Easy-to-follow video tutorials help you learn software, creative, and business skills.Become a member
Sometimes you may encounter a shot that flickers. The Luminance values change erratically throughout the shot. This can happen with old or archival footage that's a bad development of a film or it can happen, if you say how auto contrast or auto exposure turn on the camera. Something flies through the scene to temporarily darken it or brighten it and causes flickering in the overall luminance. Well, there is an effect in After Effects called the Color Stabilizer, which can help to remove some things, flickers and contrast or color throughout a shot.
Let's give it a quick look. Here is a piece of archival footage that's has an issue with some flickering in the luminance. You're particularly notice it in this black to white gradient on the back wall where the gradient seems to move, because the midtone values of the shot are changing over time. Let's select our footage and apply Effect > Color Correction > Color Stabilizer. Color stabilizer gives you a few different options on how you stabilize this image. For example, if the whole image is getting brighter or darker evenly, you can select just Brightness.
This will give you one point to go ahead and pick and move around to what's a representative color and say keep that point. The Sample Size of 3.0 pixels or say 20.0 pixels or whatever you choose, the same color throughout the shot. However, few shots have even differences in exposure throughout. There are differences in the highlights and in the shadows. And if we were to RAM preview with this setting, you could see how now the entire image is flickering, not just the gradient on this back wall.
So this is not the correct setting for those shots. If it is just a highlight/shadow issue, here's where you want to use so called Levels, where you get to pick a Black Point and I might pick something like his tie, and a White Point, I might pick something to like this headband on him and say keep those two points stable and do whatever you need throughout the shot. This is almost like an Auto Contrast to this point except for it's affecting the color. Now a most subtle shot like this where the black-and-white was frankly staying pretty even throughout the shot, but the gradient was moving, this is where I'll use Curves as my stabilizer setting.
Now I get to pick my Black Point. Again, I'll use this tie. My White Point point. Again, I'll use this headband. But I'll also pick my Mid Point. In this case, I'll pick something as close as I can to about 50% gray and say stabilize that throughout the shot. Make sure you choose points that are going to stay constant throughout the shot, then nothing is going to fly cross them like a hand or bird or whatever to throw off the correction. Then this point on, Color Stabilizer is very automatic. I'm going hit 0 on the numeric keypad to calculate a RAM preview.
Let's see how it looks once we're done. Here is the preview and you will notice that this gradient is no longer chasing up and down this wall. It is a pretty smooth gradient along this wall. I'll turn off the effect, preview again. Now you see what we had before. It was really jumping around quite a bit. The Color Stabilizer on and preview, you'll see how steady it is. This is what Color Stabilizer is good at: removing these flickers throughout a shot.
What if the first frame in your footage does not have the ideal colors or contrast that you like to stabilize? What if there is a different frame later in the footage, which is a better representative reference frame? Here's where the easily missed Set Frame button comes on. Move the Time Indicator to the frame, which you want to be your reference. Let's say after his hands down right in that area, then click Set Frame. At that point Color Stabilizer will now use the colors underneath these points, at this frame as the reference and then bend the colors in the rest of the shot to match this reference frame.
A Color Stabilizer is not a Color Correction effect. If I want to say improve the contrast of the shot, I may apply to something like Color Correction > Auto Contrast, and put it before Color Stabilizer, so I have a nice maximized image. If I want to add a tint to this effect, I might apply something like Color Correction > Color Balance to really tweak out the image or even something as simple as Hue/Saturation just to do a quick shift to the whole image such as get a skin tone of more yellow rather than red.
But Color Stabilizer is what will lock in this contrast and this color throughout the entire shot and stop these bits of flickering and shifting there going on. So it's nice to tool to add your arsenal.
Get unlimited access to all courses for just $25/month.Become a member
110 Video lessons · 51231 Viewers
86 Video lessons · 14448 Viewers
79 Video lessons · 15282 Viewers
350 Video lessons · 101480 Viewers
Access exercise files from a button right under the course name.
Search within course videos and transcripts, and jump right to the results.
Remove icons showing you already watched videos if you want to start over.
Make the video wide, narrow, full-screen, or pop the player out of the page into its own window.
Click on text in the transcript to jump to that spot in the video. As the video plays, the relevant spot in the transcript will be highlighted.
Your file was successfully uploaded.