Join Richard Harrington for an in-depth discussion in this video Understanding stabilization methods, part of After Effects Guru: Tracking Cameras and Stabilizing Footage.
You may have noticed that there are four different methods to the overall stabilization. This controls how the clip is manipulated in order to achieve a stable image. Think of it this way. Pretend that this white object here is a video frame. If I choose position only, it's simply going to move the clip up and down and side to side, to try to create a stable shot. That's fine, if you are shooting something relatively flat. For example, a slight shaky camera pointed at a stage or a presenter against a backdrop.
On the other hand though, with hand-held cameras, a lot of times we need to rotate the clip, as well as scale it larger or smaller to fill the frame. To add another dimension, you could include perspective, which can then tilt the clip forward and backwards. However, the most advance method is the subspace warp, which can actually bend the clip as if it was a flexible material, and force those points to come into alignment. These four methods are really subjective, and it depends upon the scene that you're trying to stabilize.
For example, this particular scene is relatively static. Subspace warp isn't really going to be needed. But if I choose Position only, you'll notice that the clip essentially just moves up and down to create stability. Let's take a look at this under stabilize only. And the clip moves up and down, and side by side to create a stable clip. With a low motion scene, this might be enough, and this creates the least distortion in the source material. However, if you add scale and rotation.
The clip is now free to get larger, as well as rotate to fill the frame. And this can really help if the camera's leaning in or out with the movement. Beyond that, the use of Perspective or Subspace Warp comes into play when you have more subjects moving. So, fox example, with this very active scene hear. Lets uncheck the Tracking Points and you'll notice, if we put this to position, that the clip is moving up and down to try to get a stable frame. But, its not necessarily as stable as it could be.
By adding in the ability to use Perspective, the clip can tilt forward and backwards, to try to get a more stable platform. This deals with any movement of the camera operator. And if you have a scene with a lot of depth in it, such as this one. The use of Subspace Warp, can bend the frame to achieve the most stable shot. Remember, once you're done, be sure to switch over to Autoscale to fill the frame. The use of Perspective Warp is a good option, particularly if you have a lot of depth in a scene.
However, if you are dealing with a scene that doesn't have a lot of depth, rather something against a relatively flat background, Perspective Warp could introduce unusual distortions that will make it look like that background is potentially melting. Find an overall balance that works properly, and this should give you professional results.
- Analyzing footage
- Using the 3D camera tracker to stabilize footage
- Choosing and moving a target
- Adding 3D text to a scene
- Tracking an object
- Applying the Warp Stabilizer VFX
- Choosing a stabilization method
- Reducing rolling shutter distortion
- Matching movement