Tag Archives: Video editing

3D Video image stabilization

When shooting 3D video using two cameras, we turn off all in camera stabilization features. This makes hand held video look shaky, unfortunately, as all the little hand movements remain in the original clips. Consequently, we have to shoot most 3D on a tripod.

I just did a test, though, using my Canon Vixia HF M301 video cameras. I use two of them to shoot stereoscopic 3D. The HF M301 has three stabilization options: off, standard and dynamic. For my tests, I shot a scene using standard stabilization and another scene using dynamic. Then I paired the left and right tracks in Magix Movie Edit, output to a WMV 3D anaglyph file and watched the test video.

For general hand held shots without rapid camera movements, the in camera stabilization tracked well between both cameras. However, rapid camera movements caused different stabilization effects in each camera and the 3D goes bonkers as one goes left and the other goes right!

Bottom line: for simple handheld shots without a lot of movement, the in camera stabilization works okay and eliminates the handheld jerkiness.

Ideally, it would be nice if we could stabilize the 3D images after editing but there is not an easy way to do that.

Most video editing software today has image stabilization capabilities. Image stabilization analyzes the video for jerky movements and then corrects by shifting the video around to minimize the jerky movements. Since this tends to leave black bars at the top, bottom or sides, the video is also enlarged slightly to fill in the black bars left by shifting the video.

When it comes to 3D video, there does not seem to be a great solution. Sony Movie Edit Platinum 11 disables the stabilization feature on paired 3D clips. Magix Movie Edit Pro MX Plus can stabilize individual clips before pairing – but there is not a good way to match the stabilization between the left and right tracks. You can stabilize one, copy the effects track and paste it to the 2nd track, but this has not produced the expected result of matching stabilization.

I suppose we could created our 3D track, output to a video file, import that file as a single clip that may as well be 2D as far as the editor is concerned, and then apply stabilization. Not sure I want to go through two more transcodes though!

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Magix Movie Edit 3D video encoding tip

I am using Magix Movie Edit Pro MX Plus for 3D video editing. When I am ready to encode my videos, I have been exporting them as MPEG4 video files. However, when I output red/cyan anaglyph for my own viewing (I do not have a 3D monitor), I have been disappointed in the compression quality.

This became readily apparent today on some test shots that included grass, bushes, tree leaves and other high detail objects that compressed very poorly.

A better solution is to just output using Windows Media exportt (File | Export movie | Windows Media export) and on the Advanced (Video) settings tab, make sure you have Windows Media Video 9, Variable bit rate-quality and and set the Bit-rate-quality setting to a high value (I’m using 90) for the video options.

This is producing a much cleaner video image with fewer compression artifacts. The regular MPEG4 video encoder seems to work well on normal 2D video but really chokes on anaglyph producing video with a great deal of compression artifacts.

I also found that exporting using the Quicktime option and the default Sorensen 3 codec worked well too, better than MPEG4 on the anaglyph format.

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Video editing on the iPad #videography #ipad

Image representing iPad as depicted in CrunchBase
Image via CrunchBase

I am apparently the last person on earth who does not yet have an iPad. Anyway, those that have them are using them for video editing, as described here: Quick-edit Videography with iMovie for iPad « Moving at the Speed of Creativity.

Me, I still use my MacBook for portable work. Why? I like having over 100 Gigabytes of disk storage available, plus an external disk drive as well. I store stills and video on board while traveling.

For event videography, I sometimes record direct to disk, routing the Canon XH A1’s firewire output direct to the Macbook. This copies the HDV equivalent files to the disk, for captureless editing. At 12 to 13 GB per hours, this uses up considerable disk space rather quickly!

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Digital still photography

Until now, most of my still photography was mostly family and vacation snapshots with only a bit being serious still photography. Most of my photography has been at 30 frames per second.

As a very happy owner of a Panasonic Lumix GH-2 – which I bought for video work, of course – I am now getting interested in still photography once again. I say “once again” since I had (and still have) a darkroom that has not been used much in recent years. In other words, I used to do lots of still photography.

This week I joined the 21st century and begin working with RAW images. Having not been shooting and editing RAW images until now makes me feel like, well, a dork.

I downloaded the trial versions of Adobe Lightroom and Apple’s Aperture. I like both of them and especially like the electronic download price for Aperture ($80 at the Mac App store).

Unfortunately, after I imported an iPhoto library the program began crashing and bogged down to unbelievably slow, even after applying a number of tricks that do improve the speed. But the crashes, and Apple’s creating confusion about its professional products with the release of FCP X have some thinking that Apple may not continue on with Aperture. Since the release of version 3 – which was buggy and suffered from slow performance – their sales plummeted. Most of those problems have been fixed in 3.1 and it seems the new $80 price point might be an attempt to win back market share – or at least test if there is a market for Apple at that price. Who knows?

Regarding Final Cut Pro X – its billed as a successor, and therefore, presumably upgrade, to Final Cut Pro 7. But they left out sufficient features that many think it is a downgrade and are not happy with FCPX. Thousands of professionals have signed a petition to Apple asking them to re-instate FCP 7. They have good reasons to complain. FCP X drops features from FCP and is not compatible with FCP 7. That means, say, if your team is adding new editing workstations to work on existing projects, your team is stuck – FCP 7 has been discontinued and FCP X cannot edit your current FCP 7 projects. Quite a mess.

In fact, FCP X is an upgrade to Final Cut Express. Apple discontinued Final Cut Express upon introducing FCP X. They also added in features like importing from iMovie, something that professional editors have about zero likelihood of using. The key idea that seems missed so far is that FCP X is a upgrade to FCE. And while FCE was officially discontinued, it kind of looks like FCP was itself discontinued. It’s Final Cut Express – may be that is where the “X” comes from, “Express”?

Is Apple abandoning the professional market? That market always was small – but was influential in terms of respected individuals and teams buying Apple and encouraging others to do so. The bigger market is the pro-sumer market, not professionals. With the success of iPhone, iPod, and iPad, does Apple need those influencers still? Probably not.

Which gets us back to Aperture. Many now think Aperture may go the same way as FCP – which means, end of life.  It was a professional product – perhaps with the price drop, Apple is trying to re-position it as a pro-sumer product and out of the crosshairs of Adobe’s better products.

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