Blog Post by Roy de RuiterStabilize Drone Footage with After Effects

Stabilize Motion Effect

It’s Roy from Ungraded and today I want to show you a editing trick in After Effects we use a lot on our drone footage to get your drone footage going from this to this. So we use this trick a lot on the footage that comes out of the Inspire 2, when we’ve been shooting on the 45mm lens, because sometimes the footage comes out not as stable as we would like. But this effect takes care of that. So what you actually do with this effect is that you can lock a certain point into your frame.

Stabilizing in After Effects

In this example the whole shot is moving and we would actually want the background to move, not the crane. So we’re going to look for a part on the crane to lock into the frame. So here’s what you do on the right you go down and you select tracker and then when you’ve got tracker, you click on stabilized motion and these two boxes will appear, just going to zoom in here. The inner box is saying: track this point and the outer box is saying: search within this area. So we’re going to go down and then I think we’re going to track this logo here because it’s got a lot of contrast on the black and white. Going to search within this area. Make this is a little bit bigger and now we’re just going to track that by pressing play, analyze forward. So now the tracker is done. We’re going to click on, apply and now we’re going to see how the job is done. Okay. So you’re seeing the rest of the footage is moving and dancing around. We’ve still got these black bars on the sides, were just going to work on those. So we’re going to go to transform, go down and in the scale. We’re working with 4K footage in 1080 sequence. So we’ve got a lot of room here, going to increase this a little and see it’s doing now. So that’s good. We’re just going to go back to premier. Okay, so that’s looking a lot smoother than it was. So let’s do another example. You can see the hotel over here. The drone is moving to the left and we’re panning to the right. Right click, replaced with After Effects composition at the tracker. Click on stabilized motion. So now we’re going to look for a place with a lot of contrast. So let’s go for the shadows in the sun over here. Take a little bit of logo in there, click on play and analyze forward and then click on, apply. That already looks a lot better. We just have to increase the scale again. Let’s say 60, well, maybe 55. Check if we don’t see any black borders. So this is the first can see its shifting a little bit from left to right, and if we go to the second, the stabilized one can see that the building is just staying locked into place. That’s what you want, looks more stable. The focus is going more to the hotel than the environment. So we mostly use this effect for stabilization, but there’s a lot more that you can do with it.

Mirror effect

So what also works well with the stabilized motion effects from After Effects is the mirror effect in premier. In this case we stabilized the motion of one of the four tops of the middle of the church on the left side, and if we apply the mirror effect here, then press play. Kind of looks like an inception kind of shot. You can just do one mirror effect and do the inception shot, but you can also go nuts with this. For example, this is a shot of Amsterdam Central Station and I applied like seven different mirror effects on there. So you get this really trippy effect. So it’s a really useful tool for drone footage. If you have any questions, let us know. I want to thank you guys for watching and see next time.

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