not this time. Tim's 2-track method didn't work, but 3 tracks at 100% - 50% and 50% opacity did the trick, albeit with some motion blur. But this was mostly a fairly motionless talking head. So the only time you see the blur is when the subject waved his hand. The varying sunlight is still a problem. The camera was probably too confused by the flicker to handle the exposure changes needed for the sun. To correct *that*, I'll have to assign a spot, follow the waveform output and adjust keyframes manually. ...Unless anyone knows of a filter that would allow me to assign a spot in the frame as a reference point and hold the luminescence level the same throughout the clip.


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Demetris christodoulidesRe: Removing video flicker
by on Aug 7, 2013 at 2:53:57 pm

Thanks for this amazingly helpful topic. Unfortunately, in my case (fluorescent in europe + camtree led lights 72) with canon 7d and 1/100 shutter speed, iso 800, indoors, f5.6, created a horrible flicker which i didn't catch in time for some shots; i tried everything you suggested with no success because moving the frames one by one to the right and gradually increasing the opacity created horrible artifacts and motion blur to me, 'cause i shot fast moving people and objects within a gym for a gym promo. Duh to me ;; ) , but except for:

RED GIANT KC DENOISER in AFTER EFFECTS

i have it in auto, no tweaking and it works wonders! All the flicker went away with no ghosting or anything, just some weird-looking but very subtle fuzzy artifcact on some edges around sharp objects or faces, a bit of video smoothing but it's nothing compared to the destroyed, useless original flicker. I am very excited, glad to have found this topic!

Life saver indeed.

Cheers


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Nancy KiangRe: Removing video flicker
by on Nov 3, 2013 at 6:52:34 am

Oh, man, Seth, you're a genius! What a simple, elegant solution. It's effectively a weighted moving average filter. Man, am I glad that I shot at 29.97 fps (in a 50 Hz country), so now I might actually achieve ~24p with this fix!

Thanks, Seth!!!


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Peter BerdovskyRe: Removing video flicker
by on Jan 11, 2014 at 4:01:33 pm

Seth, you are the man!
I am working on a very rough, simple project, where I needed to record a TV on my SLR camera.
The flicker was rough.
But duplicating my layer, and offsetting the top by 1 frame, then making it 50% opacity - FIXED THE ISSUE COMPLETELY for me.

This is a miracle :)



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Shaun KurianRe: Removing video flicker
by on Jun 25, 2014 at 11:45:51 pm

Wow- that was a miraculous save. Totally. Thank you. The lesson here for sure is: fixing in post is not the first order in the planning of a production, but when you have to fix it in post, exhaust all possibilities, understand the problem at hand, and see if there are ways to solve it beyond the obvious. Bravo on this fix.



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Jim TierneyRe: Removing video flicker
by on Aug 5, 2014 at 2:11:41 am

When you can't reshoot and the layer trick doesn't work, which happens frequently, we've developed a plugin, Flicker Free, for getting rid of flicker from a variety of sources. It's very easy to use and solves most flicker issues... time lapse, 50hz, LED/fluorescent lights, slow motion, etc.

There's a free trial, so you can check it out before purchasing.

http://digitalanarchy.com/Flicker/main.html

cheers,
Jim Tierney
Digital Anarchy


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