Do you need to stabilize images? Find out how to do this in Premiere, After Effects , and Resolve-and what program to use.
For a few nights during the cold winter of 2008, I spent many hours building the prototype of my Dolly and my DIY track. It was bulky and it couldn’t collapse, so we had to carry a 9-foot track, and the Skateboard wheels often fell off. It was perfect. He did the job; he produced a smooth follow-up shot. But what if you need to stabilize a record in Premiere, After Effects, or Resolve?
When you start making movies for the first time, two things that you think will increase your production value will be a shallow depth of field and smooth movement. Whether the story is good or not, it will at least feel like a good Movie.
SoFast-forward a decade of my winter adventure, and user-friendly carts and sliders have become almost obsolete with the introduction of user-friendly gimbals and portable stabilizers. And if that wasn’t enough, the progression of software stabilizers really changed the game.
As I reported to PremiumBeat in “How to Make an Impromptu Shot Usable for Your Film”, a sufficiently stable shot allows you to give the impression that you took it on a tripod. Today’s advanced stabilization algorithms are excellent, and combined with improved image resolution and bit depth, it is much easier to stabilize a fragile image than it was a decade ago.
However, what is a” fairly stable”shot? And which program gives the best results? Let’s put these questions to the test with DaVinci Resolve 15, After Effects and Premiere Pro. Before testing the stabilization tool under different circumstances, we must first understand the set of stabilization parameters. While the Terminology in After Effects and Premiere Pro differs from Da Vinci Resolve, the operations are often the same. The methods you have selected change the way the software manipulates the image.
How to stabilize a video
There are four settings in After Effects and Premiere Pro:
- Position: Analyzes clip position data and adjusts the Position to emulate a smooth image.
- Position, scale and Rotation: stabilization based on position, scale and rotation data.
- Perspective: corner-pins shake the entire frame and tilts the image forward or backward to eliminate.
- Warp subspace (default): distorts the frame to align with other areas of the frame. Warp stabilization moves pixel data consistently to account for camera shake. However, if this is overcompensated or the Shake is too harsh, you will see that the film reacts with what is called a “breathing effect”.”
In Resolve, from the age of 14, there is an advanced stabilizer that combines both distortion and image translation to remove or at least minimize unwanted movements. Resolve has always had a reputable tracking and stabilization software, but in recent years it has been even better than ever. In most matter, you can apply the default stabilization to the Clip, and by clicking the Stabilization button, your Clip becomes smoother.
However, as with Premiere and After Effects, you can choose Three options depending on the shake of your Clip to analyze and stabilize your Clip. As Resolve uses different Terminology, here you will find the parameters described by Blackmagic:
- Perspective: Allows perspective, pan, tilt, zoom, and rotation and stabilization analysis.
- Similarity: Allows pan, tilt, Zoom, and rotate analysis and stabilization for matter where Perspective Analysis results in unwanted motion artifacts.
- Translation: Allows Pan and Tilt Analysis and stabilization only in matter where only X and Y stabilization gives acceptable results.
The stabilization methods and adjustable settings of each program give favorable results only if they correspond to the movement of the clip camera. Subspace Warp is ideal for fragile Clips with a lot of depth. Therefore, selecting subspace distortion for a hearing band on a white background may give a weaker result than simply selecting the Position.
However, before we can determine which program is better, we need to look at adjustments that can improve any stabilization technique. Again, Resolve has adjustable properties similar to After Effects and Premiere, but they may have different names.
- Smooth movement: When the movement of the camera is intentional, but it needs to be smoothed to reduce handshakes. If the clip has a camera movement — such as panning, tracking, or walking with the camera-apply this (note: this is the default).
- No Movement: Attempts to reduce or remove all camera movements from the clip. Depending on your shot, this often combines with extreme cropping, especially when used with a fixed subject (see the example below on how the no-motion setting turned the tilt shot into a static clip).
In Resolve you will find a similar function, which is simply called Smooth. In the tracker window, you can increase the smooth amount from 0.25 to 1.00, which will eliminate the jitter (for the cost of cropping). Of course, if you press the default 0.25, Resolve stabilizes your shot, but still retains the character of the original shot.
