iMovie 09 video stabilization comparison

Just started playing with video in iMovie ’09 at lunch today and thought it might fun to see how it deals with hand held video.

Here’s the stabilized version of the fisheye video I shot with my D90 at WordCamp Whistler:

and here’s the original:

The color differences are just my output settings in iMovie and then uploaded to Flickr (and compressed down to flash)….I just wanted to focus on the movement, rather than color matching/correction.

It does seem to stabilize the shaky-cam-ness of the original but at a cost…it seems to me that the video looks like I had it mounted on a tripod that was slightly off kilter…as opposed to straight on. As well, just like the straighten photo option in iPhoto/Aperture, it’s done a slight zoom in to properly rotate the video…which means that the wide fisheye effect is diminished a little (a good thing?).

I’ll continue to play around with this and see how it works with other things like video shot from a moving car.


  1. That works surprisingly well, although the end effect is a little disconcerting for some reason. It probably would be much less so in a hand-held single facing shot, like an interview. How long did it take to process?

    • John says:

      The clip is about 30 seconds long and it took about 15 minutes to ‘analyze for stabilization’. Then it was just a check box to stablize it in the project time line. It’s certainly an interesting method to fix up shaky video….and agree with you that it will most likely work better with different compositions than what I used it on.

      Just means more experimentation which is fun!

    • John says:

      I should mention the video stuff was done on my MacBook Air….obviously a more powerful machine would be faster….another reason why I can’t wait for Apple to update their iMacs so I can get a desktop Mac again for video.

  2. Tod Maffin says:

    As insanely jealous as I am about that camera (bastard), I really can’t tell much difference between the two.

    My iLife is apparently in my mailbox but I’ve been on the road for a week.

    I’m totally looking forward to playing with the face-recog in iPhoto.

  3. VancityAllie says:

    I’m still trying to figure out how to make my D90 stabilize better. It seems like the only option is a tripod which is a real shame.

    Looks like your program did a nice job though! Despite the loss of colour I think the video looks much much better!

  4. Bill says:

    I tried stabilization on a New MacPro quad core. It was not any faster than on an iMac. I believe it relies on the speed of the graphics card not the processor speed. The initial transfer was much faster on the MacPro. Seven seconds compared to 1 minute 47 seconds for a 4:20 clip. The slower speed was a brand new MacBook Pro 17

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