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When I watched videos on GoPro's youtube profile, they seem to me almost perfectly stable. And when I attached my action cam to helmet and tried to record during skiing, the video was very shaky.

I am aware, that videos on their profile are advertising videos made by pros. So my question is to pros - can you tell if the videos were stabilized with some software? Do consumer products have such capabilities?

If the videos were not stabilized, what can be done, to achieve more stable videos, when recording from helmet or hand held (pole-mounted) camera?

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Seems as though GoPro should include built-in image stabilization! Many cameras (including my Sony Handyham HD) do. –  BrettFromLA Apr 1 at 18:27

4 Answers 4

I would like to add that any software that can track points can be used for stabilisation. Biggest problem with software stabilisation is that you loose part of your frame. Personally i just use my 3d trackers solution as stabilisation datasource because its by far the best solver i have.

I would recommend physical stabilisation. For consumers the best way to stabilize things is to add more weight. Something that is moderately rigid and hard to rotate is a good choice. Like a pole with weight on relatively far below your grip is good. The innertia of the object makes the shot more stable.

enter image description here image 1: Three types of planar noise. In three dimensions you have 2 more rotations.

To better understand what to stabilize one has to look at how different noise affects the camera, this is illustrated in Image 1. There are 2 kinds of noise noise due to rotational vibration and noise due to translational vibration.

The rotational vibration is much much worse than translational vibration because it grows the further you are from the camera. As a result you want to make the weight counter rotation as much as possible. It turns out that moment of inertia grows with the distance from pivot. So you need to put the weight as far as possible. Bust still not so far that pivoting the camera becomes impossible.

This is also why gyro stabilization works as it turns out that you can store inertia in rotation so at big speeds even small masses have high moment of inertia. The gyro stabilization does nearly nothing to the translational noise.

The translational vibration is also something that the software stabilization is much better at removing. The same mass that's stabilizes the rotation will however also stabilize the translational noise. Mainly because you need more force to get the camera moving eliminating the highest frequencies of noise.

The second thing to do is to ensure that your connection to a noise source is isolated. Heavy rubber pieces are good. You want the inertia to be able to filter the noise, too rigid connection makes it impossible.

Physical stabilization also makes the results of software stabilization easier and much better in quality. Even very little stabilization helps a lot.

other resources:

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This article is relevant to the physical stabilisation: petapixel.com/2014/02/23/tip-stabilize-gopro-videos-using-face –  Bart Arondson Apr 1 at 15:31
    
@AJHenderson arrived home where i can draw (hopefully nice) pictures and made some changes clarifying the subject. But yes heaviness has its drawbacks but the increased force needed is what does the stabilization. –  joojaa Apr 1 at 17:44
    
@AJHenderson Yes but when skiing the pole is a much better target because of this. Camera mounts on the head do benefit form this tough. Yes theres 2 things to ensure. 1. make sure the helmet fits as snug as possible, then in the helmet mount put the camera on a stick with a weight on the bottom. Its slightly problematic but it does work. The human head is stabilized. But a pro is actually much better at stabilizing their head than a hobbyist. Even a small amount of additional stabilization is of much value. –  joojaa Apr 1 at 17:52
    
@AJHenderson No dont put a gimbal its far too complicated tech, getting it right requires lot of fine tuning same goes with spring dampers. Rubber mounts allow for easy systems that do damp vibration and act as a simple high pass filter with the weight in the mass spring system. Remember you dont need to eliminate the noise just kill the most problematic part. Slow motion also helps by the way. If i were to go for a real damper i would get me some piezo engines n top of this. Whats good for a helicopter is good for you. –  joojaa Apr 1 at 18:01
    
@joojaa - oh, ok, I gotcha now, so you are just talking about a small mount to dampen shocks (since the weight and shaft will cause the system to move counter to the motion but be buffered by the rubber which will force it back to position slower). Got it. Ok. Thanks for explaining, that's what I was missing. The link to the pipe based system was misleading to me and got my mind going in the wrong direction even though it is the same basic principal at work. –  AJ Henderson Apr 1 at 18:16

Software that I know of:

Youtube can detect if the footage is shaky, though it's not always working so well and it applies to the whole video. My personal favorite is the Virtualdub route. Just remember to save it to a lossless format if you plan on editing it further.

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There is also Prodrenalin - PC based standalone tool for GoPro videos, includes stabilization and other features

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A super simple solution for physical stabilization is the GoPro Floaty Backdoor. It's a square piece of foam that goes on the back of the case. You naturally hold your head stable so just bite into the foam and hold it in your teeth. The best part is that it leaves both hands free.

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