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Re: Best stabilization for FCPX

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Joe Marler
Re: Best stabilization for FCPX
on Aug 22, 2018 at 9:02:15 pm

[Mike Lemons] "client who has shot a LOT of shaky footage. Now I try not to use the inbuilt stabiliser (or any) as I get that jelly effect some of you will be aware of, however I feel that I have no choice now as the footage is really really shaky."

Besides the FCPX stabilizer, I use Premiere CC 2018 warp stabilizer, Lock & Load, CrumplePop's BetterStabilizer: https://www.crumplepop.com/product/fcpx-premiere-stabilize-plugin-bettersta..., and Mercalli, which is stand alone for FCPX but a plugin for Premiere: https://www.prodad.com/Video-Stabilization-for-Professionals/Mercalli-V4-SA...

There is also the stabilizer in DaVinci Resolve but I haven't used it. It's in the free version of Resolve. It supposedly is very good.

Of all the stabilizers I've used, they each have pros and cons. Sometimes one will work better than another on a certain scene, and it's hard to predict when or why. In general the Premiere Warp stabilizer is quite slow to run but produces good results. Mercalli is a lot faster yet very good, but for FCPX users requires exporting a ProRes file, stabilizing that externally then importing the result file. The CrumplePop stabilizer is fast and has few controls to adjust. Sometimes it works. I haven't had great results with Lock & Load but I always try it in difficult cases. The FCPX stabilizer is pretty fast and works fairly well but there are cases where the others work better.

No stabilizer can fix frame blurring or perspective shift caused by parallax changes between the subject and background. They all will often produce artifacts, so the typical procedure is endless trial and error while you adjust the controls.

FCPX is especially difficult if you are using multicam, since the stabilization effect must be applied to the parent clip, which must typically be bladed on the multicam clip boundary to avoid time-consuming CPU cycles outside the region of interest.

In general you don't want to stabilize anything until the final edit. There's no need to waste huge amounts of time stabilizing material that won't be used. But you can't always predict stabilization success, so shaky clips must be optimistically picked which intuition and experience indicate might respond well to stabilization. Then you stabilize it in the final edit and if not successful use a different clip or discard it.

Post production stabilizers often cannot fix highly shaky footage without leaving significant artifacts. IMO it's better to use them with a "light hand" and accept whatever improvement is possible without artifacts. The real answer is stabilize the camera either optically or mechanically during shooting.


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