Shaky video footage is a common problem for many amateurs and some professional cinematographers. A shaky image can distract viewers, ruin a shot, and even be the cause of the defect. And to fix this there is video stabilization.
How and why video shaking occurs
Shaky video is an all-too-common annoyance when watching videos online, or even sometimes when you’re watching movies. But why and how does video shaking occur?
Video shaking happens when the camera sensor records a sequence images that constantly change position because they are misaligned as a result of constant camera movement.
This can be caused by several things, including having your camera on a tripod that isn’t secured correctly, using the digital zoom feature on your camera too much, or holding the camera incorrectly while recording. Another common cause of video shaking is rolling shutter effects from high-speed motion in recordings which cause the image to look distorted as it moves across the frame (except when it is specifically shot to convey the dynamics in the frame).
What is video stabilization and how does it work?
Thanks to built-in effects in programs like Premiere Pro, Final Cut, DaVinci Resolve, and others, that can correct a non-stabilized image by tracking the movement of pixels in the image and correcting the image by moving the frame, this made it easier to prevent shaking video.
Video stabilization is achieved through the use of pixel tracking algorithms which detect differences in pixels from frame to frame and then adjust the position of each frame accordingly. This technique allows for scenes with complex camera motions to be stabilized without creating jarring artifacts that detract from the viewing experience.
The process is similar to digital image stabilization but since there is no larger image to work with the filter either crops the image down to hide the motion of the frame or attempts to recreate the lost image.
There are several ways to video stabilization, ranging from hardware mounting devices to software solutions.
Video stabilization during shooting and in post-production
One of the most common methods used to reduce shake is using a tripod or other stabilizing device like a monopod or shoulder mount. This equipment allows you to keep the camera steady while shooting, which significantly reduces shakes in your videos.
Another option of video stabilization is using an electronic stabilization system, Lens-based, Sensor-shift, Stabilizing the camera body, Camera stabilizer, etc. These systems use sensors that detect movement and automatically adjust the lens accordingly to compensate for it, resulting in smoother footage with less blur.
Also can be singled out hardware mounts exist for stabilizing video, such as camera rigs or gimbals that utilize gyroscopes and motors to maintain a steady position while recording footage. These devices provide greater control over movements compared with tripods and can be used in more challenging environments where vibrations or wind may interfere with recordings.
However, there are cases when the equipment during the shooting was absent or failed, and as a result, in post-production, the video editor still receives shaky material. Fortunately, there are many tools available to help you with video stabilization and retain its clarity and quality in post-production.
Video stabilization is a process that anyone with basic video editing skills can do.
Using stabilizers built into programs like Premiere Pro, Final Cut, DaVinci Resolve and others can help take away much of the shake in your footage while preserving its original frame rate and resolution. This simple process requires no additional hardware or complex techniques; all you need is your computer and an understanding of basic software principles.
Some more advanced programs like After Effects even allow users to choose specific points within an image for stabilization purposes.
Which videos cannot be stabilized
Video stabilization is a common technique used to add professionalism and smoothness to an otherwise shaky and unappealing video. However, certain types of videos cannot be effectively stabilized with modern technology.
The most difficult type of video to stabilize is one that has a lot of motion blur. This blur occurs when the camera or subject moves too quickly for the shutter speed to capture a sharp image. As such, stabilization techniques can make the image even more blurry and distorted than before, thus making it impossible to use stabilization on these videos. Additionally, extremely long videos which have several changes of angles or speeds of movements (or both) are also difficult to stabilize due to their sheer size, analysis time, and data consumption requirements.
For those looking to create a professional-looking video, stabilizing the footage is an important part of the process. Video stabilization helps give it a smooth and polished look by removing any shakes or jitters that may be present in the footage using different methods both during shooting and in post-production.
Whichever method you use, video stabilization will ensure your footage looks great before sharing it with viewers.