If you’ve ever tried to film commercial fluorescent bulbs or neon signs, you’ll know that one of the most frustrating aspects of these lights is the potential for you to produce footage full of flicker. The issue can get even worse if you tend to shoot slow-motion video in such a polluted light environment. This is often attributed to your camera having a shutter speed set to a different frequency than the light source, or just from the nature of the emitted light in general.
Before you go about deleting your supposedly totally ruined footage, you should try out this amazingly simple technique by seasoned video editor Peter McKinnon who explains how to remove unwanted flicker from your videos in less than two minutes. Best of all, this technique can be replicated in any NLE, although for the purposes of this tutorial, McKinnon’s trick is shown inside of Adobe Premiere Pro CC.
To start off, add the problematic video to your timeline and create a copy by dragging it up while holding Alt key on your keyboard. Next, select the duplicate clip, change its Opacity to 50% and move it one frame ahead. When you playback your footage, you should no longer see the dreaded flicker in your footage. Voila!
Keep in mind, though, that if you have moving subjects in the frame, this trick may not work. That’s because your actor’s movements will also be duplicated since the copied clip is set to play one second in advance, creating an unpleasant ghosting effect (unless that’s intentionally what you’re going for).
Overall, avoiding banding altogether in the first place would be your best bet. So, make sure that you have dialed in the right frame rate in relation to the light source’s frequency and simply do a couple of takes beforehand to test your settings out.
To avoid further complications, always take into consideration the type of practical lights you are about to shoot, whether it’s fluorescent, LED, incandescent or some device’s screen, odds are these all could cause potential flickering problems and even ruin your footage completely if you are not careful enough.