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Jul 14, 2017, 10:23 AM
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steal youtube's server power

So you made another boring twenty minute RC video, but because you're a nervous girly-man the camera was shaking a lot and before you post your perfect little clip you want to add optical stabilization (even though your camera probably already added stabilization).

What does youtube's stabilization do, how good is it? Here are two versions of the same video, the first stabilized with my phone camera's own stabilization but is still shaky, the second stabilized with both my phone's stabilization plus Youtube's stabilization, so double stabilized. The camera's stabilization I'm guessing uses its accelerometers, youtube uses optical stabilization. Click play on both fast and mute one so you can compare not just the stabilization but also the video quality, psychadelic warpiness (the "jello effect"), compression artifacts (a tad worse in the second version, but only if you're looking for it, most won't notice).

Silky smooth RC seaplane landings in Darien CT (2 min 51 sec)

Silky smooth RC seaplane landings in Darien (stabilized) (2 min 51 sec)

Maybe you have software to do this on your own machine, but even if you have a very fancy crazy fast computer for which you paid top dollar, adding and rendering stabilization, especially on a 1080p60fps, will take forever (and cost you maybe a nickel on your electricity bill); meanwhile doing anything else on your machine is super slow and it might crash halfway through. So here's a trick, arguably in an ethical grey area:

Upload your raw video (or video segments) to youtube, set it/them as unlisted, hit done. Once the upload and processing is complete, open up the video, and hit the Enhance magic wand thing. Tap the Stabilize button (and if you want, while you're at it, the auto color correction, filters, rotation, whatever), and hit either Save as new video or Save.

One pitfall, minor unless you have OCD, to doing this versus your own stabilization is that you introduce a few video quality "generational losses" as when you upload a clip to youtube, it compresses it, and then when you tell youtube to stabilize it, it treats it as a new video and compresses it again, plus you lose frame area when adding stabilization. Another possible pitfall is if you have a bandwidth cap that you don't want to exhaust.

Depending on the length of your video and quality and Google's server load at a given time it will take a while but a fraction of what it would take to stabilize on your machine and it won't slow you down at all. You can either go ahead and post your stabilized video there, or if you uploaded multiple segments and want to retrieve the stabilized clips as files in order to import into Premiere, Final Cut, Kdenlive or whatever, here's what you do, though this requires some nerd skill:

Wait, never mind that for now, it's complicated and I want to save it for another tutorial because it has so many applications and is worth knowing.

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