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Image Stabilization in CS5 (no Mercalli Support)

Apr 16, 2010 6:37 PM

I have preordered CS5, and currently make use of the mercalli FX plugin to stabilize shaky video clips.  It doesn't appear that mercalli will be compatible with CS5 for a while, is there some other plug in I can use to provide high quality image stabilization?

 

Has anyone used motion stabilization in After effects and compared it to what Mercalli does?

 

For now I guess I will stabilize clips in Premiere Elements, export them, then use the pre-stabilized clips in CS5 but that will get cumbersome fast.

 

Are there any really high quality motion stabilization plug ins that will be compatible with CS5?  Has anyone here compared Mercalli to other solutions, and found one that's better?

 

-Roger Uzun

 
Replies
  • Currently Being Moderated
    Apr 16, 2010 6:46 PM   in reply to ruzun

    Roger,

     

    Until ProDAD updates Mercalli, I would think strongly at using a good head and set of legs. If one needs to do tracking shots, off of a head & legs, I'd think about renting a steady-cam rig.

     

    In most cases, Mercalli does a pretty good job, but will never compare to a stable base for the camera.

     

    Have not heard any schedule for ProDAD, but would assume that they will have something soon.

     

    Good luck,

     

    Hunt

     
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    Apr 16, 2010 11:17 PM   in reply to ruzun

    Very nice work!

     

    I would suspect that 3rd parties will start talking about their plans for 64 bit drivers for CS5 soon.  That have been muted by NDA until recently.

     

    One 3rd party plugin that I know of has publickly released drivers is Neat Video for noise reduction.

    http://www.neatvideo.com/

     

    I know that is not what you are looking for, but its a good sign.

     
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    Apr 17, 2010 8:13 AM   in reply to ruzun

    In the meantime all the 3rd Parties are saying they support or will support CS5, But we will have to do without them for a while.  Start planning a workaround or better yet have CS4 and 5 doing the job side by side as usual.

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Apr 17, 2010 8:32 AM   in reply to ruzun

    Roger,

     

    You might want to ask that question on Muvipix. I believe that the NewBlueFX stabilization plugin is to one included in PrE. I also know that many users on Muvipix have Mercalli. Some should be able to give you a side-by-side on those two plug-ins, albeit the 32-bit versions.

     

    Good luck, and yes, I see where a tripod might get in the way with UW material.

     

    Hunt

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Apr 17, 2010 1:22 PM   in reply to ruzun

    Thanks for the Neat video update. Besides Red Giant Looks, Colorista I was worried about Neat video the most. That program is worth every penny.

     
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    Apr 17, 2010 2:05 PM   in reply to joshtownsend

    Looks like Neat video in AE is now 32 bit float, but doesn't render any faster being 64 bit native. At least not on DVCproHD footage. Most likely it's gonna be faster on bigger, more uncompressed stuff and 4k red.

     

    Neat had been slow with new updates so I'm really glad to see it's the first 64 bit plug-in out. Too bad you have to buy 2 licenses if you want to use it on Premiere and After Effects. It's the only plug-in out there that has those restrictions.

     
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    Apr 18, 2010 11:23 AM   in reply to joshtownsend

    I'm pretty sure that I read somewhere that After Effects CS5 continues to have a version of Mocha AE included. Maybe someone from Adobe could confirm that.

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Apr 18, 2010 2:07 PM   in reply to jabloomf1230

    Yeah, it also comes with Mocha Shape and Freeform. Pretty cool.

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Apr 18, 2010 4:27 PM   in reply to joshtownsend

    CS5 Mocha AE & Mocha Shape plugin

     

    Yep, it's there. It's not clear if Mocha AE is 64 bit, though, since it's a stand alone program,  The Mocha shape plugin is 64 bit, obviously. The full version of Mocha 2 (not the one included with CS5) is 64 bit, though.

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Apr 18, 2010 11:14 PM   in reply to jabloomf1230

    I have the full v 2 of Mocha, and I must say it does an awesome job of image stabilization with significantly less image softening than Mercalli.

