A tip that might be useful for a shaky camera problem

Discussion in 'Amateur Video Production' started by Brian, Oct 2, 2009.

  1. Brian

    Brian Guest

    I was thinking the other day how to cure the shaky camera problem and
    came up with the following solution.

    Using the motion filter in Adobe Premiere allows you to move the frame
    about. You might have to zoom into the picture a bit to allow room
    around the frame when the frame is moved. As a guide put a piece of
    string across the screen (verically) and line it up with a vertical
    object in the frame. You might also need horizontal string.
    Step thru the frames and adjust the frame by moving it so that the
    vertical object in the frame lines up with the string.
    The other way is to keep adjusting the vert and horz position values
    so that they are the same for the frames that contain the camera
    I know this is not always possible if the camera is moving to track an
    object. This method applies to Adobe Premiere but there might be a
    similar setting for other video editors. Premiere Elements does have a
    useful filter called video stabilizer, but this needs to be turned off
    when panning or zooming.

    Regards Brian
    Brian, Oct 2, 2009
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  2. Brian

    Brian Guest

    If your likey enought to have a night scene where the eddges of the
    frame is black then you would not need to zoom in.

    Regards Brian
    Brian, Oct 2, 2009
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  3. Brian

    HerHusband Guest

    Your idea is common among video stabilizer programs, but unfortunately
    there's more involved with camera shake than a simple repositioning of
    the image.

    Simple up/down/left/right movements are fairly easy to correct. Just
    shift them back in the direction they need to go.

    If you tilt the camera slightly, the image has to be rotated back into
    position, most likely combining with the up/down/left/right correction.

    Then, you probably lean the camera forward and backwards slightly also in
    your hand, which changes the view distance, even if you're not zooming.

    To further complicate matters, if you're looking at a stationary object
    and shift the camera slightly in your hand, you end up looking at the
    object from slightly different angles. While you may be able to stabilize
    the overall scene, you can still end up with a bit of strange optical
    "dancing" or "waving" as the view angle of the image changes within the
    steady frame.

    If your footage is interlaced, it gets even worse as the view can change
    between the odd and even fields of the frame. This is usually most
    noticeable when walking or otherwise moving with the camera.

    Of course, any corrections you make will mess up the borders of the
    frame, so you have to mask them black, try to fill in the area from other
    scenes, or zoom in and resize.

    Unfortunately, there's no easy solution to camera shake, and most of us
    can't afford fancy stabilizer gear. However, there are a few basic tips I
    use to reduce the shaking:

    1. Use a tripod when possible. Naturally, there aren't a lot of real
    world situations where that works well. However, I have a small
    "Ultrapod II" tripod I carry in my camcorder bag. Despite it's small size
    it's easy to take with me and setup quickly, and it can even has a strap
    for anchoring to a post, tree, railing, or whatever quickly.

    2. Use a monopod when a tripod isn't acceptable. I find a monopod very
    useful when hiking, or on vacations. You can just stop and start filming
    at any time, much more convenient than setting up a tripod and trying to
    level the legs. A collapsed monopod even makes a halfway decent
    counterweight for times when you really need to take a handheld shot
    (such as walking).

    3. Make sure the image stabilizer is turned on in your camera. It's far
    from perfect, but it helps.

    4. Set your camera to record in progressive mode. This helps prevent the
    changes between odd and even fields if the camera is moved.

    5. Process the raw footage with video stabilizer software before editing.
    I've used many stabilizers over the years including SteadyHand, and
    Mercalli, but I find the best results are achieved using the "Deshaker"
    plug-in for VirtualDub. Of course, this usually means you have to convert
    the raw video to a supported format before you can stabilize it, and then
    back to an editing format afterwards. Still, I would much rather accept a
    small quality loss than watch shaky footage.

    6. No matter what you do you will have scenes that are just too shaky to
    salvage. Be prepared to edit those out.

    Take a look at some of my videos to see what I've been able to achieve
    using the guidelines above.


    Hope this helps,

    HerHusband, Oct 2, 2009
  4. [...]

