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Video stabilization:
what’s it all about?

A Quick Guide to Video Stabilization

What makes a video look professional? First of all, it’s the absence of camera shake. You can avoid jittery motion in your videos by purchasing and using a camera tripod or a built-in image stabilizer. Another way around the problem is to use a video stabilization program. Let’s have a closer look at each of these options.

It is a fact that the best tools to reduce camera shaking are camera tripods and steadicams. The former is used to maintain the camera in a single stable position on the ground, while the latter is used to stabilize in-motion camera shots. For beginners, using a tripod for camera stabilization is probably the more accessible choice, as the investment is less than a Steadicam, and they’re easier to operate.

Using a built-in camera stabilizer is another good way to prevent unwanted camera movements from affecting handheld footage. There are two types of stabilizers: optical and digital.

An optical image stabilizer comprises two main elements: a system of gyroscopic sensors that detect camera movements and a special stabilization lens group. The sensors analyze vibrations and transmit the information to the lens group, which shifts to compensate for the camera shake.

In digital image stabilization, the processing unit captures only a part of the image on the image sensor, leaving out some pixels around the edges of the frame. These pixels are used to compensate for jitter. Digital stabilizers have some drawbacks when compared to optical stabilizers: for example, in low light conditions, the quality of photos captured with digital stabilization is quite low.

These methods can all be used during the process of filmmaking. But what can you do when you’ve already filmed your video and it has turned out blurry and jittery? A cheap and effective way to deal with this issue is to use video stabilization software. The functional principles of such programs have much in common with digital stabilizers: the video is cropped, and the program uses pixels from the cropped parts of the image to reduce the negative effects of camera movement. Though this method doesn’t always preserve good image quality, it can still bring acceptable results. As video stabilizing programs usually crop the edges of the frame to reduce motion-induced blurring, their use should not impact important areas of your video, as these are unlikely to be around the edges. Another good reason to use less zoom and leave “extra space” in your video if you plan to edit it in software afterwards.

So, to summarize, the main methods of video stabilization (in decreasing order of efficiency) are:

  1. Mechanical stabilization
  2. Optical stabilization
  3. Video stabilization software
  4. Digital stabilization

There are dozens of video stabilizers available on the web, so go ahead and choose the one that suits you best. We recommend you try Movavi Video Editor. Among many other functions, our program includes a powerful video stabilizer that will help you smooth out your footage. For more information, please refer to our guide on how to stabilize video.

Movavi Video Editor

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