    Mercalli is very quick & easy. Mocha is a little more time consuming, but once you learn the workflow, not too bad. Since Mocha ships with Production Studio, IMO it's sure worth checking it out.

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Jul 26, 2010 4:20 AM   in reply to Kona Bob

    Is Mercalli v2 available now ?

     

    Is this sample really Mercalli v2 ?

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E80bJapOP3w

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Jul 26, 2010 4:49 AM   in reply to ruzun

    Mercalli 2 BETA was tested from the German magazine Videoaktiv Digital this weekend,

    link --> http://www.videoaktiv.de/201007244594/News/Editing/Prodad-Mercalli-2-B ildstabilisierung-und-verbesserung.html

    price are preliminary, start with 149 EURO for standalone version

    I hope that all the CS4 (especially 4.0.1) issues are now history.

    HB

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Aug 8, 2010 9:42 AM   in reply to ruzun

    I am a user of Premiere Pro CS5. I have tested both NewBlue and Boris and they do a fair job. Before making a decision I would like to try Mercalli V2. It has not been released yet but you can BUY a beta version with upgrade when released. As far as I can tell from them, the Pro version has a stand alone version and all plugins and is $249. Or you can purchase the stand alone for $149

     

    I would love to try it but have a problem purchasing the software without seeing how it performs first. It is more expensive than the competition so It would have to clearly be superior.

     

    My guess is when it is officially released they will have to offer a trial. Release was supposed to be May, then June, July, and now they are saying August.

     

    So we will see.

     
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    Aug 8, 2010 9:58 AM   in reply to Cowboy22

    I have purchased this beta version, which comes with a hefty discount.  You get three versions: 32-bit, and 64-bit plug-ins, and a stand-alone version.  It is at least as effective as version 1, and is easier to use.  You no longer have to select a suitable preset, this seems to be done automatically as part of the initial analysis.

     

    I have not tried the new 64-bit version yet, as I am waiting for drivers from Matrox before moving to CS5, so I have mostly used the SAL version.  I like this - you get a mini-timeline of the clip with the areas which need excessive correction highlighted.  I have found this useful as it permits selection of a section of the clip which requires the least stabilisation.  They seem to have messed up the edge treatment though - none of the three options seem to give a constant zoom, or black border, if that is your choice.

     

    There are no help files as yet, and activation has been simplified.

     
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    Aug 8, 2010 10:08 AM   in reply to Alan Craven

    Allen, thanks for the reply. I wonder if anyone has tried the V2 with Premiere Pro CS5? Or if anyone has compaired Mercalli with Boris or NewBlue?

     
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    Aug 11, 2010 4:53 AM   in reply to Alan Craven

    Alan, If I were to breakdown and purchase the Mercalli V2 now, never having used it before, would I be able to use it without manual or help? In other words do you think it is intutive? My gut feel is Mercalli has had a good reputation and may be the best long term solution. would value your opinion.

    Thanks.

     
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    Aug 11, 2010 5:53 AM   in reply to Cowboy22

    Using the new version is far easier than the old, as you no longer have to select the best preset - the software now does this automatically in the initial analysis.  It is still possible to tweak the various individual settings manually.  With the old version you had to buy the expensive "Expert" version for this feature, but this time around there is only the one version - the expensive one of course!

     

    As far as I know, the new version is available to existing users only, on special request.  It is expected to be generally available at the end of this month, and the help files will be with it then.

     

    You do have to watch for a number of potential pitfalls:

     

    field order - Mercalli is not good at detecting this automatically when used as a Premiere plug-in;

     

    treatment of borders - an inevitable consequence of all stabilisation is that the area of video moves within the frame, leaving blank areas at the edges.  these vary from frame to frame and there are three alternative ways of handling this.  the new version is less clear in this, to me at least.  I normally zoom the video to eliminate the black borders.

