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When I create edited films on iMovie and then export them to Youtube, Youtube's stabilization enhancement greatly increases the quality of many of my shakier action shots. Unfortunately, this same process ruins all of my titles and text overlaid on the screen.

Currently I am exporting the problem (shaky) scenes as single iMovies to youtube, stabilizing them, then downloading them and adding them back into my iMovie project as clips. This saves my text on the screen from being rendered illegible.

I am aware of iMovie's stabilization and have tried it, but haven't gotten even close to the enhancement in watchability of my shaky shots that Youtube's stabilization algorithm/method has given me.

I'm looking for some software that can give me the serious quality improvement that Youtube's can do, without having to use cloud services as a hack like I am now.

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4 Answers

A coworker has just turned me on to using Warp Stabilizer. It's a built-in effect in Adobe Premiere CS6. Before using this tool, I also used After Effects to smooth and stabilize motion.

The difference is outstanding. Warp Stabilizer has worked faster, within my workflow, and more reliable than After Effects stabilization has. This has been huge for me. Here's a quick guide that outlines the effect: http://www.premiumbeat.com/blog/premiere-pro-warp-stabilizer/

Another solution is Lock and Load. I've never used it, but I've heard it gets the job done. Might be worth looking into if you do not already own the Adobe Creative Suite. http://www.coremelt.com/products/lock-and-load-x.html

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It is worth pointing out that the same Warp Stabilizer is also available in After Effects as well. It requires less configuration than AE's but AE's standard option or the included copy of Mocha can both do a better job if you have the time to use them right. That said, I generally use Warp Stabilizer for most stuff because it is good enough for being far simpler and faster. –  AJ Henderson Jan 9 at 15:21
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Adobe After Effects includes stabilization that is of similar or superior quality to Youtube's but it is also not a cheap software package. I don't know of any particularly cheap software stabilization options that do a high end job.

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Is it on only the latest version? –  boulder_ruby Jul 29 '13 at 21:07
@boulder_ruby - no, it's been there for quite some time, though it generally improves with each newer version. –  AJ Henderson Jul 29 '13 at 22:36
Creative Cloud makes this fairly affordable actually. Not free but if you're doing enough video work on YouTube to be asking about it - it may be in your budget. –  Ryan Jan 9 at 14:59
@Ryan - I'd challenge that Creative Cloud makes it unaffordable for everyone. The long term cost is substantially higher (multiple times higher, even without going in to the concerns of having to pay forever to access your projects). The short term cost is also much higher if you don't do the 1 year package. $240 a year for one package isn't what I'd call cheap. –  AJ Henderson Jan 9 at 15:20
@AJHenderson ya I figured I'd get some heat and almost added "Runs and hides" to the end of my comment. CC has its issues on the pay structure without a doubt but for something like this it is fairly cheap - he could do a single piece license only for AE making it very cheap. You also dont have to pay forever to access only to edit. Could also counter argue because Adobe does do updates fairly regularly. CS4 2008, CS5 2010, CS5.5 2010, CS6 2011. If they're going to put in the money and effort to keep up with new tech/dev tools then CC is actually the way to go –  Ryan Jan 9 at 15:36
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MotionBend, http://www.motionbend.com, might be what you are looking for, http://www.fcp.co/final-cut-pro/news/1119-motionbend-takes-video-stabilisation-to-the-next-level-and-adds-fcpx-xml-export. Do you have any examples of videos you are trying to stabilize ?

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If iMovie is not suitable for you, i have another 4 free video editing software for your Mac here:

- First, Avidemux

Avidemux is another great free video editor designed for simple cutting, filtering and encoding tasks. It is available for Mac OS X, Microsoft Windows, Linux and BSD under the GNU GPL license and supports a variety of video, image and audio formats, including AVI, DVD compatible MPEG files, MP4, MOV, ASF, JPG, AAC, AC3, etc. High compatibility with many video formats is the highlight of this free video editing software for Mac.

- Second, Blender

Blender is a free 3D graphics application and considered as one of the best free video editor for Mac. It can be used for modeling, rigging, texturing, UV unwrapping, skinning, animating, rendering, water and smoke simulations, particle and other simulations, non-linear editing, compositing, and creating interactive 3D applications, including animated film, video games, or other visual effects. Blender has lots of advanced features like powerful character animation tools, modifier-based modeling tools, a node-based material and compositing system, Python for embedded scripting and so on. Like Avidemux, Blender is available for Microsoft Windows, Mac OS X, GNU/Linux, FreeBSD and OpenBSD.

- Third, ZS4 Video Editor

ZS4 Video Editor is a free video editor for Mac which provides media experts with a facility to combine a variety of media types into one (or more) output file(s). Besides Mac, it is also available for Windows and Linux. ZS4 Video Editor comes with over 150 built-in video effects which can help you bring your videos to the next level instantly.

- Fourth, HyperEngine-AV

HyperEngin-AV is a free video editing software for Mac used to capture, edit, organize process, and export video, audio, and text to create DVD quality movies and slide shows. It comes with twelve studio-quality effects from Arboretum's Hyperprism suite of audio processors. Besides, it offers text features to display credits, section titles, or karaoke lyrics with fully editable font, size, type, color, style, alignment, and scroll direction. Definitely, HyperEngin-AV is really a good free video editor for Mac users.

You can check my detail articles about top 5 free video editing software for mac users here: http://www.wondershare.com/video-editor/free-video-editing-software-mac.html (Full disclosure, I work for the company that made the top 5 list.)

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