5 Replies Latest reply on Sep 15, 2014 9:56 AM by cgipperich

    Stabilization - After Effects CC help

    cgipperich Level 1

      Hello all!


          I'm working with the new Warp Stabilizer VFX for the first time (worked with Warp Stabilizer in CS5/6 quite a bit) and I'm having some issues with three different clips.

          When I first saw how easy it was to work with the track points, I was very excited and assumed this would be a quick job, however that was not the case. I'm not sure if I just have a simple setting wrong or if I'm going about this in the wrong way.


      Anywho, I'm working with 1080p29.97 footage that I personally did not shoot. The first two clips (pictures following) involve about 20 minutes of footage a piece which I sped up several thousand % in Premiere CC to show some "timelapse." They where obviously shot on tripods, but they weren't secured enough and what I'm assuming was wind shake is quite noticeable with the aforementioned speedup. So I turned to Warp Stabilizer VFX for help but am still having some trouble:


      Here's a screenshot of the first clip. I did my best to show all my settings and track points:

      clip one screenshot.jpg

      For this one I set the method to Subspace Warp just for the sake of trying something different from the next clip I'm going to mention, on which I applied Position, Scale, & Rotation.

      I then set the Framing to Stabilize, Crop, & Auto-Scale assuming that the more options I give it to stabilize, the better. I may be thinking about this completely wrong though it seems to make sense in a common sense sort of way. For the track points, many frames had them applied to the moving clouds which I deleted. Assuming that using a moving object to stabilize an entire scene would be counter-intuitive, I went through frame-by-frame and deleted all track points from anywhere above the mountains. I want the mountains to be perfectly still (being the only stationary objects in the scene) so I thought leaving track points on them would help smooth things out, but this was not the case. The clip itself still jitters quite a bit.


      Here's my second clip. I divided it in half to try separate options within the same clip:

      clip two screenshot.jpg 

      This is the same kind of shot as the one prior, so I tweaked the settings a bit assuming they would be interchangeable between the shots just for the sake of experimentation.

      This time I set the method to Position and used Stabilize, Crop, & Auto-Scale for the Framing. Once again, I'm assuming this is the right choice because it maximizes AE's options for the stabilization. The same as before, I went through frame-by-frame and deleted all the track points that were automatically applied to the Moon because I want the mountains to be still as the Moon moves smoothly through the frame. I had almost the exact same results as the prior clip with the shakiness of it.


      Here's the second half of the Moon clip:

      clip 2.5 screenshot.jpg

      The only setting I changed on this half of the clip is the Method, which I set to Position, Scale & Rotation which I assumed would further help AE find the right method to stabilize the clip. I set the result for both of these to No Motion, and now I'm wondering if Smooth Motion would be better, though I want the mountains to be completely still.


      This next clip is a doozy:

      clip three screensht.jpg

      The grass in the foreground moves A LOT in the wind. I swear I went through and deleted all the track points from the grass and left only the ones on the mountains in the background in one of my attempts to further stabilize the clip, however it looks like that didn't get saved. I remember seeing that it really made no difference so I didn't bother going through and trying it again for the sake of the screenshot. My settings are otherwise identical to the last clip and my results are the same. Jittery, oddly warped, and in no way smooth.


      Essentially I just need some clearing up of the aforementioned terminology. I originally thought I was going about these settings in a sensible way, however maybe I'm just framing their purposes incorrectly. Or maybe I just missed a simple setting that will clear everything up. I'm hoping I included all necessary relevant information but if more is needed I will gladly supply it. I just want to get to the bottom of what I thought would be a simple process.


      Thanks a lot for your time,


      Corey Gipperich

        • 1. Re: Stabilization - After Effects CC help
          Szalam Adobe Community Professional & MVP

          It sounds like the legacy stabilizer would be a better choice for you instead of Warp Stabilizer. After Effects Help | Tracking and stabilizing motion

          Alternatively, you could use Mocha (comes with AE) to stabilize: mocha | Planar Tracking Stabilization Techniques

          Looking at your shots, I think Mocha might be your best bet.

          • 2. Re: Stabilization - After Effects CC help
            cgipperich Level 1

            I decided to venture down the path of Mocha, because it does appear to be my best bet (after making several more stabilization attempts in after effects which were to no avail). However, I have never used Mocha before so you'll have to bear with me.

            After some research, it seems that you can copy and paste the data created within Mocha to the original clip (which would avoid any lost quality due to compression) so that's what I'm trying to do. However, Mocha doesn't seem to like my filetypes (which are 1x .mts and 2x .mov) so I looked up the best ways to import. I keep finding TIFF image sequences as being claimed as the best option, so that's what I tried to do.


            Now I have never done this before, but what I ended up with was a separate TIFF image file for each frame of the original video, which took up a lot of space. I'm not sure if this is what I was supposed to get so here's a screenshot of my ME settings:

            me settings.png

            I chose HD 1080p29.97 for the preset. "Export as sequence" was automatically checked and that's what I figured I wanted, so I left that alone.


            Now, I imported the some 7000 images into After Effects into a composition (which took a LONG time) and tried to send them over to mocha, which resulted in this:

            tiff image sequence.png

            As you can see, the "track in Mocha AE" option is grayed out, which I'm assuming is because I'm selecting multiple items, however I cannot be sure.


            So I'm wondering what to do to get these clips into Mocha, and also how to copy and paste the data onto the original clips once I'm done with my stabilization.

            I realize I most likely am not going about this the right way, but I'm using what research I found because I have no prior experience with this process, so I'm hoping for some help.


            Thanks a lot,


            Corey Gipperich

            • 3. Re: Stabilization - After Effects CC help
              Szalam Adobe Community Professional & MVP

              cgipperich wrote:


              Now, I imported the some 7000 images into After Effects into a composition (which took a LONG time)

              It shouldn't have. All you need to do is choose File>Import, click on ONE of those files, then tick the little checkbox that says "Image Sequence" (or whatever it says) in the lower left corner of the import dialog. Then it'll import into AE as a video file, but it's referencing each TIFF for each frame. Then you just work with it (Track in Mocha, etc.) as normal.


              Image sequences like that are how almost all 3d renders are done and a lot of people do that when they're rendering from AE as well. The reason is, if you're doing a long render that takes hours, overnight, or even days, if something goes wrong and the system crashes, you aren't left with nothing after 22 hours of rendering as you would be if you were rendering a video file. That way you just have to pick up from the frame where the render failed.

              • 4. Re: Stabilization - After Effects CC help
                Rick Gerard Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                You are over complicating your workflow. If you have 7000 frames of video and you want to make the final product 700 frames then you want to adjust the time remapping of your original footage so that exactly every 10th frame is shown. This way you avoid any frame blending. Now you render that time remapped comp either to a movie container like JPEG compressed Quicktime that Mocha will understand or a Tiff, or TGA, or any image sequence you want.


                Now you have every 10th frame and you first try stabilizing the shot with AE's tracker making sure that you pick large enough targets to track. The biggest problem most folks have with AE's tracker is that they try and pick points when they need to be picking shapes. The attach point is mistaken for the tracking area. What you are tracking is everything inside the inside box. For example, in your top shot, I would track for position, scale and rotation something like the top of two mountain peaks. If you have a detail that doesn't change in the shot, the bigger the tracking area the more accurate the track. A peak on the Left and Right of the frame about 100 pixels by 100 pixels should do nicely.


                The same thing goes for Mocha. Track two Planes on opposite sides of the image. Make sure they are indeed Planes, and you will be fine.

                • 5. Re: Stabilization - After Effects CC help
                  cgipperich Level 1

                  Thanks so much for your help! smooth as silk!