A tripod is often … very often … a good thing when shooting video. I don’t have one to complement the HV20 and it is on the get list. A steady camera is a happy camera and you won’t make your audience sea-sick as the camera bobs and weaves. But sometimes you just can’t shoot with one. What do you do when a shot that you need for your edit is too shaky? You can always try to stabilize the shot with software like Magic Bullet Steady. Steady is available as a stand-alone purchase or as part of the Magic Bullet Suite 2008. The important thing to remember with any software designed to stabilize a shot is that it isn’t always a life-saver and can’t save every shot. But on some it can work wonders.
The best way to see what it can do is look at it in action. First is a shot that I was trying to hold as still as possible with my fake Fig Rig. It’s not too bad but could use some smoothing out. It’s a 5 second piece of a 9.5 second total shot at 1440×1080 ProRes resolution (it was converted from HDV). Magic Bullet Steady took 5 seconds to analyze the shot and about 10.5 seconds to render. Apple’s built-in Smoothcam took 1 minute 5 seconds to analyize the shot and 14 seconds to render. This was on a Mac Pro Quad-core 3 ghz. Here is the result, with the MB Steady option toggled through its 3 different motion parameters:
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