With the recent post of what's coming in the next version of PPro CC, I was sad to see no mention of Warp Stabilizer. As amazing of an effect as it is, it needs a bit of help. I know there are improvements and fixes that probably weren't mentioned in the post so I'm still holding out hope. We use Warp Stabilizer more than anyone I know. Several hundred times per week. Yes, per week, no exaggeration. Over the last few years, we've built an entire style of shooting around the strengths of this awesome effect that emulates the use of a slider, steadicam and crane all without having to have them. So we've become really familiar with its PROS and CONS.
Here is a short list of SEVEN things that should be addressed with regards to warp stabilizer within Premiere Pro CC to maximize its effectiveness (and yes we did submit multiple Feature Requests for these so far to no avail):
- FIrst and foremost and by far MOST IMPORTANT to us - Allow users to create a CUSTOM PRESET with any altered settings that will engage (or begin Analyzing/Stabilizing) automatically when added to a clip!! This is huge. If you double click on Warp Stabilizer with a clip selected, it is applied to that clip and begins the process of stabilizing that clip. However, the vast majority of the time we need to alter the settings of the effect. If we create a custom preset, that's all fine and good, but when we add that to a clip, it does NOT begin stabilizing. Instead you have to manually go into the Effect Controls for each clip and select ANALYZE. Huge waste of time when adding this effect to hundreds of clips. PLEASE FIX!
- BUG when saving projects!!! - If this is not a bug, it needs to be fixed because it's awful. - If you have more than one sequence with multiple warp stabilizations added and GPU ACCELERATION IS ENABLED, then after you SAVE a project (or if it auto-saves) when you toggle between the two sequences you are hit with a delay or freeze while the render bar goes from Yellow to Red...and finally back to yellow again. No work can be done during this delay/freeze. The more stabilized clips, the longer the delay. For us, on our larger projects this delay is sometimes 30 seconds to almost a full minute! Once it turns back to yellow, you can toggle between sequences without the delay...but as soon as it saves again...and you toggle between sequences, the delay hits again. If this is a bug, or somehow a result of Premiere Pro's way of CACHING projects after it's saved, then I sincerely hope it's fixed asap. It's awful!
- The third is more of a feature request than a fix - Add the ability to set the maximum scale to work WITH the smoothness control so that if you never want your clips to scale more than say 105%, you can set that and have Warp Stabilizer stabilize the clip and adjust the "smoothness" percentage from the default "50%" down to whatever it needs to be in order for that clip to be fully stabilized and scaled to no more than 105%. Correct me if I'm wrong, but this is not possible currently. Right now we have to manually adjust each clip if it is initially scaled too much by dropping down the Smoothness %.
- Another great feature would be the ability to manually keyframe the scaling so that if you have a longer clip that starts fairly steady, then needs to be smoothed out a bit more in the middle, before it ends relatively steady again, you can slowly and seamlessly ramp up the stabilization/scaling so that the whole clip doesn't have to be scaled to make up for the misgivings of one portion of the clip.
- Minor bug - sometimes when you have extended the length of a clip, the clip needs to be re-analyzed again. However, the "analyze" button is often greyed out. You need to click away from the clip and then click on the clip again to make that button appear again. Nothing big, but still, a small bug.
- After Effects Warp Stablizer VFX feature carried over - It would be nice to carry over to Premiere the ability to isolate what in frame is supposed to be stable (sometimes someone nodding their head can trick the effect into thinking that it's the camera shaking). Great to have it in AE, but would be nice to carry over to Premiere Pro CC.
- Finally, I've always believed that no matter how cool "Subspace Warp" sounds, it is not as effective as "Position, Scale & Rotation". This SHOULD be the deafult "method" within the Warp's settings. I'd say 95% of the thousands and thousands of clips we've stabilized we ended up switching the "Method" within the settings to "Position, Scale & Rotation" because it either scaled the shot less or created less "wobble" in the resulting stabilized clip. I know everyone shoots differently, and sometimes Subspace Warp is the way to go, but we have stabilized all sorts of shots with great success by simply switching this setting. Granted...if #1 on this list was taken care of we could then easily have this set as our default setting.
Hopefully this list either reaches someone within Adobe that can do something about them or at the very least inspires others to write feature requests and bug fixes as we have. Even resolving #1, #2 and #3 would be HUGE and would save our editors probably 10 hours per week. It's an awesome effect, far better than "smoothcam" on FCP7, it just needs a little love.