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Image stabilization with Warp Stabilizer

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Scott AllenImage stabilization with Warp Stabilizer
by on Oct 24, 2012 at 1:55:14 pm

The archive where I work has something of an "experimental" scanner. It turns out 2048 x 1536 Quicktime files, but the transport is so shaky, that there is a LOT of up and down travel of the film as it moves past the camera -- even at 6 fps. Depending upon how bad the movement is, After Effects Warp Stabilizer can sometimes help, but more often than not, it gets so confused that it only makes matter worse.

Understandably, Warp Stabilizer was intended to handle camera shake...not a film's bob and weave as it goes through a scanner. Also, the film can be anywhere between 30 to 93 years old, so there are some condition issues 8^).

Does anyone have any suggestions -- either within the After Effects world, or some other one -- how I might attack this problem?

Thank you,
Scott Allen

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Dave LaRondeRe: Image stabilization with Warp Stabilizer
by on Oct 24, 2012 at 3:11:48 pm

Ouch. Old, old film stock that drifts in the gate.

I presume it cuts off the top/bottom of images as it drifts. You face hour after hour of custom repair work, applying a wide variety of fixes in response to the nature of the shot.

I fear there is no one-size-fits-all solution to this dilemma, and I'm sure you understand the best answer: that experimental film transfer process is still experimental and needs tweaking.

Can you transfer 1 frame at a time to ensure that it's registered? It may seem extremely time-consuming, but fixing it in AE could be even more time-consuming. No joke.

And ponder (or research) how other film preservation organizations go about their work.

Dave LaRonde
Former Sr. Promotion Producer
KCRG-TV (ABC) Cedar Rapids, IA

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Scott AllenRe: Image stabilization with Warp Stabilizer
by on Oct 25, 2012 at 2:02:31 pm

Unfortunately, i have little control over the scanning process. Either the original choice of machinery or the method. The scanner has no teeth, and only maintains framing based on a not-totally-reliable perf-recognition laser. I will ask if they could do it one frame at a time, though the scan time would obviously skyrocket.

It doesn't actually cut off the top and bottom, since they have pulled the camera back far enough to get an edge-to-edge scan -- perfs and all are visible, including parts of the frames above and below (don't ask). Which may be another reason it's hard to stabilize, because of the added noise.

After several years of this, the powers-that-be have finally agreed to let us look at a used Spirit, or maybe a NOVA Data Scanner. From their lips to God's ears 8^).

Thanks for the advice. I'll see what I can do. I'll probably start with cutting the file down into more manageable chunks.

Scott Allen

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