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Handy Tips For Stabilising Your Footage In Post

By lunamik / July 6, 2016

One of the most basic yet often overlooked factors when filming footage is stability. There are times, especially when taking videos of moving objects, that the videos become too shaky. Thanks to the advancements in digital technology there are now ways to stabilise videos using video editing software. Why is stability so important? Well, ideally your video should maintain your audience’s attention from start to finish. And to maintain their attention is to keep them entranced in the illusion that you are creating. Behind the scenes, singular videos can be shot over various different days, in different orders, with different lighting conditions and different people. But your finished product should create a fluid illusion; that it was all pieced together in a linear fashion. To maintain this illusion, you have to limit the disturbances that would disrupt the viewer’s engagement – aspects that make them remember that they are watching a video, and one of these aspects is our arch nemesis camera shake.

Here are some ways that Lunamik reccomends to stabilise your shaky videos using video editing software.

Adobe Premiere Pro

If you are using Adobe Premiere Pro for editing your videos and footage, you already probably know that Premiere Pro has an easy way to deal with shaky videos. There is an effect in Adobe Premiere Pro called Warp Stabiliser. Once you activate this effect, it automatically adjusts the video in order to decrease the shakiness. It can be activated by selecting the Effects Panel and clicking the Warp Stabiliser checkbox. You can also edit the smoothness parameter depending on the preferred degree of stabilisation. Here’s a great tutorial that will get you up and running with Adobe’s Warp Stabiliser.

Be aware that in all forms of digital stabilisation in post – your image will be cropped. This is a byproduct of all stabilisation, no matter what program you use. For the algorithm to achieve a stable shot, you’ll need to sacrifice the pixels on the edges of your frame so that the program can warp your image in a way that reduces the appearance of shake. How many pixels you’ll have to give up is all dependent on how shaky the shot is and what’s in it. But tweaking the advanced options should yield a result that minimises the crop factor.

Final Cut Pro

A video editing program which is favoured by beginners right through to professionals is Final Cut Pro. Just like Adobe and its other counterparts, it also has a feature that stabilises a video, equipped with a customisable ‘smoothness’ adjusting option. For Final Cut Pro users, there is even more control in terms of adjusting the scale, rotation and position of the videos. To explore this feature, check the inspector then click the video tab and choose the stabilisation button. Adjust the sliders depending on the smoothness that you prefer.

DaVinci Resolve

Another editing program for clips and footage is the industry acclaimed Da Vinci Resolve. Da Vinci Resolve is a high-quality editing program that has advanced means of colour correction and very advanced Stabiliser editing options. For those on a budget or newcomers to advanced editing, Da Vinci might fall a little out of your price range with the full version sitting at around $1300. However, the light version – which is free – will provide you with all the stabilisation functionality you require. To find it, DaVinci Resolve’s image stabiliser sits inside the Tracker Palette. From the Tracker Palette you can see the option to stabilise. The Stabiliser will then analyse the footage back to front and will get rid of the unwanted shakiness or wobbling of the video.

Avid Media Composer

Avid Media Composer is another industry standard video editing program that’s main purpose is to serve professional filmmakers. Nonetheless, the stabilisation settings in Avid Media Composer is relatively easy to use and comes equipped with tracking and stabilisation features that will work wonders for your footage. The tracker has the ability to track specific parts of the video independently. With this, you can also edit the colour effects and minimise blurring.

With the help of advanced technologies, there are indeed so many ways to improve the quality of footage that you will use for your videos. Still, it’s great to know the basics when it comes to shooting stable footage, as it will likely save you a lot of time in the long run.

For more handy tips and tricks vist Lunamik’s Blog for regular updates on new strategies and news within the media and tech space.

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