How to Avoid Rolling Shutter Effect

Photography and videography have improved so much in the last few years, thanks to the advancements in camera technology. But there are still a few issues that plague the DSLRs. One of these issues which impacts videography more is the rolling shutter effect. In this guide, we will first learn the difference between a global shutter and a rolling shutter. Then, we will see how to avoid rolling shutter effect to get clarity in our videos. 

What is Rolling Shutter Effect?

To learn how to avoid it, we need to understand what it is and what causes it. Before we move on, you should know that it is also called the ‘Jello Effect’ or Rolling Shutter Artefact. Firstly, you need to know about the two kinds of sensors used in DSLRs and even smartphones; CMOS and CCD. Most cameras and smartphones are equipped with CMOS because it is a standard sensor and easier to manufacture than CCD. However, the CMOS sensors cause the rolling shutter effect. To put it simply, rolling shutter results from the way the CMOS sensor scans and captures the image. A rolling shutter means that the sensor scans the frame in increments. It also means that the top of the frame is scanned first, but once it reaches the bottom, there is a slight lag in the timing. This difference results in a skewed image. On the other hand, a global shutter captures the entire frame in one go.

Why does it matter?

The real question is that even if it occurs, why should you be wary of it. As we mentioned above, the CMOS sensor captures the frame in increments. The effect may not be noticeable for regular users. However, it is prominent when you are making a professional video. If you are shooting a fast-paced object such as a drone’s rotor, you will see that it is not only blurred but wobbly as well.

That is why it is of paramount importance to fix rolling shutter effect. Otherwise, it can cause disturbances in perspective and create distortions, such as skewed straight lines and moving parts.

How to avoid rolling effect in moving helicopter blades

Photo edited in Lightroom.

How to Avoid Rolling Shutter Effect

Fortunately, there are several ways you can use to fix rolling shutter effect. Learning what causes it will be important in picking the perfect method for you. So, we hope you paid attention to the previous section. Now, let us move on to the highlight of this guide.

Increase the Shutter Speed

As we have noted, the real cause of this effect is the difference in time. So, the obvious method is to increase the shutter speed so that the lag is balanced. A thumb rule is to use a shutter speed which is twice your frame rate. You can adjust it further. However, remember not to go overboard. Use a fast shutter speed to cancel the rolling shutter effect, but keep it slow enough to capture some amount of blur when shooting moving objects.

Find Better Angles

This might seem like a simple hack of learning how to avoid rolling shutter effect, but it is more important than you realize. It is equally important to observe if your camera struggles with the rolling shutter effect. If that is the case, you should try to find a way around it, rather than changing your camera. The best way is to find a better angle. For instance, if an object is moving horizontally on the frame, the effect will be more visible. Try to move to a 45-degree position to the moving object to minimize the rolling shutter effect.
How to Avoid Rolling Shutter Effect Passenger plane

Use Proper Gear

If you are serious about fixing rolling shutter effect and your pocket permits you, go for a camera rig. Although you can use a tripod or a monopod, it gets complex when you have to move around with your camera. In this case, it would be better if you had a stabilizer rig to balance your movements. 

If you want a more economical solution to the stabilization problem, you can check out small gimbal stabilizers. Or you want an even more compact solution, a lens with built-in image stabilization is the way to go. It will substantially reduce the effect; however, a rig is still the best way if you have the means to get it.

Fix it in Post-Production

The last method of learning how to avoid rolling shutter effect is to get rid of it in post-processing. Sometimes even when you have tried your utmost to minimize it in the shooting process, it still makes it into the video. Unlike the past, editing software has become so much better at stabilizing the video in post-processing. If you use Adobe Premiere Pro, you can find a dedicated feature for this purpose called the Rolling Shutter Repair effect.

Conclusion - How to Avoid Rolling Shutter Effect

So, there you have it! You have now learned the difference between global and rolling shutter. And you have also learned how to avoid rolling shutter effect. Even though you can correct it in the post, you should avoid it in the shooting process.

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Have a nice photoshoot! 

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