A Handy Guide to Correct Lens Distortion

By Cecilia Hwung, Updated: April 29, 2019
How to Remove Fisheye/Barrel/Pincushion Distortion from GoPro/Drone 4K/2.7K/HD Video

Lens distortion is a double-edged sword: It makes your shots look interesting but distracts viewers due to the unnatural deformation. So we might end up searching for solutions to address the lens distortion problem. Since fixing the distorted photos has been a cakewalk with tools like Lightroom, the guide focuses on the more difficult correction of lens distortion (fisheye or barrel) for videos.

Most often, drones and action cameras shoot video with terrible barrel distortion (GoPro fisheye is the typical example of this effect). Now that the built-in Linear FOV mode in GoPro Hero 5/6/7 is inaccessible to 4K 2160p video & Timelapse video, and switching to the special tilt-shift lenses is not cost-effective to correct fisheye/barrel lens distortion, post-processing seems to be much more preferred, if your 4K/HD video footages are distorted severely.

GoPro Fisheye Distortion Correction
To Correct Lens Distortion without Too Much Cropping
VideoProc Is Your Best Bet!

How to Correct Fisheye/Barrel Lens Distortion from GoPro/Drone Video

VideoProc is a piece of ease-to-use yet powerful video processing software capable of removing fisheye/barrel/pincushion distortion from videos easily. It accepts any video source, incl. 4K UHD video, time-lapse video and slow-mo video, straightens the fisheye video, and therefore removes the distinctive ultra-wide-angle look from video footage without degrading quality. Most importantly, slow video rendering is never the case with VideoProc. By taking advantages of Full GPU acceleration, it make better use of GPU to process 4K and other large-sized videos pretty fast, without any freezing, stuttering or computer overheating.

Almost all types of video lens distortion are correctable. After downloading and installing VideoProc on your PC or Mac, you can follow step-by-step guides below.

Step 1: Add Source Video to the Fisheye Lens Distortion Correction Software

Launch VideoProc, the video editing software is capable of correcting fisheye distortion, barrel distortion, and pincushion distortion. Click Video icon on the main interface to fire off the video editing and converting feature. Tap +Video button to add the distorted video.

Add Distorted Videos
Step 2: Enable the Fisheye Feature

Click the Toolbox at the bottom of the interface > Find Fisheye and double click on it to enable the fisheye Lens Correction feature.

Choose Fisheye Option - VideoProc
Step 3: Tweak Settings for the Best Possible Result

On the main interface of the Lens Correction, 4 parameter settings are available for you to tweak so that you can have the fisheye/barrel distortion minimized or even removed from your abnormal video.

Settings for Lens Distortion Correction

Here are some suggestions:

  • Parameters
  • Explanation
  • How to Correct Lens Distortion
  • CX

  • Relative x-coordinate of the focal point of the image, and thereby the center of the distortion, with a value ranging from 0 to 1.

  • Focal point will changed horizontally, from right to left typically, when you move the slide bar from 0 to 1.

  • CY

  • Relative y-coordinate of the focal point of the image, and thereby the center of the distortion, with a value ranging from 0 to 1.

  • Focal point will changed vertically, from bottom to top typically, when you move the slide bar from 0 to 1.

  • K1

  • Coefficient of the quadratic correction term, with a value ranging from -1 to 1.

  • The higher the value is, the more barrel distortion it will be. While the lower the value is, the more pincushion distortion it will be. You can get different amount of distortion in your source video, which will affect your post-production. So move the slider bars to do the parameter adjustment and get your best possible result by yourself, based on the preview window on the left side.

  • K2

  • Coefficient of the double quadratic correction term, with a value ranging from -1 to 1.

  • This is the same as K1.


1. Technically, CX and CY actually refers to correct perspective distortion, which isn't a true distortion but a natural characteristic of 3D vision. While K1 and K2 usually involves in correcting barrel/pincushion distortion.

2. The process of correction involves in redistribution of the video resolution. With the correction of barrel distortion, the center will be slightly sharper at the expense of the edge, but with the removal of pincushion distortion, the edges will be slightly sharper at the expense of the center.

3. Video cropping during the lens distortion correction is inevitable as a mean to crop out curved edges of the corrected frame, even when you try other professional video editing software. By far, there is no other solution to overcome this problem. But VideoProc minimizes the auto cropping problem with its unique algorithm and strongly recommends to do the lens distortion removal before you cropping your video.

Step 4: Set the Output Folder

Click Browse button to save the destination for your normal video .

Step 5: Start Fisheye or Barrel Lens Distortion Removal Process

Click RUN button at the bottom of the interface to eliminate the fisheye effect and barrel distortion caused by GoPro or other wide angle camera lens.

Note: Full GPU acceleration is enabled to guarantee the fastest possible processing speed if your computer is equipped with 2012 GeForce GT 630, 2011 Sandy Bridge Intel CPU or newer.

Other Ways to Minimize or Fix Lens Distortion Problem

1. Switch to a New Tilt-Shift Lens

This lens is especially designed for architectural purposes, which reduces the amount of perspective distortion of videos or images on edges. Considering its expensive price tag and shortage of few fixed focal lengths, videographers prefer to video editor software to handle the lens distortion correction.
See the easy-to-use video editors you should never miss >>

2. Use a Longer Lens instead of an Extreme Wide Angle Lens

The former will hopefully shoot video with less distortion as compared to the latter. But foreground and background will change and lead to a totally different look in perspective.

3. Get Hold of Shooting Tricks

Avoid recording buildings or other objects that have straight lines. If you do record the object with straight lines, do it as close to the center of the lens as possible or change your position and shoot from a spot further away from your object. However, these tricks will affect the composition and framing, and more environment will be included in the video or photo.

4. Enable In-camera Feature to Avoid Fisheye Distortion

Most often, camcorders or cameras are equipped with in-camera features such as lens correction, a set of fixes for such common issues including distortion, chromatic aberration, etc. GoPro is one of such action cams. By enabling its linear mode, you can get rid of fisheye distortion from the GoPro footage. Keep in mind the linear mode is only available in GoPro Hero 5/6/7 and works only for specific video resolutions and frame rates. If footages are shot in time-lapse mode or 4K 2160p, just rely on post production to correct fisheye lens distortion in these footages.

5. Seek a Video Editor with Lens Distortion Correction Feature

Post-production is regarded as the most efficient way to remove lens distortion from GoPro or other wide angle lens. But do remember to choose the software with easy-to-use interface, which will save you a lot of time to get to grips with correcting lens distortion quickly and easily. Unlike professional Adobe Premiere Pro that are difficult to operate, suffer a slow rendering and produces cropped images, VideoProc will be enough for you to correct and remove pincushion or barrel lens distortion fast without too much cropping.

External Reading:

You have to bear in mind the lenses can make straight lines appear curved, thus distorting video in various ways. There are mainly 3 types of video lens distortion.

Barrel distortion: The straight lines bow out towards the edge of the image. This is typical in wide angle lenses.

Fisheye Distortion: Video or image looks like it has been blown up like a balloon or pasted onto a sphere.

Pincushion Distortion: The straight lines bend inward. This is typically caused by telephoto lenses.

Related Article

Cecilia Hwung is the marketing manager of Digiarty Software and the editor-in-chief of VideoProc team. She pursues common progress with her team and expects to share more creative content and useful information to readers. She has strong interest in copywriting and rich experience in video editing tips.

Home Video Process Lens Distortion Correction

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