More bellyaching...can we talk about stabilization?

Once again I'm tooling around and bumbling my way around this thing. I did some handheld stuff while walking around town the other night and I wanted to stabilize images.

I went to the trusty ol' YouTube and found a tutorial on stabilization. Once again, like in just about every editing tutorial, it was a fixed image --no real action going on. It was a sunset or something...maybe a few seconds long. A stunning shot and all, but pretty much useless to me as I move around with my camera a lot.

Example: panning over the sign of a local bar/restaurant

I want to remove some of the shake, but a tutorial using a shot that might as well have been taken using a tripod isn't helping. 

Is it even possible to do this in HitFilm? If so, does it require messing around with layers, and tracks, and composite shots for half an hour just to stabilize a 3 second clip?

The only other editing software I have experience with is iMovie and GoPro studio. And even iMovie has a "stabilize" option that analyzes the image and does an okay job. 

I'm frustrated and I need help.



  • Juda1
    Juda1 Posts: 298 Just Starting Out*

    There is no "auto stabilize" in Hitfilm. Anyway stabilizing in Hitfilm is easy. You need to track at one point (for movement) and another if you also want to eleminate rotation. It is covered in some tutorials on the hitfilm page.

  • From the turorial I watched it didn’t seem very easy at all. 

    How are you supposed to track two points if the camera is panning? Split the one shot up into multiple clips, setting up new tracking points for each one? 

    Another somewhat related question.

    when I was using that tracking box and trying to drag it over a point in the frame there was massive lag. Like I would pull it and it wouldn’t move, then 2 or 3 seconds later it would jump. 

    Many idea what may cause this? 

  • Juda1
    Juda1 Posts: 298 Just Starting Out*

    You can offset the tracking point by holding ALT while moving the tracker box. With that you are able to track something that goes of screen.

    This morning I did a stabilize for a 50 sec. camera move. Due to the nature of moving between rooms I did that in different parts, not in a whole. Also keep in mind that you got mocha inside hitfilm. You can get a track there, export the invert as composite shot and use that point data for the footage to stabilize. If you attach that to another point calls "Correction" you can later keyframe movement on it so the footage does not go off screen - e.g. a 180° pan would go of screen of course so you need a point to restore the x-movement.

    If you provide a link to the source footage I will give it a try.

  • BobDiMarzio
    BobDiMarzio Posts: 624 Just Starting Out

    I agree with everything Juda1 has said.     I have an inexpensive glide cam for my DSLR and a Karma grip for my gopro, and imagine my surprise when after these purchases I found out that these tools alone  do not guarantee steady shots.  After watching a ton of tutorials  I found out that technique  plays a large part.      I heard the term Ninja walk over and over again.  Lok from Digital rev was the camera man who filmed Kai and he just held the camera in his hand.     Brandon Li has several good tutorials on using Gimbals and Peter McKinnon  has done tutorials on getting smooth shots without these tools.   (see below)

    Finally the free version of Davinci resolve has a decent stabilizer however, if there is too much movement, the end result is similar to walking on the deck of a ship during heavy sea.  Kind of like a rolling motion.



  • Juda1,

    I shot these quickies this morning at the firehouse. First time using google drive so hopefully I did this right.

    And as far as that YouTube vid, these are the EXACT techniques I was trying the other night. I had just watched this episode earlier in the week. I'm a fan of McKinnon's videos (for the most part). 


  • That camera strap pulled tight onto the back of the neck was one of the better techniques that worked for me. 

    I just still get that little bit of shake sometimes that is just noticeable enough to piss me off. 

  • tddavis
    tddavis Posts: 5,219 Expert
    edited February 2018

    @Hitfilmer128619 I thought the first clip (aside for the very beginning & end shake) was a very usable pan shot. The 2nd and third had more motion and were more problematic, but I got one of those gimbal-type weighted rigs for cheap for shots like that and while it is a learning process to set up it seemed to do pretty well on motion like those.  I have a video up on Youtube showing fresh out of the box usage if you're interested.

