Burning Question: How Do I Fix Rolling Shutter?
In this article, we’ll talk about What Rolling Shutter is, or RS, which we’ll sometimes refer to it. We’ll go over what the types are, with lots of examples, so you’ll recognize them when you see them. Then, we’ll talk about how you can avoid, reduce, or fix RS problems both when shooting and in post. Finally, we’ll talk about ways to add RS to your footage. Yes, RS can be a creative effect! If you don’t have much time, at least watch the first two videos on this page because they are both really interesting, especially if you like to geek out on science!
What is Rolling Shutter?
RS is a lag-induced distortion. Have you ever had skewed distortions in your footage video when the camera is panning quickly or an object is moving quickly through your shot? Or how about wobbling footage from vibrations?
I’m going to quote my own book here, Plug-in to After Effects (Focal Press), which is now out of print, but I think the explanation is clear.
Rolling shutter is the skew or wobble often seen when something moves quickly in front of a camera or a camera pans quickly. CMOS sensors are especially prone to rolling shutter. Rolling shutter is often seen in footage from iPhones and other cell phone cameras, Flip HD cameras and other digital cameras. Rolling shutter happens because of the CMOS sensor in the camera records from top to bottom instead of frame by frame. It will cause a car to look skewed and slanted if it moves quickly perpendicular to the camera, or a building to slant if the camera pans quickly.Michele Yamazaki, Plug-in to After Effects (Focal Press)
My husband was asking me recently about RS. He is a photographer and has been doing a lot of video work lately. We looked on YouTube for some examples and this video came up, which explains it more technical than I can. The man in the video even takes apart a camera lens on a phone to explain how images scan down the lens. This is just a fantastic explanation.
Not only does RS look bad, but the lens distortion can throw off match-moving software.
Here’s another video explaining it that is more scientific and absolutely fascinating.
Types of Rolling Shutter
There are four types of RS problems that you may encounter: skew, wobble or Jell-o vision, smear, and partial exposure. Here is a fairly technical article Sensor Artifacts And CMOS Rolling Shutter by Barry Green at DVX User. Barry goes into what exactly is causing each type of RS and has a large number of great examples and technical papers linked to the article. I am simplifying and just giving some examples so that you can recognize it.
To illustrate, it’s easier to show you some examples.
2. Wobble or Jell-o Vision
Vibrations can also cause RS issues and can give you the wobbly distortions, known in the industry as “Jell-o vision”. Wobble can be almost impossible to fix. CCD Cameras don’t have any problem because use Global Shutter, meaning, they capture the entire frame at once. If you’re in a situation, such as filming inside a helicopter, you should opt for a camera with a global shutter.
Below is a textbook example of this wobble or Jell-o Vision.
Here’s an example of Jell-o vision with the vibrations before she takes off.
Jell-o vision can also show up in drone footage.
The bad news is that wobble really can be very difficult to fix in your NLE or with plug-ins. Wondershare Filmora has an article on How to Remove Jello Effect from an Aerial Video that gives tips on how to shoot drone video so you don’t have to deal with the wobble in the first place.
A bright area in the footage can create a smear or a full vertical column of pixels. You’ll sometimes see smears in footage shot at night containing bright street lights or car headlights. I’ll be honest, I’ve never really thought of this as a rolling shutter issue,
Smear Smear Example
4. Partial Exposure From Flashes or Strobes
Another place that RS can be witnessed is during flashes or strobes in the video. The image below is a still from a video of a photo shoot for the German hip-hop megastar, Kühl Briese, in Las Vegas in April. Notice how the bottom half of the shot is brighter than the top half. This can be seen in photography as well if there is more than one flash going off or if the flash isn’t synced correctly.
For more information on partial exposure, see Electronic shutter, rolling shutter, and flash: what you need to know at Digital Photography Review.
How to Avoid, Reduce, or Fix Rolling Shutter Problems
First, I want to say that DSLRs and iPhone lenses have improved a lot in the last few years. I am not seeing nearly the problems that I used to see. In fact, I tried to shoot some video and purposely give it RS problems and it just wasn’t happening. That said, you certainly still run into it. Here are some tips to avoid, reduce, or fix RS problems.
Shooting it right
Below there are a couple of articles full of fantastic knowledge about how to avoid capturing skewed or distorted footage in the first place.
- Everything You Should Know About Rolling Shutter on Your Phone’s Camera – this article has some nice tips on ways to reduce or eliminate RS from your footage.
- How to Remove Jello Effect from an Aerial Video – lots of tips on how to shoot drone video so you don’t have to deal with the wobble in the first place.
Fixing Rolling Shutter in Final Cut Pro X
Final Cut Pro X has a built-in Rolling Shutter option that is automatically an option in the Video Inspector. You just need to check the box to turn it on and choose the amount that you want to apply it.
Rolling Shutter Tutorials
Final Cut Pro X: Correct excessive shake and rolling shutter issues
Premiere Pro & After Effects Rolling Shutter Repair
Premiere Pro includes plug-ins that could help fix RS problems.
- Rolling Shutter Repair – Premiere Pro has built-in tools to help you fix RS issues in the footage.
