6.1 Stabilizing a Shot
We will examine some methods for stabilizing an aerial shot.
1.Introduction1 lesson, 01:28
2.Preparation2 lessons, 10:13
3.Optical Fixes2 lessons, 13:45
4.Color Correcting Aerial Footage1 lesson, 07:04
5.Footage Speed4 lessons, 18:19
6.Stabilization1 lesson, 10:41
7.Zooming in Post1 lesson, 04:45
8.Color Grading Aerial Footage1 lesson, 11:26
9.3D Camera Tracking Aerial Footage1 lesson, 07:43
10.Conclusion1 lesson, 00:59
6.1 Stabilizing a Shot
In this lesson we're gonna look at some different ways you can stabilized an aerial shot. I'm gonna be working with example Clip 8 from the project files. So I'm gonna click that clip and go ahead and drag that into a new composition. What we've got here is a 4K aerial clip of a boat going across a lake here. And if I scroll through the shot here, we can take a look. Basically what we can see is it's basically a panning shot of this boat going across the water. One thing I'll notice is that the boat is on this side of the frame at the beginning, and then by the end it's kind of like I've panned too far for this. So it moves the boat over here to the other side. It's an okay shot, but what I'd really like is if the camera panned perfectly with the boat, so the boat stayed right in the center of the screen. We're also gonna see we have a couple other problems here with the horizon being crooked and stuff like that which we can fix a little bit later on. But let's start off by taking a look at how we can get this boat to stay in the center of our shot by stabilizing it here. I'm gonna be using the tracker effects here, and if you don't see that window you can go to Window, and select Tracker. And I've brought that up and I've just placed it up here just so we can see it a lot easier in the tutorial. So, I'm gonna select my Clip here in the composition and I'm gonna go over here to Stabilize Motion. And what this is gonna do is open up these Stabilizing Options on our clip here. And what we see they have this little track point box here. You can click it and move it around. You wanna be careful when you move this around not to select the area right in the very dead center cuz you can see that's gonna move that outside of our track box. And that's an option that we really don't need now so I'm gonna hit control z to undo that. So just make sure you select inside of this inner box here. And basically what we're looking for is, I'm right here at the very beginning of our clip. And I wanna put the tracker point on something in the scene that I want to remain pretty stable. So in this case, for me it's the boat, I want that to be basically stable in the shot the whole time. So I'm gonna need to select a track point on the boat. And for me, I can drag the tracker over here and this inner box is gonna be our main tracking point. So it's gonna be the actual object that we want to track. And we can resize this box here as big or as small as we want it to be. And then you see I can place it on top of the boat there, so it's basically just tracking the boat. And when you click on it, it's actually gonna give you a magnified view of everything. So I can align this perfectly on the boat. Now, this outer box here, this is gonna be basically the track area. So from one frame to the next, this is where it's gonna be looking, so it knows where the tracking areas is. So as long as our boat stays within this secondary box here from one frame to the next, then our track should be okay. We can actually probably make it smaller in this case cuz the boat's not moving very fast from one frame to the next. Or you can also increase it to be very big if, let's say, if you have an object that's moving really quickly through the scene. However, the bigger this tracking area box is, the longer the track is going to take cuz it has to analyze more pixels. Now in our case, I think we can get away with just tracking this black canopy on the top of our boat here. And I'll go over that a little bit later as to why that's gonna be beneficial to us. But typically, the smaller the track point that you can use and get away with, the faster and better your track's gonna be. So I'm gonna go ahead and just make our track point be right on top of this black canopy here. And I'll move our track area to be just a little bit bigger than our track point. Still, we can go ahead and look at some of the other options that we can use with the Stabilize Motion effect. I'm gonna click on my options here, and what this tracker is looking at initially right now is the Luminance. So I've got this dark black canopy and the water back here is kinda this gold, lighter color. So since I'm using a Luminance track, this should be a pretty easy track. Again, that boat cover on the top is very dark. But you have some other tracking options you can use here too. Let's