I should call this video “Digital Blindz” or something, that horizontal banding is so bad.

As an environmentalist, I applaud the conversion from incandescent light bulbs to fluorescent and the new LED digital bulbs.  The energy efficiency is so much better it can save a great deal on a monthly electric bill, and give even better lighting coverage with less watts.  But as a photographer, these new lights can drive me up a wall trying to shoot video.

The cause of this problem has to do with the refresh frequency the LED bulbs are using and that frequency’s harmonizing with your camera’s shutter speed.  Which, to be frank and honest, never seems to work out very well for my needs. Lately, with so many of the downtown clubs now using LED performance lighting, these horizontal bands are showing up more and more.  So what to do about them?

If you are monitoring your video in real time like I am, you can adjust your shutter speed to a setting that will come close to eliminating the bands.  One of the nice things about using my Sony a7S is the live view recording video in the eye piece, so I saw this problem in the clip above as I was shooting it, and adjusted my shutter speed to eliminate most of it.  But sadly, I was unable to find a shutter speed/aperture/ISO combination that would eliminate all of it in this clip and still allow acceptable video quality.  Fix the one problem, but what other things get messed up by adjusting shutter speed/aperture combinations like depth of field and drag shutter effects inadvertently introduced.

Enter Digital Anarchy singing “Don’t flicker, be happy…”

Flicker Free is a powerful new way to deflicker video. It solves an issue that’s common for many types of video footage, caused by lights/electricity and the camera’s shutter being out of sync, time lapse or slow motion (high frame rate) video. The Flicker Free plugin is very effective at removing rolling flicker that occurs with LED & fluorescent lights and does an exceptional job with computer monitors.

Flicker Free was originally designed to fix the flicker caused by varying exposures in time lapse videography. Once the basic technology was developed, the Digital Anarchy team discovered there are many reasons for flicker and that Flicker Free does a great job on most of them.

My CinemaGraph would look horrible with that nasty banding!

Flicker Free currently works as a plugin with Final Cut Pro, After Effects, Premiere Pro, Avid, Davinci Resolve, and other OpenFX apps on Macintosh and Windows.  Download the free MAC trial and try it on your footage first.  At $149, it isn’t a cheap plugin, but if you do professional work around LED lighting most of the time like I do, it is one of those products that when you need it, it is a lifesaver that will make you very happy!

Digital Anarchy’s Main Web Site

 

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