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Mar 03, 2011, 12:54 PM
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Comparing video stabilization methods

For the last 2 months I have been shooting aerial footage using a GoPro HD Hero camera. Awesome camera. As part of the process I have been experimenting with how to best process the video to remove shaking from the video clips as the camera itself does not have an image stabilization function.

I just posted a side-by-side video comparison of two different methods of stabilizing video footage: Method 1 is using the built-in Stabilize Media option (Tools | Video menu) found in the Sony Vegas Studio HD Platinum 10.0 software. This is an earlier version of the proDAD Mercalli video stabilizer that has received good reviews. Method 2 is using the VirtualDub video editing program and the companion Deshaker filter plug-in, both of which are available for free.

I included embedded comments in the video and which method I like better. If and when I decide to shell out $200 for the proDAD Mercalli plug-in I will also post a comparison of that. For now, though, I'm happy with

Stabilization settings I used: (Note: I first convert all GoPro MP4 video files using the HuffYUV lossless codec in VirtualDub and saved as an AVI file before deshaking)

Vegas Movie Studio HD Platinum 10.0:
Type: General footage, Intensive Analysis
Rolling shutter correction: checked

VirtualDub Deshaker filter:
Pass 1: Square pixels, Progressive scan, Camcorder has a rolling shutter: Amount: 82%
Vid output: Motion vectors, Block size: 30 pixels, Scale: Full, Use pixels: All, Color mode: RGB
Detect rotation: checked, Detect zoom: checked
Remember discarded areas to next frame: checked
Pass 2: Same destination properties as source: checked, Resampling: Bicubic,
Edge compensation: Adaptive+ fixed (no borders)
Extra zoom factor: 1
Motion smoothness: all 4 values are 1000
Max correction limits: Horiz, Vert, & Zoom: 15, Rotation: 5

Comments welcome.

Chris B.
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Mar 03, 2011, 04:20 PM
Registered User
Forget vdub and try vReveal software, it's great for de-shakeing.

You'll be de-shaking in afew clicks.
They have a free windows version that can save up to 480p

Very easy to use.
I once tried de-shake in vdub but found it too cumbersome.
Mar 03, 2011, 05:47 PM
Team Hello Kitty
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Thanks for the link. I will definitely give it a try asap. If it has performance even close to VDub + Deshaker and is easier to batch, that would be awesome.
Mar 03, 2011, 05:51 PM
Registered User
I find it Extremely simple to use.
Put in some enhanced color saturation in there and you have
some hollywood style clips to boot.

Let me know how you go.
Mar 03, 2011, 09:45 PM
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Well, so far vReveal = fail. Installs okay but (apparently) will not display videos unless you have a compatible nVidea GPU (I don't). So I ignored that and went ahead and applied stabilization to a short clip and tried to save it to a file. It acts like it started processing the clip but it hangs forever. It wrote a zero-length output file but nothing after that. Worse, I had to reboot to get control back.

My other concern about the stabilization feature is that it offers almost no adjustments for the stabilization process itself. For example, there is no way to enable rolling shutter compensation which is helpful for the HD Hero camera. Maybe it's auto-applied but I don't see how they could know what type of sensor your camera uses by just the video itself.

The output file hanging problem may be related to the GPU issue but it's hard to tell...
Mar 03, 2011, 09:50 PM
Registered User
sorry to hear that.
I have an ati card and it works for me.
From memory, the adjustments to stabilization includes zoom factor (how large of edge black bars to cut out - more stabilization area).

Good on you for trying anyhow, feel free to delete my posts to cut the clutter.
Mar 03, 2011, 11:56 PM
Registered User
Here is a random side by side sample of results from vReveal.
For ease of use i recommend it above vdub for beginners purely cause the learning cure.
Go into fine-tune settings and play with the slider.

Testing image stabilization.avi (0 min 21 sec)

Sorry, no batch processing that i could find.
I hope this doesn't deter you.
Mar 04, 2011, 12:22 AM
Team Hello Kitty
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Thanks for the sample--looks pretty good. I'll try installing vReveal on another computer and see if it works better. My main video machine has an older dual video card (with nVidia chips). I really would like to do a side-by-side comparison of vreveal and VirtualDub + Deshaker.

Thanks again!
Mar 04, 2011, 01:12 AM
Registered User
Hope you don't mind but i "borrowed" one of your youtube clips to test.
This is an exert from your "F3J in the Desert 2011"

testSoaringDude1.avi (1 min 11 sec)

Seems to me that the video has already had stabilization applied, or vReveal might just be carp lol.
I may have gone overboard with the color saturation, but that's how i like to remember things.

vReveal may not give the best picture quality, but it's a quick and dirty image stabilization i think even a novice could get results in no time.

I converted that on my relic of a p4 using an ati 9550 apg card.
Jun 25, 2011, 01:42 PM
Whats the wrst that can happn?
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I just did my own test of VReveal and that's why I'm now searching for a better solution. The biggest problem I run into with stabilization software is many of them lower the resolution of the original footage significantly. And I've tested many of the settings to minimize this effect. So far from my own experience with VReveal, Mercalli and Pinnacle stabilization is they all suck in this regard!

What kills me is even Mercalli's own fricken website's side by side examples show a significant degrade in resolution! Look at the stealth video example...clearly the stabilized sample has reduced resolution vs original...ugh! And that's a $200 add-on for Sony Vegas!!

However the footage I've seen on this thread of the side by side of the raw vs Deshaker seems to be just about a lossless solution, so I'm going to give it a try.

I know that when ever you zoom video you lose resolution, but Deshaker seems to have overcome this better than the other applications. I'll report back my findings after test Deshaker.
Jun 27, 2011, 02:16 PM
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The main reasons for Deshaker's good quality: the extra amount of processing time and a better algorithm with lots of parameters to tweak. But for many that is also a negative.

I spent lots of time trying several "batch" tools that were developed for Deshaker but did not have any luck getting them to run successfully. If this will save you any time, here are the steps I use when I Deshake a GoPro video:
1. Convert .MP4 vid files from GoPro to .AVI using HuffYUV encoding
2. Use VirtualDub (VD) to create video clips.
3. Open selected clip in VD, then execute "View | Show status window"
4. Execute "File | Load Processing Settings" and select "Deshaker Pass 1.vcf" (i.e. parameter file created from previously saved settings)
5. Rewind video clip pointer, then press "Output Playback" button (>o) (SLOW analysis pass)
This pass will write deshaker.log at end of this pass (i.e. pass 1).
6. Execute "File | Load Processing Settings" and select "Deshaker Pass 2.vcf" (i.e. a parameter file you have previously saved)
7. Rewind video clip pointer, then
Verify "Video | Filters" for "Deshaker Pass 2"
Verify "Video | Compression" (usually HuffYUV)
Execute "File | Save as AVI". (fast video-writing pass)
8. Repeat steps 3 thru 7 for all clips.
Hope that helps.
May 23, 2013, 07:58 AM
Registered User
Hi everyone,

ProDAD ProDRENALIN is one of the best tools for stabilizing GoPro footage. Its stabilization technology is based on the latest Mercalli engine.
Worth a try...

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