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6.2 Stabilization in Adobe After Effects

Here I am in After Effects. I'm going to attempt to stabilize the shaky footage from my Cloud Reflects sequence. So I'm going to go ahead and double click on the project window. Here's the folder that contains those files. As you can see, we have the raw and the JPEG. I can import a raw sequence, but that's going to be too heavy to process. So I'm gonna use the JPEG ones, and I haven't done anything with them. I just want to see can the shakiness be fixed before I commit to any work in Lightroom and LR time-lapse. Automatically it should choose import as footage and it should conform to a JPEG sequence. I click on Open. There it is. I need to change the frame rate, so if I right click, choose Interpret Footage, and choose Main, change the Frame Rate to 24, and I'm going to hit Enter because we can't see the OK. So, now that's 24 frames per second. I need to create a comp, so clicking on create new comp, full HD, 1920 by 1080, Frame Rate is 24. Duration I can ignore, and click OK. So all I need to do is drag in my sequence into the comp and I'll just trim the work area. I'll just drag that over, and zoom in and make sure that that's right on the end there, and Trim Comp to Work Area. Okay. Let's remind ourselves how this looked by having a RAM preview of that. So it's gonna render this sequence, and then it will play back without any dropped frames. Okay, so here it is, and there's the wobbly bits, and it's pretty shaky. And hopefully we can rescue that. So, there's a couple of different options for stabilizing your footage here. I have this Tracker panel open. If you don't see it on yours, go to Window and be sure to choose Tracker. And what I'm going to attempt to do is use the Warp Stabilizer, which will try to automatically fix that. If that doesn't work we've got Stabilize Motion, where we have to take a more manual approach. But we'll begin by trying the automatic one. So if I click on the Warp Stabilizer, it's just gonna automatically kick into action and try to rescue our shot. But while it's doing that, I am going to configure a few settings here to get some greater control. So I'm looking at the effects panel for the Warp Stabilizer and we can see it's gonna take about a couple of minutes to process all of this, and we have this process info. Now, underneath this first option, Stabilization, you see the Result is Smooth Motion. So this is great if the camera was moving. But as the camera was on the tripod, it should be static. I'm gonna chose, No Motion. That disables the smoothness. Then we have the Method, Subspace Warp. And you have few different flavors. Often, I'm gonna just choose Position. But because the actual tripod was lifting up and down, I'm gonna go to the Subspace Warp and see if that does a good enough job. When it comes to Borders, you have this option here, Framing. And Stabilize Crop Auto-scale is the default setting, but usually I would choose Stabilize Only, and I would reframe the shot myself by altering the scale. So I'm gonna click on that one. Additional Scale we can ignore. Maybe I'll go under the Advanced tab and choose Detailed Analysis. It'll take a little bit longer, but it should analyze in a more intelligent way. Let's click on that. It's probably gonna set this back to zero. It's gonna take a bit longer. That's all of the settings I would use there. While it's processing that, I'm going to pause the video and I'll come back once it's completed. Okay, so the process is completed. Let's have a look at our newly stabilized shot. Not bad. So right out of the box it's pretty much resolved all of those shakes. And the shot doesn't look so bad at all, so I might spend some time processing this one for use in our sequence later on. So there it is playing in real time, and it's looking pretty rock solid. So it doesn't often work straight out of the box, so we got lucky on this occasion. If I scroll out, you can see it needs rescaling. So I'm gonna go ahead and rescale that. If I get it right tight on the edge, let's have a look at that. Once it starts resolving the balance, we'll start to see, if we watch the corners, you'll see it's gonna start bouncing around. So we need to crop, see my lens is a little bit dirty as well, but hey. Okay, so this is what it's actually doing. The shake is fairly minimal compared to some shots I've had to rescue. Let's just get that to Fit, and go back. So if I overshoot by a few percent, maybe about 70, and play through, hopefully we don't see the frame edges bouncing around at all. And, I'd say that doesn't look bad at all, we can get away with this. So, that's the first option for stabilizing. If I just disable the Warp Stabilizer, let's remind ourselves how it was a second ago. So we went from this decidedly wobbly shot to something way more presentable. So, pretty miraculous. Let's examine though, in Full resolution and go right into the middle of our shot. So, this is at 100%, and what I want to see is if there is any motion blur or any noticeable shake that could kill the shot. And that's looking pretty tidy. You know what, I think we're gonna get away with this. Yep. I think that's pretty okay. We can work with this. Good news. Okay, so if I disable the Warp Stabilizer, let's look at another method. So, you do have this option to Stabilize Motion. So, if the warp doesn't work for you, you can try this option. If I click on that it's gonna go to this layer. So this is the raw JPEG layer. Let's zoom in a little bit, and what it wants to do is find a point within the frame that stays consistently in the frame. So if objects pass by it, it's gonna lose the tracks. We're essentially motion tracking here, and I can open this area just to be a little more precise. Then, I'll drag this up so we can see the whole effects. Then if I click on Analyze Forward it's going to go through, oops, I should have started on the first frame. And let's just line that up so, what you're looking for is a point or a dot or something with contrast, so this corner here should be pretty good for that. And if I click on Analyze Forwards, it's gonna go through and it's gonna try to find that spot on every single frame. And it seems to be doing a relatively okay job. But there seems to be a little bit of slipping and sliding. So this method's a little old school and not the most effective method, but can be useful. Then if I click on Apply, it's gonna take that tracking data and it's gonna stick it into my shop. So Apply Dimensions x and y axis, yes, please. Click OK. And you see, it's put all of these different tracker points, ton of data, just to tell it where those are. We'll look for it and see if it's done the job. You see there's a bit of rotation there but the center is pretty solid, but it didn't do as good a job as Warp Stabilize. If I Undo that, we can try an additional trick. Let's just get rid of all of that. Okay, we'll go back to the Stabilized Motion again. And this time instead of just Position, I can choose Rotation. And if I choose two different shots, it's always best to zoom in a little bit. And let's take this house here, maybe over here, maybe this corner here. I'll just expand that a little bit, and then take one over the other end maybe this little spot here, and again expand that. Let's zoom out. So now I've got a bit of scope across that. I'll do the same again. We'll just Analyze Forwards. And they seem to be sticking, that's good. And hopefully this will give us a more stable stabilize. So I'll click Apply again. Click OK. And when we return here, let's have a look, go back to the start and do a RAM preview. And that seems to have fixed it. That's looking pretty solid. If we see the edges with that, we can see what kind of motion there is. You can see there's a bit of wobbling going on. But as long as we crop, we're not gonna have any problems. So there's two methods for rescuing your shaky footage. As long as there's no motion blur, these two guides are going to do the job for you. I hope that helps you.

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