August 18, 2018

This Super Simple Editing Hack Will Fix Your Flicker Quick

Nope, it's not magic, just really clever editing.

You know when your video footage has that really nasty flickering in it? Yeah, that's just the worst thing ever. "Where's the hot shot that turned a strobe light on during the shoot," you wonder, but hey, I promise it wasn't the hot shots' fault. It's banding, or flickering, which happens when the frequency of a light source doesn't match up nicely with the frame rate of your camera. If you're like, "Yeah, cool information...wish I knew that before I shot all my footage," don't throw your work out just yet. Filmmaker Peter McKinnon has a ridiculously quick and easy hack that may fix your flicker problem completely. Check out his tutorial below:

Earlier this year, we posted a similar "flicker fix" technique from Blue Mantle Films that had a couple of extra steps and left a bit of a blurry double-exposure look to the footage. McKinnon's technique, which you might've previously seen on a Philip Bloom tutorial several years ago, simplifies the process slightly by requiring just two video layers and doesn't seem to produce much visible blur.

Now, here are a couple of things to keep in mind. 

First of all, this "hack" won't work in every banding situation. It really depends on the frequency of the light, as well as the frame rate you used. Try it out on your flickering footage, see if it works. If it doesn't, you might want to play around with the placement of the duplicated clip.

Second, the best way to deal with banding is to avoid it altogether. If you shoot a lot of high-speed video, you'll definitely want to do the necessary calculations to ensure you're choosing the right frame rate in relation to your light source's pulse frequency. (There are calculators online, as well as apps that will do this for you.) While most types of lights, including fluorescent, LED, and incandescent, could potentially cause banding, TV, computer, and other types of screens are the biggest offenders, but slowing down your shutter a bit can help alleviate the problem. 

If you're not sure about how your lighting will affect your footage, do some tests before starting your shoot, so you can fix any banding issues before it's too late.      

Your Comment

10 Comments

Or another idea is that you could just hire a DP who knows flicker free rates and how to adjust shutter exposure time to avoid this.

August 19, 2018 at 9:18PM

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Nathan T
DP
188

As an editor who doesn't have the power to make such calls, its good to learn new techniques...But kudos on your astute observation! I'm sure we would never have thought of that...

August 20, 2018 at 11:06PM

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Kerrin McLean
Director / DP / Editor
200

Yeah yeah I get it, but the 'fix it in post' mentality is just plain wrong and its a shame editors are stuck fixing these mistakes. If you don't have time to pay attention to something like flicker when your shooting then your not ready to shoot. It is reducing film making to an amateur exercise at best.

August 21, 2018 at 3:17AM, Edited August 21, 3:17AM

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Nathan T
DP
188

Okay, I'm probably feeding the trolls here, but "wow!" I'm very much at the beginning end of the learning curve as far as filmmaking is concerned. I have a lot to learn, and no budget, NoFilmSchool fills an important gap in that schooling, and this article was useful to me. A noob. Before making a "I know it all/you're an idiot" comment, maybe try and remember when you "didn't know it all" and think "hey, there was a time when this once would have been very useful to me, before I learnt how to do it a better way." Rather than "Expert Arrogance" that just makes it harder for us newbies to develop confidence in our small talents. Probably wasted words, but rant over.

August 24, 2018 at 7:10PM

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Colin Chick
Amateur noob
72

August 24, 2018 at 5:45AM

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Another way of fixing the flicker: grab peter McKinnon by the legs and slam him very very hard on V. Renée. I mean, VERY hard.

That way, we'll be rid of both idiots.

And the world will be a better place !

August 24, 2018 at 1:57PM, Edited August 24, 1:58PM

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Yawn. I mean, VERY yawn.

September 19, 2018 at 4:59AM

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Alex Richardson
Director
3356

This is exactly the same technique Philip Bloom came up with 5 years ago...
https://vimeo.com/80187743

September 19, 2018 at 4:54AM, Edited September 19, 4:54AM

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Chris Johnson-Standley
Owner - Rogue Robot Visual Industries
96

Hii... I am so thankful to the No school team for making this article. I am a youtuber and I need the video editing software every now and then. But, Its really hard to avoid and remove flickering in between videos. Your Tutorial really helped me!

September 19, 2018 at 5:03AM, Edited September 19, 5:03AM

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