Stabilize Shaky Footage | Premiere Pro Warp Stabilizer Tutorial

by | February 18, 2022

how to stabilize shaky footage

Do you need to stabilize shaky footage? Ideally, you want to use a tripod or a gimbal if you want your shots to be still or have a smooth movement, but sometimes we just have to use what we got.

Unless you have a lot of strength and control in your arms, there’s definitely going to be some kind of unwanted movement. This can be a stylistic choice to give a more realistic feel like, for example, in documentaries.

But if that is not what you’re looking for, then let’s see how to stabilize shaky footage in Premiere. ????

How to Stabilize Shaky Footage

Warp Stabilizer

Go to your ‘Effects’ tab and look for ‘Warp Stabilizer’. Drag and drop it onto your clip. Warp Stabilizer will analyze your shaky footage and stabilize it. Essentially, Warp Stabilizer watches the clip and automatically repositions, scales, crops, and smooths motion accordingly to relieve some of the shakiness.

This effect can take a long time analyzing depending on your computer capacity and the length of your clip.

Basic Settings

If the footage hasn’t been stabilized to your liking, you can play around with the parameters and personalize the effect to your own needs. Below are the settings and what they do to your clip:

  • Results
    • Smooth Motion – Aims to retain the original camera movement.
    • No Motion – Aims to remove all camera motion, even from the original clip (useful if you tried to be steady but weren’t able to stand perfectly still).
  • Smoothness – Aims to smooth out the footage. I don’t recommend going above 50% as it could damage the image and create some artifacts on the edges.
  • Method
    • Position – Will only modify the ‘Position’ parameter in Premiere’s ‘Video’ field.
    • Position, Scale, Rotation – Will modify the ‘Position’, ‘Scale’, and ‘Rotation’ parameters.
    • Perspective – The program will try to corner pin entire image to stabilize
    • Subspace Warp – Modify more parameters from the shot, working parts of the frame to stabilize.

Note: ‘Perspective’ and ‘Subspace Warp’ under ‘Method’ are intense forms of stabilization. They can distort the picture too much if it’s not overly shaky to begin with.

Let’s move to the next drop down menu here in ‘Framing’.

By default, it is set to ‘Stabilize, Crop, Auto-scale‘. This is pretty straightforward, and you probably want to keep this setting. When stabilizing the footage, Premiere is actually moving the image to compensate the original shakiness. If you select ‘Stabilize only‘, you will be able to see how much movement is actually being adjusted and how hard Premiere is working.

Obviously, we don’t want to see the black edges, so let’s just leave it with the one before.

Advanced Settings

If after modifying the previous settings, you’re still not happy with your result, ‘Advanced Settings’ is where you can fix your problems.

Check the box ‘Detailed Analysis‘ to find more elements to help when tracking the original footage. ‘Fast Analysis‘ is checked by default and helps with the time it takes to analyze the footage.

With ‘Rolling Shutter Ripple‘, you can reduce the ripples that appear on your footage after it has been stabilized. It is automatically set to ‘Automatic Reduction’, but you can select ‘Enhanced Reduction‘ if there are large ripples.

Note: You can only choose ‘Enhanced Reduction’ if you have ‘Perspective’ or ‘Subspace Warp’ as an option under ‘Method’.

Crop less <-> Smooth More‘ will help with how much cropping has been done while smoothing out the movement. If you lower the percentage, the footage will be smooth but more of the cropped image will be visible. In other words, you will see some of the black edges when a frame is empty.

Lastly, with ‘Hide Warning Banner’, you can choose to hide any warning labels that appear while analyzing footage. It might sound scary but the warning labels just warn you of extreme cropping more than anything. It’s not like your files will get corrupted!

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