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Old October 19th, 2008, 08:54 AM   #1
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Mac image Stabilizer software

What are editors finding as the best stabilizer software for use with FCS2? I have not been impressed with the options in FC. I do own Adobe After Effects but have not tried this option. I have a lot of clips I want to dial out the high frequency of a machine the clips are XDCAM EX1 1080p HQ.
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Old October 19th, 2008, 09:58 AM   #2
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How about Shake 4.1? Looks to me that this is a excellent stabilizer. Does anyone have experience with this software?
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Old October 19th, 2008, 10:37 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by Paul Cronin View Post
How about Shake 4.1? Looks to me that this is a excellent stabilizer. Does anyone have experience with this software?
Smoothcam in Shake 4.1 works well. Go to
helicopter demo
all settings on Smoothcam default.

BUT if there's camera jitter or a sudden bump Shake will create blurred frames -

Steady from Red Giant is faster to work but not as powerful as Shake's Smoothcam - it has the advantage of no blurred frames but does not hold the picture as stable as Shake.
Red Giant Software: Magic Bullet Steady 1.0

The other problem with Steady (or "Stabilize" the name of the software once you buy it) is that falls out of render - I mean that if for example you dare to hit "f" on the timeline - the whole stabilized effect disappears and a RED ! mark appears. The only way out is to do a mixdown of the stable shot (export QT then import the clip - how I miss Avid's mixdown feature).

Red Giant's support is zero - no reply after three complaints. Perhaps they know that "Steady" is basically unstable. I wait for version 1.1.

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Old October 19th, 2008, 11:31 AM   #4
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Smoothcam is just a function within Motion and Final Cut Pro too right now? So you don't need to purchase Shake for this, or am I missing something?

BTW, I'm pretty impressed by Smoothcam. Yes, render times can be long, and if you have a really unstable shot, it won't ever make it perfect, but it does a pretty good job.
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Old October 19th, 2008, 11:32 AM   #5
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I use Motion it does a great job. There are free online tutorials.
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Old October 19th, 2008, 11:47 AM   #6
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[QUOTE=Mathieu Ghekiere;952994]Smoothcam is just a function within Motion and Final Cut Pro too right now? So you don't need to purchase Shake for this, or am I missing something?

Shake has 2 stabilizing nodes. Smoothcam and Stabilize.
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Old October 19th, 2008, 12:10 PM   #7
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Thank you for the responses.

Stefan nice site.

The footage I need to stabilize does not have as extreme movement as what you show on your site but that is an excellent example. I shoot with an Aerial Exposure 4 KS-8 gyro rig modified to hold 6 KS-8’s. The problem I have is from a shoot where I nailed the money shot but the turbine from the Eurocopter 120 put a high frequency into the footage due to the extreme zoom. It is not bad but the Smoothcam just does not cut it for this clients show. And I think Jase said it best I need Stabilizing not smoothing.

I will give Shake 4.1 a go from your recommendation and by two other's who have had great results in similar situations. Thanks!
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Last edited by Paul Cronin; October 19th, 2008 at 06:39 PM.
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Old October 19th, 2008, 01:40 PM   #8
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The stabilizers in Motion 2 are the same stabilizers in Shake.

Motion 2 contains the same "Optical Flow" algorithms that were previously only found in shake. Combining the two was part of Apple's strategy to end up with a full product line in studio that had all "mac-like" software and interfaces (which Shake absolutely is not).

Oh, and here's a stabilzed shot with the edges intact so you can see how much work Shake is doing:

Original: http://yafiunderground.com/Video/2_rough_comp.mov
Stabilized: http://yafiunderground.com/Video/2-shk-comp-test.mov
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Last edited by Cole McDonald; October 19th, 2008 at 01:43 PM. Reason: added examples
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Old October 19th, 2008, 02:08 PM   #9
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Cole you are saying the Stabilizer in Motion (FCS2) is the same as the one in Shake 4.1?

If that is really the case and you have all the same options then I will cancel my Shake 4.1 order. But from what I have tried in Motion and viewed in the Shake 4.1 demo and on Lynda.com Shake has a more in depth approach to stabilizing. Happy to be wrong and save the money.
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Last edited by Paul Cronin; October 19th, 2008 at 03:13 PM. Reason: more detail on my question
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Old October 19th, 2008, 03:33 PM   #10
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I love shake and the power it has. I wouldn't necessarily cancel the order. It's as powerful as things that are really powerful... and then some :)
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Old October 19th, 2008, 03:36 PM   #11
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Thank you Cole for the advice and the quick response I will not cancel.
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Old October 19th, 2008, 08:13 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by Paul Cronin View Post
Thank you for the responses.
... but the turbine from the Eurocopter 120 put a high frequency into the footage due to the extreme zoom.
In my experience Smoothcam will not remove jitter. In July, I had a 'copter shoot over the Great Salt Lake - 50% was perfect (didn't need Shake) and 50% had fast jitter vibrations (I blame the pilot).

I tried Shake, frame additions from Joe's Filters, two passes of Shake (it really works sometimes) - finally cracked it by slo mo-ing the shots to 25% of the original speed. The jitter just vanished.

BTW I have tried Smoothcam via FCP Filters but IMHO it works better in Shake 4.1. After Smoothcam (in Shake) use SCALE - try 1.07

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Old October 19th, 2008, 10:57 PM   #13
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I agree with everyone about the power of Shake. One of AE's shortcomings is its point-tracking system for tracking and stabilizing. If you're panning and your point trackers move off screen, all your tracking data is useless. You might look at Mocha from Imagineer Systems. It uses a planar tracking system which looks to work much better than AE. Unfortuantely, it keeps crashing on my old iMac so I can't really speak to its effectiveness.
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Old October 19th, 2008, 11:32 PM   #14
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just as a side thing, i know mocha comes with the new AE in Cs4 or atleast Mocha AE or some version like that.
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Old October 20th, 2008, 09:36 AM   #15
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Thanks for all the great input I ordered Shake and it will be here today.

Stefan thanks good advice on the slowing up the clips. The producer flew with us and was in the front with a monitor. We were discussing during the shoot what clips would look great slower. I tried to convince him to let me shoot some clips over cranked at 50% speed to keep the bit rate but he preferred post.

I will give Shake 4.1 the two-pass test on the 25% of the clips that need it from the shoot and try 1.07 scale.

It was my mistake with the high frequency put in by the machine it was a low frequency from the track & balance being off on the blades. The pilot is taking care of that this week so our next shoot is better.
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