GoPro movies shot with Wide or Medium field of view have an outspoken fisheye lens effect to them. Only footage shot with Narrow has less of that effect. Sometimes this fisheye effect is what you want. Often it isn’t. Crumplepop’s Fisheye Fixer plug-in can get rid of the effect and straighten lines amazingly well.
If you look at the GoPro lens, the Wide angle is probably the one that most accurately renders what the lens captures. The two other angles result in digital zoom-in renditions. This is something you can see clearly when shooting the same scene with each of the settings starting from the same physical location.
Crumplepop developed this plug-in specially for GoPro users, and the full name of the plug-in therefore is “Fisheye Fixer for GoPro”. The company website shows examples including a bridge and a horizon that should be straight.
I first tested the Fisheye Fixer with existing footage… and quickly found that it works, but not perfectly. The reason was that I didn’t remember the setting of these clips anymore. Were they shot Wide, Medium, or Narrow? Only God knows.
So, I set up a simple test in-house. I took the Glidetrack slider, mounted a GoPro on it. Then I placed a few books next to the Glidetrack and a solid office trolley in front of it, slightly to the left. The whole set was about two meters in total, which is very cramped in my opinion. The fisheye effect was meant to be clearly visible, and it is.
I then set the GoPro to 1080p60 and Wide, and made a glide forward. Did the same with Medium and with Narrow. You can admire the results in the clips on this page. The bottom-line is: it works and it’s not hard to get it 99% right.
The Fisheye Fixer is easy to operate. You drag it to a clip on the timeline. Select Wide, Medium or Narrow from the drop-down and drag the Tune slider to left or right until it looks OK. Try the Tune part on different parts of the clip for best results.
A word of advice: Remember which setting you used for each clip you shot. If needed, make a note of it — e.g. note the time of a shot and add the angle to it. It’s important for the results to look their best. I added the angle for each clip to the Name field of the Info Inspector in Final Cut Pro X.
I did notice that for the Wide angle my “scene” needed Tune set to 10. For the Medium setting, the Tune slider was best halfway. Narrow didn’t need any Tune at all.
With objects that are very close by, the fix is never 100%, but that’s normal. It’s not a lens replacement. Your footage also loses a bit of sharpness. Luckily, a little bit of digital sharpening corrects this.
I guess you could use Crumplepop’s newest plug-in for other lenses than GoPros as well, but I couldn’t try that. For GoPro distortions — what it is developed for in the first place — it works like a charm.
Fisheye Fixer for GoPro is one of those rare plug-ins that you can’t be without as it gives you the choice between dramatic and accurate perspective with the switch of a button.