If you are a GoPro user or any action camera user for that matter, you know what the fisheye effect does.
It has become a trademark of GoPros, I could say, and most of the times comes in very handy. It allows you to capture more of the action by offering a wide view angle.
On top of that, it looks really cool too.
But there are situations in which the fisheye effect doesn’t work.
Maybe you just want to vlog using your GoPro.
Or maybe you are using your GoPro on a drone and you don’t want the horizon line to be bent.
These are just a couple of the situations in which you would want to remove the GoPro fisheye effect, but I’m sure there are a ton more.
How does the fisheye effect work?
It all has to do with the type of lenses you are using on the camera.
The GoPro comes with the so-called “fisheye” lens which is an ultra-wide angle lens that covers horizontal / landscape view of up to 122.6 degrees if you are using a GoPro Hero Black for example.
That’s pretty wide. Depending on which field of view you are using, that angle will change.
With the GoPro, you can really get far away from your subject (which usually is yourself), so getting everything in the shoot wouldn’t be possible if it wasn’t for the fisheye lens.
So with a GoPro, you get an intentional distortion of things, especially on the sides of the image, so that more stuff fits in the shot.
That’s why you have straight lines looking like they are bent. So it is actually the lens which does all the job.
If you look at the lens of your GoPro from the side you will notice that it’s curved. That’s because the edges of the lens are built to distort the light which comes into the sensor of your GoPro, creating that fisheye effect.
OK great, but how do I turn it off? What if I don’t want the fisheye view on my GoPro. Is there any way to remove it?
Sure there is. And it’s quite simple too.
Here’s how to remove it.
Hot to remove the fisheye view
There are a few different methods to do this.
The first one is to change the settings on the camera, the second one is to correct the fisheye distortion on post-production and the third one is to use a correction lens on your GoPro.
So let’s look at each of these methods.
#1 Use Linear mode
This is the quickest way of removing the fisheye effect of a GoPro, but not the best in my opinion, as it comes with a few important drawbacks.
Please note this will work only for HERO6 Black, HERO5 Black and HERO5 Session. There are the only GoPro models which support Linear field of view.
If you are familiar with the field of view settings you can use on a GoPro, you know that you can get a tighter or wider shot by selecting between different options such as Wide, Medium, Narrow, Superview or Linear.
The Liner view will help you get rid of the fisheye effect completely and it’s the best option to use.
Here’s how it looks.
Cons of using Linear field of view:
- you can’t go back to the fisheye look
- works only for specific frame rates and resolutions
- can’t be used for time-lapse videos (works for time-lapse photos though)
- the edges of the shoot will get slightly cut off.
#2 Use Narrow or Medium FoV
Whenever you are using any of the other field of view settings (except Linear), the fisheye effect will still be there, but it will be more or less dramatic depending on which one you use.
The wider the shot is, the greater the fisheye effect will be.
The Superview is the widest shoot with the most dramatic fisheye effect, while the Narrow setting has a less dramatic fisheye effect, but the view angle will be much smaller.
The Narrow setting will use more of the center of the sensor to crop the image, so it will include less of the fisheye distortion. Even so, there will be some bending on the sides.
So if you are OK with have just a little bit of a fisheye effect in there you can use the Narrow setting.
Here’s how it looks compared with the other field of view options (left is Normal, the middle is Medium and right is Narrow).
Image credits go to Mitch Bergsma.
Cons of using a Narrow field of view:
- you will capture less of the action
- the footage will be shakier
- you can’t go back to the fisheye look
#3 Remove the GoPro fisheye effect in post-production
Most of the times this will be your best course of action.
GoPro used to offer a really quick and simple fix to this in their own video editing software – GoPro Studio. Unfortunately, that has been discontinued and it is not available for download anymore.
However, we now have two new video editing apps, Quick and Slice. Luckily, Quick has a desktop version which you can get from here, but as far as I am aware it does not have a feature to help you remove the fisheye effect.
Remove the fisheye effect with Premiere Pro
You can remove the fisheye effect of your GoPro footage in a matter of minutes and with just a few clicks in Premiere Pro.
Here’s what you need to do.
After you have imported you clip and dropped in on the timeline, go to the effects tab and search for “Distortion”.
Here’s what you should see.
Depending on which version of Premiere Pro you are using you should find more or less the same Distortion effect presets.
As you can see Adobe included several presets that are customized for removing the fisheye effect of most GoPro models and DJI drones.
Additionally, there’s a dedicated preset for each video resolution and frame rate.
If you are using a different action camera, like I did in this video, don’t worry about it. You can still remove the fisheye effect.
Select the preset which matches your camera and settings, or the one which is closest to your settings.
Drop in over your video and then go the Effect Control tab.
Here you can play around with all the settings and notice the changes in real time. Make adjustments until you are happy with the output.
There are other free and paid video editing programs that will allow you to remove the fisheye effect too. After Effects has an effect called Optics Compensation and Filmora also has an Action Cam Tool which comes with a Lens Correction option.
To wrap this up you basically have 2 options.
First is to remove the fisheye effect in pre-production, when you shoot. Do this by using the Linear mode or Narrow field of view.
Or use a video editing software such as Premiere Pro, After Effect or Filmore to get rid of it in post-production.