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stabilizing footage


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#1 PaulIVX

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Posted 08 August 2010 - 12:32 PM

I have some jittery film back from the lab. Now I want to stabilize it in post digitally. What is the best way to do it? With Motion I can see a slight loss of sharpness. Is there any better program to do this? Which one? I am using an Imac.

Best regards

Paul
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#2 Steve Wallace

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Posted 08 August 2010 - 03:46 PM

Are you sure it is a slight loss of sharpness? Or is it that your footage is now slightly zoomed in. Therefore causing the pixels / grain to appear larger? If so, there is really no way to avoid that when stabilizing shaky footage like this. Unless you do the stupid repeat edge pixel thing, which I will pre-supposed that you are not interested in because its worthless for this application.

I've used the following with good results on different projects.

  • Final Cut Pro 7+ tool SmoothCam
  • Adobe After Effects
  • iStabalize
I wouldn't recommend one over the other. They all have their ups and downs. Currently I use SmoothCam the most. But that is because its in Final Cut, so the workflow is easiest and it does a good enough job. After Effects seems to have the most control, you can adjust individual track points by hand, and it seems to do a better job tracking multiple objects. iStabilize is a stand alone product, in my experience it's worked about as well as SmoothCam, which is totally acceptable. The only problem is, you have export your footage like AE, but it lacks the versatility.

Ps. I have little experience with Motion. I was never able to get result much better than SmootCam, and it took me more time. If I was going to spend that much time, I figured I would use After Effects. If I had to guess, I would think that Motion falls somewhere between the two with a competent operator (which I would not consider myself)
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#3 Mathew Rudenberg

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Posted 08 August 2010 - 03:49 PM

I have some jittery film back from the lab. Now I want to stabilize it in post digitally. What is the best way to do it? With Motion I can see a slight loss of sharpness. Is there any better program to do this? Which one? I am using an Imac.

Best regards

Paul


I'm not an post guy, but I suspect that you're likely to get some loss of sharpness regardless of what stabilizing program you use.

Most post stabilizers work by zooming in on the image and then moving it to counter the shake. They have to zoom in enough that when they move the image you don't see it's edges, so the greater the range of the shake the more it zooms in and the softer the image gets.

You can also get some softness if the shake is introducing motion blur, as the motion blur will still appear even though the image no longer moves.

The only solution I can think of is to only partially fix the shake, which should allow less of a zoom in and thus greater sharpness.
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#4 Kevin W Wilson

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Posted 09 August 2010 - 02:00 PM

It depends on how bad the footage is shaking around. If we're talking Bourne style stuff then you may be out of luck, if it's just little bumps from a poorly set up dolly track or similar then there is hope.

After Effects has some pretty decent tracking tools built into it that can do the job. If the footage isn't too bad you can dump the motion tile effect on and build false edges into your footage which depending on the shot may or may not be noticed too much.

There's a phenomenal plug in called Mocha that does a great job of stabilizing shots, I believe they used it for basic stuff on Cloverfield.
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#5 Steven Boldt

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Posted 19 August 2010 - 04:00 PM

I have some jittery film back from the lab. Now I want to stabilize it in post digitally. What is the best way to do it? With Motion I can see a slight loss of sharpness. Is there any better program to do this? Which one? I am using an Imac.

Best regards

Paul


I haven't watched this in a while but it could be usefull. I believe you can control the amount of stabilization you want.

http://www.videocopi..._shaky_footage/
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#6 Will Montgomery

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Posted 20 August 2010 - 08:59 AM

The slight softness is from the slight enlargement the software has to do to compensate for the empty areas that show up as it moves the frame around. To avoid it you can tell the software not to zoom and have black empty areas around the edges or have the film scanned again in HD, stabilize then scale it down to SD.

The other thing you can do is to cut out the worst frames and then stabilize which will limit how much it has to enlarge.
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#7 Martin Baumgarten

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Posted 21 August 2010 - 08:11 PM

Hi Paul. You didn't state if the film itself is jittery or the way it looks in the video transfer you had done. One of the most basic variables here is film lubrication prior to transfer and/or projection. If you have a good film editor, such as a GOKO or better, take a look at the film again and see if the jittering is in the actual film image. This would indicate cartridge or camera difficulty at the time it was shot. If the footage looks steady, then you'll know it was an unsteady transfer...in which case I would have it professionally transferred again with the film first being cleaned and lubricated. I mention this, since if the film is fine, why play around in post with software that so often means having to compromise? So, if the film isn't fine, well, then consider your post options. Good luck!
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#8 Phil Rhodes

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Posted 21 August 2010 - 08:24 PM

You should look at Freddy Van de Putte's stuff:



He's got some very successful techniques for super-8 there which I believe is mainly done with free software.

P
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