March 23, 2011

Fix Shaky Video with YouTube Stabilizer?

Any time you capture a video with the camera in motion, you will get a shaky video. If you are uploading this shaky video to YouTube, you may fix the shaky video with YouTube stabilizer.

YouTube video editor now includes a stabilizer feature that is intended to help smooth out shaky video resulting from a shaky camera. You upload your video to YouTube and invoke the ‘stabilizer’. YouTube provides real-time previews of the stabilized video; if you like the stabilized version, you can upload that version to YouTube.

The goal of stabilizing the video is admirable and it is a much-needed feature but it suffers from a fundamental flaw. If the source video itself is not stable, no amount of post-processing can make the video stable and keep it natural looking. And, to stabilize the source video, a camera stabilizer is needed while taking the video. This is the reason why professional filmmakers use cameras mounted on expensive dollies, which stabilizes the camera, and produces nice, clean video.

YouTube posted a before and after video with their stabilizer. See the results -

A video with lot of jitter, the camera was shaking a lot

The same video after applying the YouTube stabilizer
The ‘stabilized’ video not only looks unnatural, it has also altered the scene e.g. see the scene at time = 2 seconds

Before YouTube Stabilizer

After YouTube Stabilizer

The ‘stabilizer’ has completely changed the scene.

So, No! YouTube stabilizer will not help you fix your shaky video. But, credit to the YouTube team for trying.

For stable video, what you do need is a camera stabilizer, a steady-cam while taking the video. There are many solutions available in the market here is a DIY version.