     

    transitions - if you apply Mercalli to a clip in your timeline and then apply transitions to the end(s) of the clip, the analysis will have to be done again, as you have introduced previously unconsidered areas to the clip.  I normally apply Mercalli to the clip on a second timeline, render and export the clip, making sure that I include all the material that I may want to use, if I apply transitions.  I generally apply colour correction, etc before exporting to avoid as far as possible quality loss due to repeat rendering.  I usually apply 10% sharpen filter at this stage too.  The new version offers a stand-alone version, which I like very much as it marks in red areas of the video in which extreme correction has to be applied, opening up scope for selecting the "less-unstable areas of video for use.

     

    I have never used either After Effects or Mocha, but I have used all the other commercially available stabilisation software, and Mercalli gives by far the best results of the half dozen or so.  I have tried  the New Blue stabilisert, but I could not get on with it.Most of the others I have used are no longer available.  You could try SteadyHand from Gooder Video.

     

    Message was edited by: Alan Craven

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Aug 11, 2010 8:08 AM   in reply to Alan Craven

    Alan, thanks for taking the time. I have inquired and they offered to sell me the current version at a discount with upgrade to final version. I an tempted to try it.

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Aug 12, 2010 12:59 AM   in reply to Cowboy22

    Hi,

     

    I just bought t the Mercalli v2, and I wasn't a previous user.  The plugin works fine with my CS5.  I tried the trial versions of Mercalli and NewBlue Stabilizer.  I thought Mercalli produced the best results.  Also, I was able to get the NewBlue Stabilizer plug in to work with CS4, but not with CS5.

     

    Most of the time, the stabilization is amazing.   I mainly got it for my helicopter footage of Kauai.  It was a doors off flight so I didn't have to shoot through Plexiglass.  Unfortunately, my camera was getting a lot of buffeting from the air stream.   Mercalli did a great job.   Occasionally, it will distort the image (a rubber band stretching).

     

    I wasn't able to find a manual for v2, only for v1.  Right now, I am using the default settings and the results are very good.

     

    ProDAD is having a sale on the new v2.  It is 20% off for a net cost of $200.  Also, they will include the stand alone version (now beta, but they will give the production version later on).  I don't understand why I would use the stand alone version if I can get a plug in to work with my CS5.

     
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    Aug 12, 2010 3:40 AM   in reply to poppabear69

    Good feedback. Thanks for taking the time. I will probably go ahead and get it.

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Aug 12, 2010 9:15 PM   in reply to ruzun

    Hey all, we're happy to read these great threads. The official release is upcoming, as you know, and we're excited about it. The new version includes rolling-shutter correction to compensate for footage shot with CMOS-based camcorders, and uses 3D technology to track movement more carefully to get better results and to reduce the zooming that is inherent with video stabilization. We have sample footage up to show what the new technology can do, and you can try a demo version yourself. Let us know what you think! We're looking for all feedback to make this the best product it can be. We're very excited to have full CS5 support--Windows first and Mac in a little while.

     
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    Aug 12, 2010 10:32 PM   in reply to ruzun

    I would like to see a comparison.

     

    Same footage stabilised with Mercalli, Mocha and After Effects.

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Aug 21, 2010 11:09 AM   in reply to ruzun

    I did finally go ahead and purchase the Mercalli V2 Pro. The plugin for Premiere Pro CS5 works fantastic. I had tried NewBlue and also Boris. Mercalli beats them both by far. I don't nokw how they do it but Mercalli is able to stabilize without having to zoom in or create the strange borders you see on the other products. I shot some HD and rocked the camera right to left and it did a wonderful job of correcting.

     

    The Stand Alone Version still needs some work. My mpg files from the Sony camera stabilize in the SAL version but I cannot output avi. Only WMA.

    They are working on this issue.

     

    If you do nature and wildlife or any situations where you have to hand hold this is the solution for you.

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Aug 21, 2010 2:07 PM   in reply to Cowboy22

    Glad to hear about Mercalli in CS5.

     

    Thanks for reporting,

     

    Hunt

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Aug 22, 2010 7:33 AM   in reply to Bill Hunt

    I am a long time user of Mercalli 1 with Cs4, and as I noted in an earlier post in this thread, it gave better results than any of the other available stabilisers - note I do not have After Effects.

