Flicker Free fixes one of the most common problems in video

Written by Heath McKnight

Review: Need to remove flicker in your video? Digital Anarchy has the answer with its Flicker Free plugin.

Flicker Free removes most common types of flicker. Image: Shutterstock composite.
Flicker Free removes most common types of flicker. Image: Shutterstock composite.

Digital Anarchy’s Flicker Free is a plugin to remove unwanted flicker from video footage. This can be caused by slow-motion, cameras that are out of sync, time-lapse, issues with LED lights, drone footage, and more. It’s available for Final Cut Pro X, Premiere Pro, After Effects, Avid and OpenFX for both Windows and Mac users.

We put it to the test to see how well it works.

Digital Anarchy Flicker Free in action

Digital Anarchy Flicker Free first debuted in 2014, and has been a staple plugin for the company. Try as we might, video with flicker can happen, sometimes when doing slow- or fast-motion or time-lapse effects, but also cameras that are out of sync, drone video, issues with LED lighting and more.

In my early years of production, occasionally someone would forget to turn off a camera’s OIS when it sat on the tripod, creating visual problems that made the video nearly unusable.

Flicker Free in FCP X
Flicker Free in FCP X

For this review, Digital Anarchy supplied three clips of video:

  • Time-lapse of the Golden Gate Bridge with flicker
  • Pouring coffee with rolling bands (similar to leaving OIS on while a camera is on a tripod)
  • Slow-motion of steam with flicker

These video clips can be used, but it would stand out on your timeline and in the final video render. In the Final Cut Pro X (10.4.8) Inspector, I changed the settings of Flicker Free before dragging it to each clip. I selected Time Lapse for the first clip, Rolling Horizontal Bands (LED Lights) for the second, and Slow Motion for the third. I let my iMac quickly render the clips for smoother playback (check out my small note below about background rendering and scrubbing), and the results are very impressive.

Take a look at the before and after clips:

 

 

You can adjust the settings further to help remove the flicker. In addition, Digital Anarchy strongly suggests putting the Flicker Free plugin on your footage before you add any other filters.

A small note: Digital Anarchy recommends FCP X users turn off the background rendering and timeline scrubbing, since the plugin is analyzing every frame. Once I hit render, it was quick, and playback and timeline scrubbing (when turned back on) were both perfectly smooth.

Interestingly, Digital Anarchy says it doesn’t use a system’s GPU, which could slow down renders because Flicker Free is analyzing a lot of frames of video. So it may be slow to render, no matter the host application. Again, my render times weren’t bad, and the results are worth any potential extra wait.

A selection of the flicker removal options in Flicker Free.
A selection of the flicker removal options in Flicker Free.

The iMac used for this review

  • 2019 iMac Retina 5K
  • 1 GHz 6-Core Intel Core i5
  • 32 GB 2667 MHz DDR4 RAM
  • Radeon Pro 575X 4 GB Graphics Card

To give you an example of render speeds, with this machine 14 seconds of video took 2:53 to render within FCP X.

System requirements

 Flicker Free is available on these platforms:

  • Adobe Premiere Pro CC
  • Adobe After Effects CC
  • Final Cut Pro X
  • DaVinci Resolve
  • Avid, AVX 2
  • Nuke
  • VEGAS Pro
  • Other OpenFX software

It’s available for these operating systems:

  • macOS 10.12 and later, plus 10.6 to 10.11
  • Windows 10, plus 7 & 8, and XP 64-bit

Conclusion

This is a pretty good plugin to add to your NLE or VFX software toolbox. We can’t always control everything when we’re filming - and that includes audio issues like the wind - but there are tools out there like Digital Anarchy Flicker Free that can help fix those problems. Nearly a decade ago, I remember a producer showed me beautiful drone footage mostly plagued with rolling bands. This would’ve solved it.

Download the free demo and do some tests yourself on video with flicker or bands caused during time lapse, slow- or fast-motion filming, or issues with LED lights. You’ll see how well Flicker Free can work for you. The cost is only $149, which removes the watermark. Check out the website for more information, and to download the demo.

Tags: Post & VFX

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