Sometimes, after stabilizing a shot, you can see black edges as the clip moves, because stabilization keeps the focus on a particular element in the frame.
You can quickly fix this by increasing the perimeter of the video clip to remove the edges. However, there are also software options. There are two options in DaVinci Resolve: Zoom and crop.
- Crop Ratio: Changes the amount of stabilizer stabilizes the clip based on the amount of zoom or delete you want to accept. The default value is 0.25, and at 1.0 stabilization is canceled.
- Zoom: Increases the scale of the image to remove black borders caused by disfigure or positioning.
It is important to realize that these two parameters work together. The lower the value of the crop ratio, the larger the resolution must zoom in on the image; the lower the value of the crop ratio, if the zoom is not enabled, the more spaces will be displayed.
In Premiere Pro and After Effects, you can find the framing options in your own drop-down menu. As with Resolve, these settings affect the visibility of the edges.
- Stabilize only: displays the entire frame as well as the moving edges.
- Stabilize, crop: trim the moving edges without scaling the image. As a result, you can see an image that has a small amount of deletion in the corners.
- Stabilize, Crop, Auto-resize (default): crop the cutout And enlarge the scale to fill the frame.
Stabilize, synthesize edges: fills the empty space created from the pixel data of adjacent images (if you need to preserve the entire image perimeter).
How to stabilize video in Resolve
In DaVinci Resolve 15, you need to open the color page and select the tracker tool, which is the fourth icon. In the beginning you will be on the tracking window feature, and you need to open the drop-down menu and select “STABILIZER.”
From there, just press “stabilize” and Resolve does the rest. If the results are not satisfactory, you can use the information about the adjustable parameters to refine the stabilization.
How to stabilize video in Premiere and After Effects
Premiere and After Effects have the same STABILIZER, and you can find the tool in the same place in both programs. To use the String STABILIZER in Premiere or After Effects, you need to go to the effects section and (confusingly) open the Distort folder. Here you will find the VFX chain stabilizer.
You need to drag the chain stabilizer onto the clip you want to stabilize. This means that the string STABILIZER can be grouped if you apply it to a clip with several active effects.
The Best Stabilization Software
Now the question arises: which program provides the best stabilization? Well, Premiere and After Effects don’t really compete, so the competition is really Adobe vs Resolve.
Which Program Is The Fastest?
First, let’s look at the speed of the process. We use a 4-second clip shot at 24 frames per second with a resolution of 4096×2304, and also use the standard scan settings.
Resolve 15.2 analyzed and stabilized the clip in just 00: 12.31 seconds. Premiere, however, took a whopping 575 percent more at 01: 23.18. (Side note: to confirm that Premiere and After Effects use the same stabilization, I ran the clip through After Effects, and the result was almost the same at 01: 22.15.) One can not deny the winner in this matter. Although Adobe took a leap forward when I changed one of the main settings of the stabilization tool after the first scan. It takes a second or two for Premiere to adjust to the new parameters. But in Resolve, you need to re-analyze and stabilize the clip after each adjustment-especially if you change the stabilization method.
Which Program Has A Better Stabilization Standard?
It is a huge area to cover. With so many variables, I’m sure you’ll find a way to ensure that each program outperforms the others, with enough time. Time is often something that editors do not have much, but let’s look at which program gives better stabilization after simply pressing the” stabilize” button. Using the same plan as before, the video below shows both results.
The results are quite similar, and in some ways we split the hair, but it seems that the stabilization of Premiere is somewhat smoother, although both stabilization tools are set to 50 smoothing. However, we must note that the additional softness of Premiere will cost us a small amount of composition space.
Is there a winner? I would say yes, and it’s solved. However, there are so many variables and so many adjustable parameters that I would also say that one or the other program can produce a great stabilization; just adjust the settings. You could ask two different people to film the same subject from the same angle at the same time, and differences in height, body weight, and balance would create different organic shakes.
To finish, remember that stabilization is a solution, but not for everything. There’s a reason why user-friendly gimbals still cost a nice penny. Stabilization is just a bandage for a shot that has come out too fragile; you should not use it as a replacement for a steadicam or gimbal. We are still a few years away from such algorithms. On the other hand, it is good to know that we have free and affordable software, and with just one button we can turn a bag into something better.