How to remove the fisheye effect from GoPro Hero 2 videos with free software ?

How to remove the fisheye effect from GoPro Hero 2 videos with free software ?

The GoPro Hero 2 is a great camera that can shoot beautiful video with a very wide angle. I find the fisheye effect pretty cool for videos with lots of activity with a person in the middle but on videos with landscapes the fisheye effect can bring some annoying distortions. The GoPro is my first camera, so I do not have any professional video editing software (and I do not want to buy one).

Fisheye Correction example on 1080p Wide Video from Go Pro Hero 2

Fisheye Correction example on 1080p Wide Video from Go Pro Hero 2

How to remove the fisheye effect of the GoPro Hero 2 with free software?

By using the free software Virtualdub with the  plugin Barrel distortion correction, I got the following result:

And here is a video explaining how to use virtualdub with the plugin:

Step by step explanation

  •     download Virtualdub 32 bits (the plugin is not available for the 64-bit version)
  •     download the plugin pack containing the plugin Barrel Distortion Correction from Emiliano Ferrari
  •     Copy the vdf files from the plugin pack into the plugins folder of virtualdub
  •     Start virtualdub
  •     Open the video (the video must be in AVI to be opened in virtualdub, you can use GoPro CineForm Studio software supplied with the GoPro to convert video to AVI)
  •     Select Full processing mode in the video menu
  •     In the video menu, click on Filters …, and then add the filter Barrel Distortion
  •     Uncheck Aspect Ratio and put the following values according to the angle used to film the video:
wide
 alpha=-0.3
 beta=0.08
medium
 alpha=-0.16900
 beta=0.03300
narrow
 alpha=-0.082
 beta=0.015

To determine the correct values, you first need to modify alpha (in the negative numbers) until the parts in the top center and bottom center are vertical, then you need to modify beta by going towards positive numbers until things are correctly horizontal. If you find better values, do not hesitate to send them to me.

  • Then, as we are in the mode Full processing mode, you must choose a compression codec ( menu video, then compression). If you leave uncompressed expect to have videos of several gigabytes.
  • Finally, you just have to save the video and wait for virtualdub to finish the job.

15 thoughts on “How to remove the fisheye effect from GoPro Hero 2 videos with free software ?

  1. Thank you for the info. I have downloaded VirtualDub and the filter. I just got the GoPro Hero 3 Black Edition. The default file type is .avi. When I go to open the file in VirtualDub it says it can not use this file. Suggestions?

    • I don’t have a GoPro Hero 3 but I guess the problem is that virtualdub cannot open the codec of the new GoPro. A solution would be to convert the video using a more classic codec that virtualdub can read.

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  5. Thank you for your settings! I’ve been fiddling around trying to get the best settings for my GoProHero 3 Black Edition and your settings hit the sweet spot!

  6. Hey, nice tutorial, but i´ve got a problem while trying the .vdf files from the archives downloaded from the plugin pack: In the folder of barrel distortion there are like 5 files but none of them has a .vdf domain.

    I´ll be really happy if you could help

    sebastián

    • Hey Sebastián,
      From the link I put in the article, download the binaries full pack (the file is called All_Filters_Bin.zip) and this file should contains a good number of vdf files. Those files must be put in the plugins folder of VirtualDub.
      There isn’t any specific folder for barrel distortion in that archive.
      Let me know if it helps.

  7. Hmm… keep in mind that this method leads to a loss of quality – 2 times, at least:
    1) when converting to AVI (recompression 1)
    2) when saving the corrected video (recompression 2)

    But I believe that this is the only FREE way to fix the fisheye effect.

  8. Went through this procedure with a 5GB AVI file and when I started saving it, although I had selected Compression, it predicted a 66GB output file. Any ideas what may be wrong here ?

    • After selection Compression, you need to select a Codec. The default codec may have been some uncompressed video format. If the codec list is very small on your computer, download a codec pack to have the classic ones like xvid.

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