When you’re capturing video a fish-eye lens makes a good amount of sense; the wide field of view ensures you won’t miss anything. When it comes to printing or sharing your pictures or video, you’re more likely to want to tell a story with it, which means using software to correct any problems.
Photoshop and Lightroom recognise popular cameras, including the wide-angled DJI Phantom 2 Vision+, and can correct for lens distortion at the click of a button.
Digital cameras actually discard a great deal of information that their sensor records when they create a JPEG image, and that image will likely be created using the camera’s best guess at settings. Even if you’ve set manual settings, a great deal more detail can be recorded if you save the image as a RAW file rather than a standard JPEG (billions of possible shades instead of millions).
The difference might sound academic, but when you start pushing colours, shades and contrast with the tools in an image editing program you’ll quickly find that a JPEG doesn’t look so good. A Raw editing program will usually allow you to tweak the exposure by at least the equivalent of a couple of stops as well as re-thinking the White Balance.
Once you’ve finished editing a Raw file the changes are preserved in a ‘sidecar’ file (just the changes, not the data), but saving out to a JPEG is the best way to share your work with the rest of the world.
Final Cut Pro
There are a number of plugins available to assist with the correction of curvy horizons. One of the most popular is available from Alex4D.com and is yours for the price its development.
Once installed it creates an extra effect you can apply to any clip in Final Cut Pro X. It includes a full set of presets for GoPros, or if you’re correcting the DJI Phantom 2 Vision+ You can choose the GoPro 127° preset which is pretty close.
Alternatively if you can’t match your lens precisely select ‘Custom’ in the drop-down and you can adjust the correction yourself. You can even change the colours of the on screen guide grid if needs be.
Adobe’s flagship video editor provides a useful cross-platform editing tool and in the 2014 CC version they added support for GoPro and DJI Phantom lens correction without leaving the program.
Once you’ve got your clip in the timeline, simply open the Effects pane, and in the Presets folder you’ll find Lens Distortion Removal folders. Open your camera’s brand and model and then drag the correct file to your clip (the filed of view of the camera, and hence the amount of correction required, varies depending on your choice of image resolution amongst other features. If you find you select the wrong one, you’ll need to undo or remove it before applying another, or both will be applied at once.
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