5 Replies Latest reply on Jun 20, 2017 9:08 PM by Rick Gerard

    Shot stabilization: The right way?

    ScottTalbot Level 1

      Hey everyone,


      I've been stabilizing shots for about a year now with after effects.  Usually nothing too intense.  Just Warp Stabilizer to polish.


      Between my last project and this one I had a chance to sit down with the assistant editor on gone girl and I mentioned that I use warp stabilizer (usually without the warp setting).  He was basically disgusted at the thought.  Since I wasn't there to get a tutorial we didn't talk much more about it.  But he did say that the warp stabilizer doesn't give you a lot of control.


      So I'm wondering what the "right way" to stabilize a shot is.  Is there a tutorial that is more advanced somewhere out there? 



        • 1. Re: Shot stabilization: The right way?
          Szalam Adobe Community Professional & MVP

          In Premiere, perhaps, but in AE Warp Stabilizer does give you quite a bit of control. Granted, you have a lot more control with a SteadiCam rig.

          • 2. Re: Shot stabilization: The right way?
            Szalam Adobe Community Professional & MVP

            Alternatively, you could use the legacy stabilizer or Mocha to stabilize.

            • 3. Re: Shot stabilization: The right way?
              Todd_Kopriva Level 8

              Was this Tyler that you were talking with? If so, I'll have to ask him what he meant by this comment. Warp Stabilizer gives rather a lot of control, so I'd be curious to know what deficiencies there supposedly are.


              See these videos for details:






              Video: Pro Video Coalition - Using Reversible Stabilization in Warp Stabilizer VFX

              • 4. Re: Shot stabilization: The right way?
                michaelf62410779 Level 1

                There is no one "right way" to stabilize a shot, just as there is no wrong way to stabilize a shot. Sometimes Warp Stabilizer VFX is the best tool for the job. Sometimes using the built-in "Stabilize Motion" trackers yields better results. On some shots, I've had to use a combination of different stabilization methods. It all depends.

                • 5. Re: Shot stabilization: The right way?
                  Rick Gerard Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                  The most efficient and effective tool for any FVX shot or effect depends entirely on the shot. Folks can argue all they want about the 'right' way to do something but in the end the result and the amount of time it took to achieve the result are the only important parts of the workflow. I can tell you that the biggest workflow problem that  more than 90% of the students I have worked with and artists that I have observed in my 20+ years doing visual effects with After Effects, and in my 40+ years in the motion picture industry is that they spend a huge amount of time working on frames that they will never use or most importantly on parts of the frame that are not necessary to modify. For example, just last week I watched as an AE artist stabilize a shot so he could more efficiently separate an actor from the background so he could replace a sigh in a window by inserting a new layer between the actor and the background. The shot was about 5 seconds long, there was a lot of hand movement by the actor and hand roto was the only solution. The mistake the AE artist made was to roto the entire actor for the entire 5 seconds when only part of the actors arm and hand in the first 20 or so frames and the left side of the actors face, neck and shoulder for about 40 frames in the middle of the shot were ever in front of the replacement sign. In stead of spending a couple of hours doing hand roto on an entire actor over 250 frames he could have done two separate much simpler masks on 60 frames and been ready to do the composite in about 10 minutes.


                  Your workflow, using warp stabilizer to polish a shot, is not necessarily bad, just make sure that you are only processing the frames that actually need processing and figure out if it's more efficient to trim the shot, warp stabilize the footage that you are going to use and render a DI (lossless production format digital intermediate) in stead of applying he rest of the effects or using dynamic link in the rest of the project. Almost without exception in the kind of work that I do, if the shot is over about 2 seconds and requires warp stabilizing it's more efficient to render a DI and proceed with the rest of the composite than to use the stabilized shot in another comp or use Dynamic Link in Premiere Pro.