- Warp Stabilizer – Warp Stabilizer can stabilize your footage and potentially fix your RS problems. This tool is included with both After Effects and Premiere Pro.
- Use Opacity blends for partial exposures. This could be done in any program, really. See Quick Tip: Fixing Rolling Shutter Flash with Opacity Blends at Premium Beat.
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CoreMelt Lock & Load
The video below includes some before and after examples.
The JetBeats at Festival of the Arts 2019, Footage Credit TerpstraPhoto.com
CoreMelt Lock & Load X
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Lock & Load X is up to 4x faster than the built-in stabilizer in FCP X and includes specific rolling shutter camera presets for most 4K and modern cameras. With optimized workflow for 4K in FCP X, Lock and Load will use both GPU on a Mac Pro system. Lock and Load is frequently updated with new Rolling Shutter presets including the Sony A7S, Sony AX100, Black Magic Pocket Camera, Panasonic GH4, Canon EOS 6D, RED Scarlet, RED EPIX MX, and RED EPIC Dragon.
NewBlueFX Stabilizer is included in has a Rolling Shutter correction option in the interface.
Below is an overview video of Stabilizer. While it doesn’t really talk specifically about RS, you can see the option in the interface.
Stabilizer has a built-in Rolling Shutter tool.
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Stabilizer analyzes video to identify areas of instability and corrects it. If you’re shooting hand-held, this breakthrough plugin quickly smooths shaky footage.
Stabilizer can be found in the following bundles:
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PFTrack includes a tool called Shutter Fix which can reduce CMOS shutter roll. Read more in the PFTrack Reference Guide.
Note: Currently the RS fix does not work for independently moving objects or scenes with a wide range of parallax motion.
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Flicker Removal Tools
Rolling Shutter can cause flicker too from strobes and camera flashes. Below, read about some products recommended to remove flicker. Please download a trial version to see if the plugin removes flicker before buying.
Digital Anarchy Flicker Free
Deflicker Time Lapse, Rolling Bands, Slow Motion, LED's, Drones
Flicker Free is a powerful and simple way to remove flicker from your video. We offer presets for different types of footage, making it easy to eliminate flicker caused by out-of-sync cameras, time-lapse, or slow-motion video. Flicker Free will work on any sized footage and is compatible with a wide range of video editing applications such as After Effects, Premiere Pro, FCP, Avid, Resolve, and Vegas.
RE:Vision Effects DEFlicker
Your solution for problematic high frame rate and timelapse footage!
DEFlicker is designed to smooth out those annoying flicker and artifacts when shooting high frame rate or timelapse video. DE:Flicker is unique because it not only fixes flicker from artificial light sources but also fixes flicker on multiple objects, even when those objects flicker at different rates. DE:Flicker also minimizes problems when shooting directly at light sources, causing them to “breathe” and change size when shot at higher frame rates.
Boris FX Continuum Unit: Image Restoration
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Want to add Rolling Shutter to your 3D renders or footage?
If you want to emulate that poorly shot warped realism and motion blur to your 3D renders, you can do it with Chaos Group V-Ray and Arnold Render! Who knew?
This is basically a slit-scan effect, which is added with the Time Displacement filter. I wrote an article on Slit Scan, which has tons of examples and different time displacement filters you can use, that was updated in December 2018. See In Depth: Time Effects – Time Displacement aka Slit Scan, with Examples.
Rolling Shutter – V-Ray for 3ds Max
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In Depth: Why Should I Use V-Ray?
In summary, V-Ray is a powerful 3D rendering system, built for designers, architects, and jack-of-all-trades. To be sure, click to learn about how artists use V-Ray. To emphasize, there are many examples and trial versions for every field!
Rolling Shutter in Arnold for Maya
Arnold also has an option to add RS in its camera Attributes. Learn more in the Arnold Render Manual.
This example from Lee Griggs shows some crazy distortions but you can also make it look like something you’d experience from a real camera. Check out Lee’s blog for more examples of his experiments with Rolling Shutter in Arnold for Maya.
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Arnold software is an advanced Monte Carlo ray tracing renderer that helps you deliver beautiful and predictable results. Navigate through the software with simple and intuitive controls. Produce professional-grade renders with full artistic control. Get immediate results with interactive rendering.
Adding Rolling Shutter in After Effects
Here’s Smarter Every Day once again with a technique for creating the effect in After Effects.
Fixing Rolling Shutter in Flashes or Strobes
To fix the rolling shutter caused by flashes, Premium Beat recently posted a tutorial: Quick Tip: Fixing Rolling Shutter Flash with Opacity Blends Related Articles
Burning Question: How Do I Remove Flicker from my Footage?
Flicker, brightness fluctuation, and strobing is a really annoying problem in video. It occurs when the frequency of the lights and your camera’s shutter speed don’t jive. You might get strobing or rolling bands when shooting under fluorescent lights. You’ll also get strobing bands when filming a video or computer screen. If you’ve done any film restoration, you’ll see flicker there as well. In addition, it can rear it’s ugly head when shooting time-lapse footage.
Posted by Michele Yamazaki