No one likes shaky footage, right? Unless your project strictly requires it or you intentionally want to achieve this specific type of look for some of your scenes, shaky footage won’t add much production value to your work. Quite the contrary. Not to mention the rolling shutter issues such as nasty wobbling and jittery artifacts that most contemporary digital cameras with CMOS sensor still suffer from, albeit to a lesser extent in comparison to first generation DSLRs.
So, if you are looking for a decent post-process stabilization, the Warp Stabilizer in After Effects CC is definitely a viable option and a way to go. It’s not only an easy to use drag-and-drop effect, but it also has been improved significantly in the past years in terms of performance and functionality. In the video ahead Evan Abrams from Premiumbeat.com will show us how to improve the production quality of our videos by getting the most out of Warp Stabilizer VFX in Adobe After Effects CC.
After Effects Tutorial: Stabilize Video Footage from PremiumBeat.com on Vimeo.
To start off, import your footage in After Effects and drag it to a new composition. Applying the Warp Stabilizer is really easy and straightforward. You can find the plug-in in the Effects Library or you can use the dedicated Warp Stabilizer button in the Tracker Window. Either of these will apply the effect to your footage. In this particular case, Evan uses Smooth Motion option and Subspace Warp Method settings while processing the clip.
In essence, the Warp stabilizer will analyze your entire frame and will create a bunch of track points on objects in your scene. If you want to push the process even further you can do this by removing some of the tracking points that appear on the moving objects in your frame. In the video tutorial, Evan removes the tracking points on the floating water. Typically, you should use only those ones that exist on solid surfaces.
To remove the unwanted tracking points access the Advanced tab in the Warp Stabilizer settings and make sure that the Show Track Points is enabled. Then you might need to zoom in a little bit or make the tracking points larger by modifying Track Point Size. By default, this setting should be set to 100%. The next step is to go through the clip and delete the unnecessary points manually frame by frame. Make sure that Auto-delete Points Across Time is also enabled.
This option will guarantee that the already deleted points won’t repopulate. This was an annoying flaw in the previous versions of After Effects, but fortunately enough Adobe has implemented this feature and fixed the issue in the latest version of After Effects CC.
Alternatively, you can put a mask on this section of the footage where you don’t want to have any tracking points. This way the Warp Stabilizer will analyze only these sections of the clip that contain only non-moving objects in the frame.
As shown above, Evan creates a Mask around the floating water, changes its mode to Subtract, pre-composes the footage and finally applies the Warp Stabilizer. He also enables Detailed Analysis function in the Warp Stabilizer settings during analysis for even more precise and accurate results.
Ultimately, you can even lock off a shaky footage by selecting No Motion instead of Smooth Motion, however, you should bear in mind that After Effects will scale up your frame even more to perform this task. All in all, the Warp Stabilizer is a great way to smooth out your footage and can be extremely beneficial in a variety of situations where you need to stabilize your shots providing a plenty of options to tweak and optimize its settings.