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Stabilizing video

From: iMovie 11 Essential Training

Video: Stabilizing video

Probably one of the most useful features of iMovie '11 is the built-in video stabilization. Unlike professional videographers, casual shooters like myself probably don't use the tripod as much as we should. And I think we've all been in editing situations where you want to use a specific clip in our movie, but the footage is just too shaky from being shot on a handheld camera or out a car window or for any number of reasons. iMovie's stabilization capability can make previously unusable footage usable, and it's really easy to do. I have this footage here of my surfer strapping on his boots.

Stabilizing video

Probably one of the most useful features of iMovie '11 is the built-in video stabilization. Unlike professional videographers, casual shooters like myself probably don't use the tripod as much as we should. And I think we've all been in editing situations where you want to use a specific clip in our movie, but the footage is just too shaky from being shot on a handheld camera or out a car window or for any number of reasons. iMovie's stabilization capability can make previously unusable footage usable, and it's really easy to do. I have this footage here of my surfer strapping on his boots.

Let's take a look at this. (video playing) (birds chirping) So that's fairly shaky. Let's see what iMovie can do with it. I am going to click its pop-up menu and choose Clip Adjustments. Now, I am going to click Analyze Entire Clip. So you can see now iMovie is analyzing for stabilization. Basically what it does is it checks it out frame by frame, trying to match the objects in one frame with the objects in the previous frame.

The thing about clip stabilization though is that it can take a long time; the longer your clip, the longer it's going to take. Now this clip is just a few seconds, but if you're stabilizing a clip that's a few minutes long, you can go grab a cup of coffee or find something else to do while you're waiting for iMovie to finish analyzing the clip. But iMovie is done processing the clip now, so let's take a look. Now I need to add it to my project in order to see the changes. So, let's grab this. I am just going to drag it to the end of my project, and let's take a look. (video playing) (birds chirping) Now, I still see some movement in there, but it's a little bit smoother.

Ultimately, it's going to be up to you to be the judge of whether the clip has improved enough after stabilization is applied. In some cases, you might even think that the camera motion looks unnaturally smooth. If so, you can go back to the clip's pop-up menu, choose Clip Adjustments, and here you'll notice we now have Stabilization, which is checked. We have Smooth clip motion, and notice we have a Maximum Zoom slider here. By dragging that to the left, that can bring back some of the original shakiness. Incidentally, it's called the Maximum Zoom slider because that's how stabilization is applied.

iMovie zooms in on the clip and moves the frames around on screen to try to match the objects on screen up to the object in the surrounding frames. Zooming all the way in like this might add a small amount of blurriness or end up cropping your shot a little bit too much or, as I mentioned, introducing an unnatural feel to the clip. So make your adjustments using the Maximum Zoom slider on a clip-by-clip basis. If you want to de-apply the smoothing motion, just uncheck it. Now, as I've already mentioned, applying stabilization to even short clips can take a significant amount of time for iMovie to process, but there is no way around that.

If you want to stabilize your videos, you have to give iMovie the time to process each clip. But you do have the choice of whether to process the clips as you are editing, or you can also do it when you first import the clips from your camera. Let me show you what I mean. I have my camcorder attached to my Mac, so let's pretend I am going to import some footage. I'm going to go ahead and turn my camera on. That opens up the Import window here. So I'll click Import as if I am going to import some footage. Now notice we have the After import analyze for, and we can check that and choose to analyze for stabilization.

Now this is also where you can analyze footage and have iMovie to detect people, so you can use the People Finder feature we looked at earlier, or you can have it search for both. So if I want to choose Stabilization, I can select that, and I prefer this method myself because I can connect my camera to my Mac, set up iMovie to import my clips, and analyze for stabilization, and then go do something else. It still takes the same amount of time to analyze each clip as it would if you apply the stabilization to them after adding them to your project, but doing it this way gets them all analyzed at once, so you don't have to wait around for iMovie to process clips while you are trying to edit your movie together.

