Join Richard Harrington for an in-depth discussion in this video How can I fix shaky shooting?, part of DSLR Video Tips: Gadgets & Gear.
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Robbie Carman: Hey there, I'm Robbie Carman. Rich Harrington: And I'm Rich Harrington. Robbie: And Rich, this week we want to talk about fixing shaky footage in post-production. Now I know it's hard to believe that you can actually go out and not get perfectly stable footage Rich: I, I, I watched our episode on using the stabilizing rigs and I bought two of everything. Robbie: I was going to, I was going to make a disparaging joke about myself, but of course I never shoot shaky footage. Rich: Yes. Robbie: No, in reality of course there's always times that you're going to have footage that could benefit from little added stabilization.
And it's pretty amazing how post production tools, NLEs, motion graphics tools like After Effects, and other places. Can really help us stabilize this footage. You know it was only a couple of years ago that the process of stabilizing and post, was one that was really only available on very, sort of very heavy iron. Rich: Yeah. Robbie: Kind of expensive equipment, and now state of. Rich: Couple hundred bucks an hour. Robbie: Right and now stabilization tools are available on a lot of packages including even free ones. Rich: Yeah you actually have it built into tools like Final Cut Pro and Premiere Pro, which we're going to look at.
Robbie: Yep. Rich: And then there are third party stabilizers if your NLE of choice doesn't come with one. Now, I want to just talk about the concept of stabilization for a moment, Robbie: Sure. Rich: And that's this. One of the things you need to realize is that when you stabilize the shot, essentially you're blowing that shot up. You're going to be losing parts of the clip. Because if you stabilize the shot and didn't magnify it, you're going to end up with black at the edges, so you're going to have a problem there. Now, the more you stabilize, the more you blow up the shot, and Rob, what happens with low quality, low resolution video when we blow it up.
Robbie: Doesn't look so good, Rich. Rich: No. Robbie: Yeah, I mean you're right. The, sort of you need, you're going to have to sort of zoom in some way. To sort of hide those edges. The other thing that I think is particularly interesting to, to pay attention to. Is what you're actually shooting and how you're actually shooting. And what I mean by that is often more difficult to track things that don't have high contrast or high angular. And I mean track because any stabilizer. He's going to go look and make points that it can track to help stabilize the image. So if you don't have anything that's really angular or high contrast or that kind of stuff, just a white background, oh, that's a little bit more difficult to track.
The other thing to consider is the idea of shooting interlaced versus progressive. Me, personally, and Rich you can comment on this, I've always found it a little more difficult to stabilize interlaced footage, because I'm actually dealing with two separate images that make up that one unified image. So I've often found that when I can, I try to shoot progressive, especially for tasks like stabilization. Not saying that it's impossible, but it's something to consider. Rich Harrington: Well, and to that end, you brought up an interesting thing with shooting. Sometimes, if I know I'm going to be stabilizing footage, I may shoot at a larger size.
Like for example, if I'm taking a GoPro camera and I'm mounting on something like a race car. It's going to vibrate, it's going to shake. You're going to want a certain amount of that for the energy. But by shooting at a 3k or 4k resolution and then delivering it to normal video. I've actually got flexibility. So we're starting to see these larger frame sizes. Or maybe you shoot 1080 but you deliver 720. There's a whole range of things you could do to make stabilization work. Now, Rob, I think it's important to note, you know, you use this tech a lot of times with your clients to solve problems.
It can be really useful. But before we show it to folks who are sitting out there at home, there's an important thing to note here. Stabilizing camera footage can be a bit political, in many ways. With both clients and directors of photography. Robbie: It's, it's totally true, and I mean, I employ stabilization a lot of times, really kind of in that finishing process. I'm not wasting time doing it while I'm, you know, putting the story together, or something like that. But your point is well taken, Rich. When you stabilize something in a weird kind of abstract way, you might be offending the sensibilities of a DP, a Director, something like that saying hey you know, your stuff wasn't all that good to begin with so what I need to do is fix it.
Rich: Sometimes that shakiness is part of the energy or the feeling or the tension. So, just like color grading, you want to involved the creatives in the room. Now the flip side of this is I generally don't do this in front of a client because it encourages bad behavior. Well you can just fix anything. Robbie: Yeah totally and I mean not only just bad behavior, but also you get people that will just sort of dominate your time by saying Well, let's stabilize that, let's stabilize that. Rich: Let's stabilize every shot. Robbie: And next thing you know, you've stabilized the entire show and you're wasting time and not not attending to other tasks that might need to be done on the program.
Rich: Alright, so when we come back, we're going to take a look at Apple Final Cut Pro Solution and then we'll take a look at Adobe Premiere Pro and you're going to see that they're both fairly comparable and work very well.
- Reducing lens flare with matte boxes
- Using loupes and electronic viewfinders to check focus and exposure
- Capturing metadata with a slate
- Fixing shaky footage
- Controlling a camera remotely
- Sliding the camera
- Elevating your camera