Steadicam in software - worth it? at

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Old June 2nd, 2008, 10:13 AM   #1
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Steadicam in software - worth it?

So anyone using this? If the examples are realistic of results I'm sold.
Deniz Ahmet is offline   Reply With Quote
Old June 2nd, 2008, 10:46 AM   #2
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Originally Posted by Deniz Ahmet View Post

So anyone using this? If the examples are realistic of results I'm sold.
I have this one. I bought it several years ago for $99. I think it now sells for something like $500.

The light version used to be included with Adobe Premiere.

Perhaps a better product now might be ProDad's Mercalli stabizer:

Much cheaper and reported to give outstanding results.

Remember that a software stabilizer moves the video around in the frame. Therefore, you either ahve edges showing or the video must be scaled up a bit, depending on how much movement there is.

However, in many cases these software stabilizer can truly save footage that otherwise is unacceptable.
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Old June 2nd, 2008, 11:49 PM   #3
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I have the ninety-nine dollar version from 2003/2004 as well, and it works fairly well for what it is. At five hundred, though, I'm not so sure. If you're willing to spend that much, you may want to give SynthEyes a look. It's focused on matchmoving for visual effects, but has a 3D stabilizer built in. Download the side-by-side Quicktime sample at to see it used on a traveling shot, and then grab the demo to see how it works for you.
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Old June 3rd, 2008, 01:55 AM   #4
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Funny, but I was also going to suggest Syntheyes.

Despite being basically a camera tracking/match moving package, it does have a 3D stabilizer.

They make the claim that 3D stabilization has some advantages over typical 2D stabilization, in particular, because it analyzes the tracking points in 3D space they say it does a better job of keeping the vanishing points for the cropped stabilized image centered as opposed to the somewhat off-center result of simply sliding the image sideways and up and down.

They have a demo version that works for a couple of weeks as I recall.

Following are a couple of quotes from the manual.

How NOT to Stabilize
Though it is relatively easy to rig up a node-based compositor to shift footage back and forth to cancel out a tracked motion, this creates a fundamental problem:

Most imaging software, including you, expects the optic center of an image to fall at the center of that image. Otherwise, it looks weird—the fundamental camera geometry is broken. The optic center might also be called the vanishing point, center of perspective, back focal point, center of lens distortion.
For example, think of shooting some footage out of the front of your car as you drive down a highway. Now cut off the right quarter of all the images and look at the sequence. It will be 4:3 footage, but it’s going to look strange—the optic center is going to be off to the side.
If you combine off-center footage with additional rendered elements, they will have the optic axis at their center, and combined with the different center of the original footage, they will look even worse.
So when you stabilize by translating an image in 2-D (and usually zooming a little), you’ve now got an optic center moving all over the place. Right at the point you’ve stabilized, the image looks fine, but the corners will be flying all over the place. It’s a very strange effect, it looks funny, and you can’t track it right. If you don’t know what it is, you’ll look at it, and think it looks funny but not know what has hit you.

3-D Stabilization
To stabilize correctly, you need 3-D stabilization that performs “keystone correction” (like a projector does), re-imaging the source at an angle. In effect, your source image is projected onto a screen, then re-shot by a new camera looking in a somewhat different direction with a smaller field of view. Using a new camera keeps the optic center at the center of the image.
In order to do this correctly, you always have to know the field of view of the original camera. Fortunately, SynthEyes can tell us that.
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