say this water was kind of a brighter blue and the canopy was a bright red. Well, red's obviously gonna be a lot different than blue, so you might want to change that to a Saturation when you do your track. And you also have the option of doing an RGB track. But typically I just leave this on Luminance. Since most of the things that I track in my stabilization shots are usually small points and they're usually dark and pretty contrasty. All these other options are typically the same as they are on default. So I'm gonna go ahead and click OK. Here's other options in the track are here that you might want to use, such as Rotation of your shot, and Scale. But typically for most of my aerial tracks, I just leave this on a position track. I tend to get the best results when I use just Position only. All right, so now we can go ahead and attempt to track our shot. I'm gonna go ahead and click the play button here to analyze forward. Now we can see that it's tracking pretty quickly, and you can see the track point there is staying right there on top of the boat. It's actually going to go out of frame here. I'm just going to hit stop, just so we can look at something really quick. I'm just going to pull out my zoom there. All right, now we can see this has tracked along this, I'm gonna pull this back. Let's say your track messes up and it starts tracking, let's say, one of these darker waves back here, that it thinks that's actually the boat canopy. What you can do is just move a little bit further back in your track to where it was back on the correct position. In our case again here it's the boat canopy. And what you can do is you can basically correct this frame-by-frame if you need to. You can click this secondary button over here, which is analyze one frame at a time. So I can click that, and you can see it's just gonna analyze forward one frame. You can see that corrects itself, and if it messes up you can manually actually move that to where it needs to be and click forward again. I'm gonna go ahead and click analyze forward and let this finish all the way through. So it'll take just a second. All right, now that's finished, and this looks pretty good. I can just scroll through here and see if that stays on top of the boat the whole time. That's exactly what I want, so I'm gonna go ahead and click apply. And we can apply this to the X and the Y dimensions, or just the X or the Y only. Typically I do both, X and Y, but in some cases you may just wanna do just the X or the Y position. But in our case we're gonna do X and Y for this shot, and click OK. And now we can see what this has done here. It's basically made key frames for the position of this shot for each frame. So if I scroll through here, we can see the boat now is staying perfectly stable, basically, in our shot. Now we see this black area over here because that's where it's repositioning the actual shot. But we can see the boat is perfectly stable. I'm gonna go ahead and bring up the Title/Action Safe here so you can see where the perfectly center of the shot is. So I'm just gonna click the clip and just move the boat so it's right there in the center of the shot. So if I scroll through here the boat should stay right in the center, which it does. That's exactly what we want. And now since our clip again is 4K, and we're typically just gonna be outputting in a 10 ap composition. We can go ahead and resize our composition down at 10 ap. It looks like it reduce the black bars on the edges here. So I'm gonna right click here, go to Composition Settings. I'm just gonna type in 1920 by1080, I'll click OK. And now we can see we don't have the black bars anymore. I'm gonna turn off this Title/Action Safe. Now I'm gonna ahead and do a ran preview this just so we can see what this looks like. And now you can see that we've done a really good job stabilizing our shot, made it a lot more usable against using a 4K clip. We can crop in, we're not losing very much quality. I mean actually, probably crop in a little bit more on this clip. I'm gonna click on the Clip and hit S for scale. I'm gonna scale this down a little bit more. Just scroll through here make sure I'm not getting any black bars, I'm not. So you can see what a benefit this is to actually use a 4K clip cuz we have that much more extra room. We can just move in on the shot, reposition it, rescale it however we need. And again, we can stabilize the shot. Which now make this shot, which was a decent shot to begin with, but now is a much more usable shot. There's one more thing we need to tweak here, our horizon line is crooked here. So what I'm actually gonna do is, I'm gonna select the Rotation tool here. I'm just going to rotate this a little bit so that it's even. That looks pretty good right there. Scroll through here, just make sure I'm not