The Lens and Flicker 1

When you buy a camera like the Rebel, it comes with a SLR lens (Single Lens Reflex) with Auto-Focus. The lens is great to shoot everyday photos with, but it might cause your animation to flicker. Why?

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Flickering can be caused by a bunch of stuff like:

  1. an Auto Focus lens
  2. Camera sensors inside the camera
  3. Your exposure and shutter speed


To avoid flickering, it's recommended to open your lens up and to use long shutter speeds.

I tried this and it helped a bit but wasn't enough to completely solve the problem. The flickering I experienced during my inital tests was mainly caused by my lens. But why would my new auto-focus lens cause my animation to flicker?

The answer is that photos vary slightly in brightness everytime you take a shot with a SLR lens. This difference is so subtle that you only see the flicker when you play your images in sequence (sadly this can't be avoided in animation). Ironically, the flickering is noticeable even when you set your camera and your SLR lens to MANUAL.

While it is possible to reduce, or even remove flickering, using software like Adobe After Effects, the process is lengthy and tedious. I would therefore avoid the headaches and heartaches by using an old manual focus lens instead of your SLR. 

But why an old manual lens?

philippevaucher@mac.com © Philippe Vaucher 2013