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Smoothing shaky camera footage

From: After Effects CS6 Essential Training

Video: Smoothing shaky camera footage

If you've ever gone on location and shot some footage, I'm sure you've realized that on occasion when you get back, your clients will inevitably choose the one shot that wasn't on a tripod or had noise or some other issue with it. Well if you're joining me from the last video, you may recognize this shot as one of those shots. If we scrub through, you can see I have some stabilization issues. This wasn't shot on the tripod and we also have some dirt issues like dirt on the lens.

Smoothing shaky camera footage

If you've ever gone on location and shot some footage, I'm sure you've realized that on occasion when you get back, your clients will inevitably choose the one shot that wasn't on a tripod or had noise or some other issue with it. Well if you're joining me from the last video, you may recognize this shot as one of those shots. If we scrub through, you can see I have some stabilization issues. This wasn't shot on the tripod and we also have some dirt issues like dirt on the lens.

Now in the last video, we did try and use the Clone Stamp tool to go through and paint out some of those dirty areas. So now in this video, we're actually going to deal with the stabilization issues. Now as a general rule, if you're trying to stabilize footage that already has an effect applied to it, you should select that layer and then go up under Layer and choose Pre-compose. Now I want to make sure to move all the attributes into the new composition so the effects that are applied are moved into the new composition.

When I click OK, now we have a clean comp for the Stabilize to work with. See, now the effect in essence is being rendered prior to this composition because it's in the pre-composition. Okay, so with Layer 1 selected, to apply the Stabilize effect, you can either go to Effect > Distort > Warp Stabilizer, or you could just go to Animation and choose Warp Stabilizer. Either way is correct, and notice the second you apply Warp Stabilizer, it will start to analyze the image.

If you look in the Effects Control panel, I get a status update as to how long it's going to take for the Warp Stabilizer to analyze all the footage. What it does with the footage is determined by these following switches and groups. So let's look at Result. The first two options, we have Smooth Motion or No Motion. Well if it was a shot that was supposed to be on a tripod, you want to choose No Motion. Now if it's a shot where you were walking or skiing or literally moving like a dolly shot or something, you want to choose Smooth Motion.

Let's choose No Motion, and the Method, let's click on that pulldown and look. We have four options. Position will just adjust the position of the Stabilize. It won't deal with any scaling or rotation issues. So obviously, the next one deals with Position, Scale, and Rotation. The Perspective option will deal with perspective issues. And Subspace Warp is probably what I use literally about 90% of the time. What this will do is deal with position, scale, and rotation, but it will actually warp the edges of the image and try and recreate a very stable shot on a pretty much pixel-by-pixel basis.

So if we let go for Subspace Warp, you can see now since the footage has been analyzed, it's stabilizing. The Framing options are kind of fun. Click on the pulldown and you can see we could stabilize the footage only, we could stabilize it and crop off any of the edges, or we could stabilize it, crop it and auto-scale, which is what I use about 90% of the time. Let's choose Stabilize Only and see what it looks like. See how we have these dark edges on the comp? If we load up a RAM Preview, you'll notice those edges will bounce around.

On your system it may take a second to load up the RAM Preview, so just be patient. Now I'm going to stop the Preview from loading and just press the Spacebar so it plays the frames that are loaded. Now you can see the edges are moving around and we have a relatively stable turbine in the middle of the shot, and I'm going to stop playback by pushing the Spacebar. Let's change the Framing to Stabilize and Crop, and you can see, now it's cropped in on the image so we don't see any of that waviness happening as it's adjusting the edges.

Now like I said, 90% of the time I use Stabilize, Crop, Auto-scale, where it'll then apply a scale, and then under Auto-scale, it tells you how much. Stabilize, Synthesize Edges is really cool because this will not only stabilize the footage, but it will analyze the footage and then recreate the edges of the image using a very similar technology to what Photoshop uses with the Content-Aware Fill. Now I just want to use Stabilize, Crop, and Auto-scale, so we'll set it to that.

If we take a peek at the Advanced section, you can see we could perform a Detailed Analysis by just adding the selection and then continue to refine the footage by reducing any Rolling Shutter Ripple. This is what happens if the shutter rate on your camera is set at a level to where you'll notice kind of tearing moving though the image. So most of the time I just leave that for Automatic Reduction, and then when it's finished, you can go ahead and load up another RAM Preview.

I'll rejoin you in a second after our Stabilizer has gone through and analyzed this image. All right, now the Warp Stabilizer has finished doing what it needs to do to process our image. Let's go ahead and load up a RAM Preview and see what the results are. All right, now again, I'm just going to press the Spacebar so we can watch the first couple of seconds that have been cached into the Preview. And as you can see, this shot is a lot more stable. So when it comes to using the Warp Stabilizer, just remember, you need to pre-compose any layer that currently has effects.