     

    I acquired Mercalli 2 a couple of weeks ago, and tried out the 32 bit version and the SAL version, still using CS4.  After a fair bit of trying out the two new versions on problem clips from my archive, I came to the conclusion that the new version was easier to use as you no longer have to select a preset.  Even though there were many presets available in version 1, each with a detailed description of the type of problem it could address, I often found that better results were obtained using a different preset to the one indicated.  With SD material, in most cases, there was no obvious improvement in the output using Mercalli 2. With HDV, there is a small improvement on most clips, but sometimes you have to try your hand with the various sliders to tweak the settings to get the best result.

     

    Against my better judgement, I have just shelled out for CS5, so I have tried the 64 bit version of Mercalli 2, and I am convinced that this does give superior results to Mercalli 1 in virtually every case, particularly with HDV rather than PAL material.

     

    All my material is wildlife, principally birds.  Mercalli 2 has still not reached the holy grail of stabilisation - A cormorant perched on a large rock on the shore with a choppy sea behind occupying nearly half the height of the frame.  I have never yet achieved a static rock with motion confined to the sea.  You need to be able to select just which part of the frame is to be stabilised, using something like the magic wand tool in Photoshop.  The only stabiliser which could achieve that was the short-lived stabiliser in the ancient Pinnacle Pro 1, but only in the preview, the rendered file was never as good!

     

    Mercalli may seem expensive - but nothing like the price that the old 2d3 SteadyMove became - but if you are addicted to long lenses, and use them in situations where a tripod is not viable, there is nothing else to beat it at the price, 

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Aug 22, 2010 11:31 AM   in reply to Alan Craven

    Alan, good feedback. As guess we agree Mercalli is the

    software of choice.


     
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    Aug 27, 2010 9:04 AM   in reply to Cowboy22

    Hi,

    I have just tested vReveal and then upgraded the Mercalli V1 to V2. Is the better choice.

     
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    Sep 3, 2010 11:49 PM   in reply to ruzun
     
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    Sep 28, 2010 1:25 AM   in reply to Greuter13

    upgrade prices beeing close to a robbery though

     
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    Sep 28, 2010 2:24 AM   in reply to Jean Pierre Bottazzoli
    function(){return A.apply(null,[this].concat($A(arguments)))}

    function(){return A.apply(null,[this].concat($A(arguments)))}

    usa@bottazzoli.com wrote:

     

    Hi,

    I have just tested vReveal and then upgraded the Mercalli V1 to V2. Is the better choice.


    Mercalli does a far better job in stabilisation but gives a much less sharper picture then vReveal does.

    I went for vReveal, also it uses Cuda.

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Sep 28, 2010 2:28 AM   in reply to Ann Bens

    .. and the very best one - w.o noticable picture degradation - is imho MOCHA.  But then again it's AE

     
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    Sep 28, 2010 3:22 AM   in reply to idar lettrem

    Yes Mocha is very good. vReveal is foolproof and it costs jus 35 dollars. Support is terrible.

     
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    Sep 28, 2010 6:10 AM   in reply to Ann Bens

    Both this Mocha a vReveal have kept a low profile. I searched for stabilization software for some time. Evaluated several that I could find and went with Mercalli which I am very satisfied with.

    I have never heard of nor did I find either of the two above. The don't show up in search engins very well.

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Sep 28, 2010 6:41 AM   in reply to Ann Bens
    function(){return A.apply(null,[this].concat($A(arguments)))}

    Ann Bens wrote:

     

    function(){return A.apply(null,[this].concat($A(arguments)))}

    function(){return A.apply(null,[this].concat($A(arguments)))}

    usa@bottazzoli.com wrote:

     

    Hi,

    I have just tested vReveal and then upgraded the Mercalli V1 to V2. Is the better choice.


    Mercalli does a far better job in stabilisation but gives a much less sharper picture then vReveal does.

    I went for vReveal, also it uses Cuda.

     

    With image stabilisation, inevitably you  trade off resolution for stability.

     
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