    It doesn't show a thumbnail because it's unlisted for some odd reason, but the link should work.


  • BobDiMarzio
    BobDiMarzio Posts: 624 Just Starting Out


    I hope you don't mind, I ran your clips through the Resolve Stabilizer using the default settings and the first 2 would be usable, the third needs more technique.   The Ninja walk may diminish  the bobbing.

    The You tube video  is unlisted and I will delete after you had the opportunity to review.



  • tddavis
    tddavis Posts: 5,219 Expert

    @BobDiMarzio Those turned out really well, Bob.  I thought the third one was pretty stable as well.  I also thought my thumbnail didn't show because mine was unlisted but you proved that wrong.  No clue what that's about

  • Cool!

    Well I appreciate you running it through that software so I can get a good look at some smooth footage. 


    Now...this "resolve stabilizer"...

    Where and how?

  • Disregard. 

    DaVinci Resolve.

    If it isn't free, I just can't. I like this stuff, but this HitFilm pro was the last purchase for me. And I'm pretty sure I have just enough juice in this computer to run HitFilm...without mucking it up with a bunch of other editing programs.  

  • BobDiMarzio
    BobDiMarzio Posts: 624 Just Starting Out

    @Hitfilmer128619 Davinci Resolve is Free.  There is a paid version as well, however , unless you need it's de noiser or deinterlacer the Free version is perfect for your needs.

  • Free, you say?

    I just checked it out. So just hit download and done, eh?

    I see DaVinci Resolve 14.  I'm assuming thats the one. The first one I clicked on after searching "DaVinci Resolve free". 

  • BobDiMarzio
    BobDiMarzio Posts: 624 Just Starting Out



    (1) Hit Download,

    (2) Answer a few questions

    (3) Download and Install.

    (4) watch tutorial on Stabilizing in resolve


  • Juda1
    Juda1 Posts: 298 Just Starting Out*

    Here is what did in a short amount of time and also with Mercalli to compare.

    The second and third clips are difficult because of the parallax filming near wall and/or floor. The third clip shows that problem and limits of stabilization:

    When you consider the door in the back as stable you get wobbling and movement on the walls near the camera because of the parallax. When you set the walls in front stable you get movement of the door. 

    In the second clip you can see that at one point I switched attention from the ceiling to the entry door the movement gets slower. But since the door or something co-planar was not visible throughout the clip I tracked in two part. That is very much visible. However it can be compensated by using a parent point, but then I would have lost more of the picture. Now it is done with only 115% scale, the first one with 110%.

    I would say the third clip could be an interesting candidate for using a cam solve in mocha and projector planes for the walls. Unfortunately during the part where you filmed the Fotos/pictures there is no other plane visible to track. A cam solve needs at least two non co-planar tracks.

    The work in Hitfilm took me 10 minutes case you're interested in the working time.


  • Thanks man.

    it was cool of you to mess around with this a bit so I could get an idea of how this works.

    I installed DaVinci Resolve yesterday. So I will attempt to convert any shaky video there in the future. Mostly because (as of now) the process seems much simpler—a couple clicks and wait. 

  • I watched a quick tutorial on how to stabilize in DaVinci resolve. 

    When doing this you’ll get the best results when it zooms (keeping the ‘zoom’ box checked) correct?

    I did yet another test and dropped a slow motion clip into resolve for stabilization because there was STILL some shake. 

    When I unchecked the zoom box the video was just...all over the place. It was terrible. 

    With zoom it was alright, but of course it was really tight (zoomed in of course). 

  • BobDiMarzio
    BobDiMarzio Posts: 624 Just Starting Out

    The More shaky the video the more the software must zoom (crop)  in to remove the   black area ( that appears when the video is rotated to compensate for the unstableness)        I would recommend is practicing technique for shooting smooth video.  This is not a natural skill  Even with a glide cam or gimbal technique is king.  Also using a wide angle lens helps.   Since you noticed that software crops your video when stabilizing ,it would be prudent to shoot wider to allow for the crop and not lose important area.

