GoPro Tutorial – Fisheye Removal & Polishing Techniques

This is an inside look at my personal tips and tricks to add polish to your GoPro drone, gimbal, and other clips by removing the fisheye and adding cinematic moves. In this tutorial I walk you through Premiere and After Effects step-by-step to make the most out of your footage. This tutorial is relatively advanced, and I assume you have a sufficient knowledge of Premiere, and know your way around After Effects.

This is curriculum I taught to the editors inside GoPro, and the same methods I’ve used on countless high-profile projects in my professional work. Below are some videos that utilize these methods to a large degree:

HERO5/Karma Launch Video

In this video, once we were finished and locked the cut, we went through and used optics compensation just as I’ve shown in the tutorial above. Each clip was dynamically linked and brought into After Effects. Keep an eye out where you see smooth rotating drone shots, and see if you can spot specific instances that look like they have moves done in post!

Japan Snow: A Search for Perfection

This was one of the first videos that I really utilized the techniques that I show in the tutorial above. You’ll recognize a few of the shots that I showed within the tutorial, as well as a bunch more. I suggest watching this video through and see if you can spot the shots that have optics compensation applied (there are a lot!).

GoPro Karma: California Weekend

Watch the full original video from the tutorial!

Thanks for sitting through the tutorial! Let me know if you enjoy content like this, and if you want more! What would you like to see?

If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to ask below. Thanks!


GoPro HERO5 Black

Video Settings in the HERO5 Black

GoPro Karma Drone

  • Jeremy Taylor

    Do you put your videos through GoPro Cineform before editing or just import them directly into Priemere/After Effects?

  • Chet Kenisell

    Thanks for putting this together! I am always looking for the best techniques for post! I am sure that I will have lots of questions as I watch these videos much more closely.

  • Chet Kenisell

    This is brilliant Abe. Thanks for sharing. I love that I will be able to adjust the fisheye on my 4K drone shots. So many questions now that I’ve had a chance to watch everything…
    1. It looks like you cut everything in Premiere Pro first, get your timing and audio down, and then you do your final polishing in AE, render out your comps and then import and replace the original footage in PP. Is that your workflow?
    2. What is actually on the video that you turned off on V2 in Premiere?
    3. Do you pretty much shoot everything on the Karma Drone with 4K and then fix with optics compensation?
    4. Can you explain which shots were with the PolarPro ND Filters and which ones were not?
    5. I have read in your other articles that you prefer to use GoPro Color and not Flat color in ProTune mode. Why not shoot in Flat so that you have more dynamic range and then color grade in post? Your footage looks soooo good right out of the camera. I have followed all of your other tutorials and I can’t get my darks so “inky” with such good saturation throughout without blowing out the bright areas. Your footage is so clean and sharp. I don’t understand what I am doing wrong!
    6. Regarding the shot where you were trying to follow Justin, was this a Cable Cam shot where you tilted the camera up at the end manually, was it a Reveal or all manual controls?
    7. You mentioned at the end that you do some color grading in AE. Can you share some best practices for doing that?

    Sorry for so many questions. I would love to just spend a day with you at GoPro headquarters just to soak up so much knowledge.

    • Glad I could help!
      1. Yes
      2. Just the rendered out color/effects from After Effects. I had it rendered out all as one single clip as I mentioned you could do, as opposed to individual renders for each clip.
      3. Yes, unless I need slow motion – but mostly I do 4K.
      4. In this video none had ND filters, shot this before I got any.
      5. Yes, I do prefer GoPro color – I find it’s easier (obviously). The trick to getting clean and sharp footage is shooting during super beautiful light…sounds easy enough, but yes that’s the starting place.
      6. No cable cam, just manual follow and pan up.
      7. I really didn’t add anything except for a basic curve over each clip. Mellow S curve that brought up the blacks and added a little contrast is all.

      • Chet Kenisell

        Thanks for the reply Abe! I am going to try the Mellow S curve. Regarding #4, you must have been using Auto Shutter then if it was bright out and you didn’t have ND filters. Is that a safe assumption? I am still trying to figure out how to keep the exposure steady when going from shaded area to bright areas (like the sunset) without the ND Filters.

        • Yeah, auto shutter.

          • Chet Kenisell

            Looks like the new Karma update will allow us to set the exposure lock. So, we can get those shots that transition between dark and light areas without the exposure auto adjusting.

  • Danny

    This was awesome, lots of great tips for all types of editing – even outside of adobe. Thanks!

  • Kajuna

    Some good tips I did not know of there, thanks. I’ve got a suggestion, though. When you pan right on the palm trees shot, you can see the wide angle distortion on the leaves going from the edge to the centre. You can avoid that by tweaking the position of the optics compensation effect. You can link that to the clip’s position with an expression so that it always compensates what it should

    • Yeah, I’ve experimented with both, sometimes shifting the center of the optics also creates some funny distortion movements. Always will depend on the shot, obviously the palm shot in the tutorial I did pretty quickly and is opposite of the direction I actually had in my final piece.

