Boris FX: GoPro Lens Correction

GoPro cameras do amazing things; they go anywhere, survive anything and never lose focus. The main reason they never lose focus is that they use an extreme wide angle lens. Sometimes, this “fish eye” effect looks great. Other times, it just looks weird. However, there’s an effect in Boris Continuum Complete 9 (BCC) that fixes this in a mouse click.

NOTE: Although I demo this effect using FCP X, BCC is fully compatible with the following software. This means that whatever you are using for editing, you can achieve the same results with your system.

BACKGROUND

Earlier this week, the folks at Boris FX asked me to host a webinar looking at a few of the effects inside the latest release of Boris Continuum Complete 9. With over 230 effects, backgrounds and transitions in the package, there was no way to cover all of it in an hour. So we agreed I’d cover their 3D Text Extrusion generator and Image Restoration effects.

The BCC Lens Correction effect is one of the effects in Continuum. However, it is also available in what Boris FX calls the “Continuum Complete Image Restoration Unit,” which is a less-expensive subset containing just the image restoration tools.

Website: www.borisfx.com
Continuum Complete MSRP: $695
Continuum Complete Image Restoration Unit: $299

THE PROBLEM

These train tracks and the bridge outside Boston’s South Station are supposed to be straight. However, the fish eye lens in a GoPro distorts them so much that they almost seem to be doing loops.

To fix this, apply the BCC Lens Correction effect to the offending GoPro clip in the Timeline.

The difference is amazing – especially because we are using the default settings.

If you compare the two clips – Source on the left, Corrected on the right – you can see the difference instantly.

Clearly, when the image is corrected we lose portions of the image around the edges due to the straightening. That’s the nature of correcting for lens distortion.

There’s no such thing as a free lunch.

SUMMARY

If you are working with GoPro footage, its important to reduce the fish eye effect by correcting the lens distortion in the image. And I couldn’t think of a clearer example of the benefits of straightening an image than this example.

There are many different ways to correct GoPro lens distortion from a wide variety of different vendors. This effect, by itself, is probably not a sufficient reason to purchase the Image Restoration tools from Boris FX. But if you already have the plug-ins, this is an excellent tool to use to make your GoPro images look much better.


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