  • The "slow mo" clip is something I shot in slow motion. Not bad, but it still has a ton of visible shake. The footage of me jumping is alright, but only because I had the camera on one of the barriers. 

    The other is when I took the slow motion clip and tried stabilizing it in Resolve...still pretty heinous. 

    I watched that McKinnon dude's video on stabilizing and used a combination of shooting in slow motion and stabilizing using the editing software. Still looks like crap. Meanwhile, I'm seeing all of the examples he used of his epic shots and thinking it's all BS and he probably shot all that footage with his Gucci gear. 


  • That stuff I said...about how the zoom looks better. Turns out I was mistaken. Once I exported the video it looked like complete garbage. 

    See above post

  • And I did shoot it with my 35mm lens and not the 16. So, like you said, that definitely plays a huge part (as far as the zooming issue).


  • BobDiMarzio
    BobDiMarzio Posts: 624 Just Starting Out
    edited March 2018


    The Zoom button allows the software to "crop out" areas that are no longer there because it was keeping the points of interest in the center.  There is no free lunch.   Even the mythical Adobe Warp stabilizer has serious problems with overly shaky footage.. AHeavy hand with WS causes a jello type mess.      The video you attached on the left looked ok although you did not check zoom.  So, the blackness is obviously there on the bottom.   

        One cannot expect silky smooth crane or tripod shots with out the before mentioned items.   Even an inexpensive tripod  or monopod is better then nothing.    For the lamp pole shot, you could lean the tripod with two legs on the ground and the lamp pole would stay in focus.  For your hallway shot you could have used a whell chir and have a buddy slowly push you. 

      Sometimes the traditional  stabilizing  software is not the best choice.  See recent Film Riot  Tutorial. 

     As for gucci gear.  I have a glide cam  knock off for my DSLR and a Karma grip for my GoPro and both required many many many  hours of practice before acceptable results were  achieved.


    The 16mm would have been a better choice.


  • Right on man. 

    I know there's no magic wand. Still mildly irritating though. 

    I actually have the Imorden S-60c stabilizer. I still have many many more hours of practice with THAT thing, that's for sure. 

    It takes me two freakin' hours just to balance it. And even then it's not perfect. If I need to change a battery or something on my camera, I'm done using the stabilizer for the day. What a pain! 


  • BobDiMarzio
    BobDiMarzio Posts: 624 Just Starting Out

    I forgot the Tutorial Link

  • BobDiMarzio
    BobDiMarzio Posts: 624 Just Starting Out


    My Stabilizer is almost the same as the S-60C .   After watching more Tutorials that I would like to remember, there are a few nuggets that make all the difference.

    1) keep it as short as possible.  the longer you make it, the more likely you will have the undesirable pendulum effect.  It will swing back and forth like dumbo's trunk.

    2) On the drop test, shoot for 2 sec. from horizontal to vertical.

    3)  The Handle is hollow.     I use an inexpensive light stand to hold it up while fine tuning. .   I just place the handle over the top of the stand.    

    4) I also use a bubble level that goes in my hot shoe.   

    After you know the amount of weight to use, set up should take at the most 10 mins.

    5) Practice every day with  the ninja walk because if you have a bouncy step, or a side to side gait, so will the camera.

  • The drop test is good, I think, as far as timing. And it seems short enough...although I still have plenty of room to shorten it. There have been a couple times when I Went to shorten it and it barely dropped at all. I would add another weight and it would be like starting the whole balancing act over again. 

    When you add the weights to yours do you ensure that they are even? Or do you put two on one side and one on the other? The weights should be symmetrical, yeah? 

  • Andersen01498
    Andersen01498 Posts: 1,195 Enthusiast

    I have mocha pro and the stabilization module is pretty fancy 


  • Triem23
    Triem23 Posts: 20,275 Power User
    edited March 2018

    I can't speak for your specific rig, but, in general you want the weights centered/symmetrical. Non-centered weight can induce a tilt. 

  • BobDiMarzio
    BobDiMarzio Posts: 624 Just Starting Out

    Yes Weights equal and placed furthest away from the center.



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