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Tutorial: Enhancing GoPro Footage With Photoshop's Camera Raw Plug-in

I'm a big fan of Camera Raw because of its simple time-saving features. In this tutorial, I'll demonstrate how to enhance some GoPro footage with color and lens-distortion issues.

In this tutorial, I’ll provide some tips on using Photoshop and Camera Raw to enhance your GoPro footage. I’m a big fan of Camera Raw because of its simple time-saving features. Camera Raw is a program that ships with Adobe Photoshop as part of the Adobe Creative Cloud suite. If you have Photoshop installed, then Camera Raw is already on your system. The two programs work together.

In the project I’ll show here, I’m going to use them to correct some lens distortion, and adjust the tonality and color, of some GoPro footage that you can see in Figure 1 (below).

Figure 1. This GoPro clip has lens-distortion and color issues. Click the image to see it at full size.

Choosing GoPro Settings

For this tutorial, I’ll use footage I recorded using the wideview, flat color profile, Protune mode settings on my GoPro Hero 3+. I’d recommend you do the same if you know you’re going to post-process your GoPro footage. These settings will give you most control of tonality and color.

Importing the GoPro Clip and Preparing it for Editing

Starting with Photoshop open, import our GoPro clip by navigating to File > Open, then locating the file in your computer. Once the file is open, you’ll see your video in Photoshop. Right-click your video in the Layers panel, and select the Convert to Smart Object option (Figure 2, below). This will allow you to make universal adjustments to your video, as opposed to a single frame. Shooting with the GoPro wideview settings often result in a distorted fisheye look, which creates problems in some projects, but might be OK if that's what you want.

Figure 2. Converting the clip to a Smart Object

Correcting Lens Distortion

I’m going to correct that distortion in the Photoshop menu by navigating to Filter > Lens Correction (Figure 3, below). The Lens Correction dialog box opens.

Figure 3. Choose Filter > Lens Correction to address the fisheye issue.

In the Auto Correction tab of the Lens Correction dialog box you can dial in the make and model of your camera under Search Criteria. I'll select GoPro under the make, and then Hero 3+ Black Edition under model (Figure 4, below).

Figure 4. Dialing in our camera make and model.

Then press OK, and Photoshop will automatically correct the lens distortion, based on your camera profile. You can turn this feature on and off by selecting the eyeball icon next to lens correction (Figure 5, below). In this example, we’ll pay close attention to the fence on the right when this feature is enabled. As you can see in Figure 6 (below Figure 5), the program does a great job of correcting the fisheye look there.

Figure 5. Click the eyeball icon to toggle Lens Correction on and off.

Figure 6. The original clip is on top; the image with the fisheye look corrected is on the bottom.

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In this tutorial we'll explore how you can use Adobe Photoshop to apply a customized black-and-white filter to your footage to created a stylized effect. Although Photoshop isn't a video-first tool, it does offer some nice features that aren't available in Premiere Pro or After Effects.