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I have footage of me sitting in a boat filming a friend that is riding a wakeboard. The footage is very shaky and as the boat turns around 180° every now and then, the background is constantly changing.

I tried to set the motion tracking point at my friend's head but the point is just flying all over the place. How can I track the motion in this shot?

  • Get ready to count frames. – Sharky Feb 3 '15 at 14:14
  • So I basically have to reposition the tracking point frame by frame? – RandomWhale Feb 3 '15 at 14:17
  • if your footage is very shaky, i'm afraid that's the only option. Let's hope someone more experienced has an answer for this! – Sharky Feb 3 '15 at 14:24
  • Latest Blender release have new features for shaking footage tracking, but I'm afraid I can't compare it to after-effects since I've never used that. If you want you could give Blender a try and tell us. – YoMismo Feb 3 '15 at 15:58
  • @YoMismo I installed Blender but I don't understand anything when I open the program. It seems like it can't even open a .mov file... – RandomWhale Feb 3 '15 at 16:18
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If you have access to adobe premiere pro CS6+ or after effects CS5.5+.

Try using the warp stabilizer effect and see how well it handles it. It would automatically attempt to stabilize the footage (and rolling shutter). This is probably the easiest thing to try first before doing manual frame by frame tracking.

You can see a video by adobe giving a quick overview of it here:

http://tv.adobe.com/embed/902/12454/

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Sadly, your options are really still the same as any other footage. You run the stabilizers and they will do the best they can, but if it is way too unstable, there is nothing that can be done as you don't have details of a consistent shot. Some higher end commercial software will try to rebuild what is missing, but the results are not generally very good, particularly if you are on a moving vehicle.

Likely you are simply out of luck. You really needed a physical stabilization rig at time of shooting for something that extreme.

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