So the Warp Stabilizer has "a clean piece of footage" to start building the Stabilize on. Then it's just a question of pulling through the menus and deciding exactly how you want to scale the image, crop the image, or just how detailed you want your stabilization to be.

Show transcript

This video is part of

Image for After Effects CS6 Essential Training
After Effects CS6 Essential Training

78 video lessons · 57884 viewers

Ian Robinson
Author

 
Expand all | Collapse all
  1. 1m 8s
    1. What is After Effects?
      1m 8s
  2. 2m 53s
    1. Welcome
      1m 40s
    2. Using the exercise files
      1m 13s
  3. 1h 8m
    1. The six foundations of AE
      5m 3s
    2. Introducing the interface and the workspace
      7m 51s
    3. Understanding compositions
      8m 48s
    4. Getting comfortable with layers
      7m 33s
    5. Getting started with animation and keyframes
      8m 30s
    6. Understanding effects
      3m 26s
    7. Moving in 3D space
      7m 41s
    8. Rendering your first animation
      8m 20s
    9. Specifying preferences and cache settings
      5m 44s
    10. Staying organized
      5m 15s
  4. 38m 6s
    1. Creating compositions
      7m 19s
    2. Importing footage and compositions
      7m 54s
    3. Preparing compositions for animation
      8m 7s
    4. Introducing renderers
      3m 15s
    5. Understanding precomposing
      7m 16s
    6. Relinking missing footage
      4m 15s
  5. 59m 58s
    1. Defining layers
      6m 23s
    2. Creating type
      5m 58s
    3. Creating layer solids and shapes with masks
      7m 55s
    4. Building shape layers
      6m 17s
    5. Understanding switches and blend modes
      8m 26s
    6. Crafting custom shapes and masks
      6m 18s
    7. Creating variable-width feathered masks
      5m 1s
    8. Rotoscoping with the Roto Brush
      8m 20s
    9. Refining with the Roto Brush
      5m 20s
  6. 1h 8m
    1. Understanding keyframes
      6m 1s
    2. Adding and adjusting keyframes
      9m 54s
    3. Interpolating keyframes
      8m 5s
    4. Adjusting keyframes in the Graph Editor
      7m 17s
    5. Understanding positional keyframes
      7m 0s
    6. Controlling animation with parenting and the pick whip
      9m 57s
    7. Understanding animation paths
      6m 27s
    8. Timing to audio
      4m 41s
    9. Trimming and sliding edits
      5m 31s
    10. Swapping images
      4m 1s
  7. 29m 7s
    1. Layering multiple effects
      9m 13s
    2. Generating graphic effects with adjustment layers
      7m 28s
    3. Building backgrounds with effects
      6m 50s
    4. Creating animated strokes
      5m 36s
  8. 40m 15s
    1. Introducing cameras
      10m 3s
    2. Working with 3D layers
      6m 37s
    3. Positioning layers
      6m 13s
    4. Adding lights and working with Material Options
      9m 21s
    5. Using 3D precompositions
      2m 5s
    6. Adjusting depth of field
      5m 56s
  9. 28m 31s
    1. Caching and prerendering
      6m 33s
    2. Understanding the alpha channels
      5m 18s
    3. Using the Render Queue
      4m 34s
    4. Rendering with Adobe Media Encoder
      7m 15s
    5. Archiving finished projects
      4m 51s
  10. 44m 27s
    1. Creating type animators
      12m 16s
    2. Animating type in 3D space
      6m 35s
    3. Adding and animating type on a path
      8m 45s
    4. Composing 3D type
      8m 41s
    5. Animating shape layers
      8m 10s
  11. 32m 45s
    1. Creating stylized video
      6m 47s
    2. Retiming video footage
      9m 31s
    3. Retouching with the Rubber Stamp tool
      10m 19s
    4. Smoothing shaky camera footage
      6m 8s
  12. 14m 19s
    1. Understanding keying
      3m 19s
    2. Creating a garbage mask
      4m 27s
    3. Getting started with Keylight
      6m 33s
  13. 15m 56s
    1. Importing Photoshop documents
      6m 11s
    2. Importing Illustrator files
      4m 24s
    3. Working With Premiere Pro projects
      5m 21s
  14. 1h 15m
    1. Adjusting ray-tracing quality
      8m 19s
    2. Tracking footage
      8m 15s
    3. Extruding shapes
      8m 39s
    4. Bending layers
      8m 38s
    5. Adjusting ray-traced lighting and materials
      9m 22s
    6. Adding environment maps
      4m 58s
    7. Beginning compositing
      8m 52s
    8. Creating render passes
      10m 17s
    9. Building a final composite
      8m 14s
  15. 1m 8s
    1. What's next
      1m 8s

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