  • Love the tutorials man, you gotta do more. I always used Lens Correction within Premiere, so now I’ll be using Optics Compensation all the time. I’m sure people would like to see how you color grade, since I see a lot of people always asking. And, I’m sure some tutorials on transition effects would be cool too.

    • Yeah, I found lens correction in premiere was suuuper slow. This does it much quicker and gives you the additional abilities in post.

      • Yep, lens correction in Premiere does fix the lens distortion pretty good, but it crops it. So, I love this Optics Compensation because it saves data and is much more versatile. This was a huge tip, thanks man!

  • A(nDroid)Sebrell

    Thanks. Super helpfull as always. I have been shooting 2.7k medium 60fps on the Hero4 Black with a drone to avoid excessive fisheye. But with these tips maybe I’ll try 4K 30fps at the same time as I’m also getting comfortable with Premiere coming from FCPx. Since you’re at 30fps I’m assuming you’re shooting in 4K wide, is that correct?

    • Correct

      • A(nDroid)Sebrell

        In premiere, how do you deal with 1440 or other POV formats. I’ve watched your dynamic stretch video but that was a few years ago on FCPx. Thanks.

      • A(nDroid)Sebrell

        After optics compensation and positional correcting, then rendering, files seem to go from 1GB to 7 – 12 GB. Is this normal or a setting in the export I could be overlooking.

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  • PJ

    Hey Abe, thank you for your tutorial. I’m still using my GoPro HERO4 Silver + gimbal. Which settings do you recommend for a cinematic shooting style? My idea is shooting on 2.7K/30fps/FoV: Wide(post: AE fisheye Removal)/Protune: WB: Auto/Color: Flat/Sharpness: Low. Is this the best for my camera and style? Kind regards, Pascal

  • Paul Duxfield

    Hi Abe, love your tutorials and advice. I have a Hero 5 and was looking for a similar pro level tutorial for an end to end workflow suggestion for shooting and grading underwater footage. I shoot already with a variety of cameras underwater, inc 4/3 and DSLR.
    And usually use a Magic Filter in combo with a post grade.
    I have never been able to get quite the same results as seen in the official GoPro 5 UW video, and was wondering how that was achieved from both a shooting and post production perspective?
    Have you any recommendations of other resources that I could maybe tap into from experts in this field.
    I am happy to use Adobe Premiere Elements, GoPro’s own software and DaVinci Resolve, or all of the above, but would prefer as straightforward a solution as possible, as I am often asked to pass on this info to others as part of my job, and would like a solution that delivered the best quality without having to insist that people buy Premiere Pro and After Effects ( I have both of these and FCPX) so don’t hold back if that is the best solution, but it would be lovely to pass on a less costly solution to people I encounter on my escorted dive trips.
    Thank you in advance and keep up the good work.

    • Simon Wyndham

      Resolve 14 Studio. Can do all the lens correction using the same methods as Abe did in AE, but you can do it in one package. See my other post at the top.

  • Stephen Skaar

    Hey Abe, I don’t know if you exactly said or shared this yet, but what do you do after you have the edited clip in after effects and it is ready to be put back in Premiere?

  • Anthony Swiecicki

    Since I am using the hero 4 silver, is it still possible to do the optic compensation on 2.7k?

    • A(nDroid)Sebrell

      It’s works the same. I shoot in 2.7k all the time to take advantage of 60fps with the Hero4 Black. You just have slightly less room to play with in regards to the scaling and positioning for movements in post. I also found ~65 to look better at 2.7k instead of 70 for the FOV aspect.

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  • Simon Wyndham

    A great video. One thing I will say is that DaVinci Resolve 14 Studio is worth investigating. It has an automatic fisheye correction, which is one method. However, in the SFX filters in the colour correction area it has another optical correction filter, which gives the same result as selecting the options you have in AE, meaning that you can retain more resolution than a standard lens correction filter (it even has options for filling in the sides with different patching options, doing the same job you did with the skiers walking through the snow in one click). The same filter also contains an X and Y perspective adjustment so that you can correct the verticals and get them lined up after the optics correction has done it’s thing. And it’s much, much faster in terms of rendering than AE. At least on the Mac.

    Another thing you should investigate is motion blur. Resolve Studio can add motion blur afterwards based on movement (as can Reel Smart Motion Blur from ReVision Effects, although Resolve is an order of magnitude faster at rendering it). This means that instead of using ND filters on location to get natural motion blur, which can cock up slow motion if you are filming at 60 or 120fps etc, you can instead dial in the exact amount of motion blur you want for the shot. So you can do a speed ramp for instance and have a different motion blur setting for the normal speed section than the slow motion portion.