How to Fix GoPro Rolling Shutter Distortion

How to Fix GoPro Rolling Shutter Distortion

Rolling shutter is the bane of DSLR filmmaking and digital film in general. Both rolling shutter and moiré can take great footage and turn it into trash. I think nowhere is rolling shutter worse than in video of aircraft propellors. A favorite tool of folks in aviation photography is of course the GoPro camera because of its small form factor and relative small expense should something go wrong (like falling out of the airplane). What does go dreadfully wrong with almost all GoPro aircraft footage is rolling shutter.

Something I didn’t know about GoPro cameras is that they have a fixed aperture and adjust exposure via shutter speed. For many shots that works fine, but for work with aircraft the results are simply hideous. Now we are lucky broadcast veteran and pilot Phil Boyer has solved this problem with his adaptation of neutral density filters to the GoPro camera. This excellent how-to video shows you just how to install neutral density filters on the GoPro camera, along with sample before and after footage. Note also his use of an external monitor to preview his footage. This is just the type of solution I look for: inexpensive. Don’t we spend enough for this gear already? Parts for project:

25.5-46mm Step Up Filter
Robin Kanta Photo
Tiffen ND Filter Kit (3)
B&H or other Tiffen suppliers
Go Pro Hero HD
Spare Housing

PLEASE NOTE: The solution here works ONLY for the original Hero. The new HD Hero2 is not compatible as the WIDE setting shows the edge of the adapter ring. When a new solution for the HDH2 becomes available we will update this post.

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  1. Brandon Dostie
    June 24, 2012 at 12:31 am

    Brilliant! Thank you for sharing this! This perfectly explains a nagging issue I just couldn’t put my finger on with this camera. The picture falls apart depending on the content, but variable shutter speed explains alot of that away.
    My friend has a larger RC helicopter and we’ve been trying to build a mount for hoisting the camera (first test run was tonight) and I feel like the really stuttery motion isn’t how it’s intended to look. I want to try this technique of yours and see if the slower shutter will also help reduce the terrible rolling shutter effects we’re seeing.

    Thanks again!

  2. June 25, 2012 at 5:33 am

    This article isn’t about eliminating rolling shutter distortion – it’s about eliminating fast shutter strobe effects. The two things are completely different issues.

    Nice project btw 🙂

  3. jeremy
    August 30, 2012 at 5:32 am

    Great tutorial and very nicely made. Thank you. By the way do you know where to find the 25.5-46mm Step Up Filter? B&H does not sell it anymore and I’ve searched the web without success.
    Thanks in advance.

    • Swainhart
      August 30, 2012 at 9:14 am

      Read the post carefully, the info is above. BTW does not work yet with HERO2

      • Steve
        September 8, 2012 at 4:43 pm

        Swainhaart says: “BTW does not work yet with HERO2”. What do you mean by this, what
        does not work?

        • Swainhart
          September 8, 2012 at 5:20 pm

          The adapter ring is visible when used on the HD Hero 2

          • Steve
            September 8, 2012 at 6:46 pm

            HEREO2 HERO
            1080p Wide (170) FOV Wide (127) FOV
            * Medium (127) FOV 30 fps
            * Narrow (90) FOV
            30 fps

            I understand, the “medium (127) FOV” on the HERO2 which would give the same results as the HERO is to be implemented in a “future firmware update”. For now we will be looking through port hole.

  4. jeremy
    August 30, 2012 at 10:19 am

    Searching Photofilter’s web site I found the direct link: Maybe you can update your link above for other visitors like me. Thanks again for taking the time in making such high quality tutos.

    Thanks from us all.

    • Swainhart
      August 30, 2012 at 10:26 am

      Thanks so much for the direct link, and I have updated the post. Good luck!

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