getting any black bars, and nothing's getting cut off. All right, that's looking really good. And that's one way you can stabilize your aerial clips, using the Stabilize Motion option in the tracker options there. Now let's go ahead and look at another way you can stabilize your shots, and that's using the Warp stabilizer. I've got another clip here I'm gonna look at. So this was a shot taken with some GoPro footage. It was a very rough terrain here, we can see we're getting a lot of shaking and some jello effects that are happening on this shot. Now this shot is actually moving forward through the scene. Now in some cases, you will be able to use the Stabilize Motion for a shot like this if you have something very prominent. Basically in the center forward part of your screen, so you can track. In our case we just kind of have these brown trees here nothing really particularly stands out. And a lot of times with shots that are moving through a scene I like to use a Warp stabilizer. And again, with this shot since we have jello effects, Warp Stabilizer's gonna by far be the best option for us. So I'm gonna select a clip here and I'm gonna go ahead and select Warp Stabilizer. And by default, it's gonna start analyzing right off the back. I'm gonna click cancel just so we can look at a couple options here. We're gonna want the results to be Smooth Motion. I'm gonna leave the smoothness at 50%. And in our case since we have jello, I'm gonna go ahead and leave this on Subspace Warp. If you don't have jello, you just have kind of some shaking going on, you can probably get away with setting this on Position only. But again, I'm gonna leave this on Subspace Warp. I'm gonna go ahead and click analyze. I'm gonna let this analyze, and I'll speed through this part for the tutorial. All right, now the analysis is done, you can see this made a pretty significant difference on our shot. We're still getting a little bit of shaking around the edges of the shot and that's gonna be common with the Warp Stabilizer effect. But you can see the center of the shot here is pretty stable, looks a lot better. It's gotten get rid of a lot of those jello effects. But we can refine this even more if we want to, there's some other options here. If you wanna preserve the skill of your shot where it doesn't actually crop in on anything, go ahead and check that. And you can see we're getting a little bit wider angle view of our shot here. Back to the way it kind of looked when it was initially shot. And if you wanna increase the smoothness a lot, you can up this all the way to 100%. And that's just gonna stabilize that. Go ahead and do a ran preview of this. And that's looking ten times better than the shot did initially. We can go ahead and do a ran-preview of what it looked like before we did the Warp Stabilizer effect here, just so we can have a reference. You see how much microshaking's going on, jello, it's kinda getting off kilter with the rotation. So this is doing a really good job at stabilizing that. And you can actually increase the smoothness even more than 100%. I'm actually gonna turn the scale off there so it can crop in a little bit more. Because the more I can crop in the smoother it's gonna be. I'm gonna set this to 500%, we'll just go ahead and see what this looks like. Now we can see what this looks like at 500% smoothness. It has cropped in on the shot significantly. And we're getting kind of a zolly effect going on here in the center. You can see the center of the shot is kind of like it's almost pulling away from the camera. That's just a side effect of the Warp Stabilizer because of the way it's stabilizing the shot. It still looks pretty cool and it looks a lot better than it did before. And you can go through here and just play with these options if we need to with your shot. You can check down the Advanced tab here and do a detailed analysis if you want even more of an analysis for better stabilization on your shot. And that's gonna take a lot longer and it's gonna increase the render time a lot. In this case here, I'm not gonna use that, but it's just a good option you can have if you need to try to refine your shot even more. All right those are my two recommendations for stabilizing your aerial footage. If one method doesn't work, the other one usually will. So definitely experiment with some of these with your aerial shots. I use them all the time, to help kind of stabilize and refine little things in my shots. It really increases the production value of them. And this can definitely help take an average shot to the next level. In the next lesson we're gonna look at how we can add a pho zoom to a shot, and post. So we're just basically gonna fake-zoom. It's gonna help add more dimension to our shots and it's a cool trick that I use a lot in my aerial videos.