    I use the home-made multi-point brace described and shown
    here for my small and light HV20 HD camcorder, at --
    http://www.donferrario.com/ruether/brace.htm. Combined
    with a good camcorder internal stabilizer, some intentional
    continuous motion, and editing out of the worst parts (and
    sometimes with Mercalli software stabilization added to
    individual clips after editing and pre-sharpening them), I can
    get good smoothness. I never attempt to show "video stills",
    since I don't like them, and making them steady with a hand
    held camera is nearly impossible (I dislike tripods...;-).
    David Ruether, Oct 2, 2009
  5. Brian

    PTravel Guest

    As others have mentioned, your idea is not new. However, far better is just
    to develop a good hand-held technique. I don't use post-production
    stabilization for the reasons other posters have provided, but I also don't
    need to.
    PTravel, Oct 2, 2009
  6. Brian

    Brian Guest

    I prefer a monopod than using a tripod as they are great when filming
    with a crowd of people such as filming a street parade. They are quick
    and easy to set up and light to carry around.

    Regards Brian
    Brian, Oct 3, 2009
  7. Brian

    Brian Guest

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts on solutions to the shaky camera
    problem. Like I said in my post it's not always possible to correct
    for a shaky camera using the shift frame method. If someone is
    recording a stationary distant object then camera shake should be able
    to be removed using the shift frame method. Good to learn that you use
    a monopod, I use so use one. Maybe the public is aware of them as I
    have not seen anyone else use one.
    Another quick and easy method is to freeze frame an object if it's a
    still object and keep the sound track the same.
    Believe it or not there is a video filter for creating a shaky camera
    effect build into Adobe Premiere Elements. The only case where a shaky
    camera might be useful is when you are recording someone by walking
    behind them in the woods or giving the audience a view through the
    eyes of person.
    As you can set the start position and the end position of a moving
    object (used for special effects) in Premiere elements and the
    position of the in-between frames are calculated and set automatically
    then you should be able to set the position of the start and end of a
    shaky camera bit in a video clip and have all the frames in-between
    set to the same position value.
    When using a hand held camera I look for a vertical object in the
    picture and try and keep this object the same distance from the edge
    of the frame to try and take a steady video.

    Regards Brian
    Brian, Oct 3, 2009
  8. Very ugly this.

    Martin Heffels, Oct 3, 2009
  9. Monopods can help, especially with long takes, but my shooting
    is more "explorative moving-camera" type, with short takes. One
    problem/advantage with monopods is that they don't resist horizontal
    rotation of the camera. There are monopods, though, that have short
    nearly horizontal "legs" that can be deployed at the bottom. BTW,
    I was VERY unimpressed with the stabilizer built into Elements...
    David Ruether, Oct 3, 2009
  10. Brian

    Brian Guest

    I know what you mean as it can be difficult to fake this.
    One suggestion is to have a few frames of the object blurred at the
    start so it looks like the camera focused on an object in the

    Regards Brian
    Brian, Oct 3, 2009
  11. Ah, substituting one visual problem for another, huh...? ;-)
    Unless you need the motion within the image, you could use
    the "Ken Burns" approach and shoot stills, import these, and
    "navigate" around within these (and also apply effects like
    B&W, various transitions, picture-in-picture, picture moving
    over picture, etc.). Some of these are hard to do well in SD,
    though, due to aliasing problems with the Mini-DV format...
    David Ruether, Oct 3, 2009
  12. Brian

    Paul Furman Guest

    Just what I was thinking. Having a slow zoom or pan on the still
    sequence helps it fit in with the hand held motion scenes. Here's an
    example where a friend did exactly that:
    -first example at 1:08

    BTW I gave up figuring out the Deshake VirtualDub plugin for now. From
    what I read, a lot of people got great results, maybe my particular

    Paul Furman

    all google groups messages filtered due to spam
    Paul Furman, Oct 3, 2009
  13. Like the idea.You could also add a bit of movement to the frame. I
    wouldn't use it as I hate focus adjustments and crashzooms.
    If it was film, you could add some grain to it, making it less obvious
    that it is a still.


    Martin Heffels, Oct 3, 2009
  14. Brian

    Brian Guest

    Good to hear that.
    The Stabilizer and Videomerge video effects seem to be the highlights
    of version 7 of Premiere Elements.

    Regards Brian
    Brian, Oct 4, 2009
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