I'd highly suggest analyzing everything during import, especially when you have an hour or more footage to import. You can just let iMovie import and analyze your footage overnight or while you're at your day job during the day or sleeping at night. I am just going to cancel this. I'll just close this window, and of course, you always still have the option of analyzing on the fly. I'll select this footage of the surfers walking towards the water. I'll just go ahead and select all of it, click on the clip, choose Clip Adjustments, say Analyze Entire Clip.

Now, you'll most likely notice that some of your analyzed clips have these little red squiggly lines in them. Those indicate that those portions of the clips are probably too shaky to use. This also indicates to me that the clips are analyzed for stabilization because the squiggly red lines wouldn't show up otherwise. Conveniently, you can click the Now Available squiggly red line button at the bottom of the window to hide all the footage iMovie thinks is too shaky to use. You can see now that footage has disappeared. Go ahead and close this. That way you don't accidentally import shaky footage into your project.

So again, it's up to you to decide when you want to analyze your clips for stabilization. You can do it on a clip-by-clip basis or analyze everything at once when you import your footage from your camera. So that's the Video Stabilization feature of iMovie '11.

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This video is part of

Image for iMovie 11 Essential Training
iMovie 11 Essential Training

55 video lessons · 52265 viewers

Garrick Chow
Author

 
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  1. 1m 44s
    1. Welcome
      45s
    2. Using the exercise files
      59s
  2. 1m 6s
    1. Making sure you have the latest version of iMovie
      1m 6s
  3. 19m 13s
    1. Types of connections
      1m 58s
    2. Importing from a tape-based camera
      5m 40s
    3. Importing from a memory-based camera
      4m 8s
    4. Importing from a digital still camera
      3m 31s
    5. Importing from other sources
      2m 24s
    6. Capturing live action
      1m 32s
  4. 11m 55s
    1. Interface overview
      2m 8s
    2. The Event Library and Event Browser
      4m 9s
    3. Selecting and adding clips to a project
      3m 3s
    4. The toolbar
      2m 35s
  5. 23m 53s
    1. Organizing events
      4m 28s
    2. Rating clips
      3m 26s
    3. Advanced rating tools
      2m 34s
    4. Tagging with keywords
      5m 6s
    5. Automatically finding people in your clips
      2m 15s
    6. Moving events to a different hard drive
      2m 15s
    7. Deleting unwanted clips from your hard drive
      3m 49s
  6. 26m 40s
    1. Creating a new project
      2m 36s
    2. Adding clips to the project
      5m 46s
    3. Trimming and slip edits
      3m 40s
    4. Fine-tuning clips
      2m 6s
    5. Splitting clips
      3m 0s
    6. Cropping and rotating
      5m 11s
    7. The advanced Edit tool
      2m 14s
    8. Using a traditional timeline
      2m 7s
  7. 51m 55s
    1. Creating and adjusting still clips
      3m 22s
    2. Incorporating photos
      5m 48s
    3. Adjusting color
      5m 51s
    4. Using transitions
      9m 5s
    5. Adding titles
      4m 1s
    6. Using one-step effects
      2m 14s
    7. Stabilizing video
      5m 7s
    8. Using green screen effects
      7m 0s
    9. Creating movie trailers
      9m 27s
  8. 36m 21s
    1. Adjusting audio levels and position
      6m 8s
    2. Adding music and sound effects
      7m 15s
    3. Adding background music
      6m 48s
    4. Adding a voiceover
      5m 4s
    5. Extracting audio from other clips
      2m 58s
    6. Editing to the beat
      8m 8s
  9. 35m 11s
    1. Exporting to iTunes
      4m 58s
    2. Exporting to the Media Browser
      3m 37s
    3. Sharing to iDVD
      51s
    4. Publishing to a MobileMe web gallery
      4m 26s
    5. Publishing to YouTube, Vimeo, and iReport
      4m 39s
    6. Publishing to Facebook
      2m 49s
    7. Exporting QuickTime movies
      2m 29s
    8. Exporting a project for Final Cut
      2m 26s
    9. Changing published projects
      57s
    10. Finalizing your project
      2m 5s
    11. Moving a project to another Mac
      5m 54s
  10. 41s
    1. Goodbye
      41s

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