I am completely new to both video editing and DaVinci Resolve, so please bear with me.

I have some drone footage which looks directly downwards onto a flat surface. It has panning, rotation and zooming (up to a factor of 2.5) at the same time. However, because I wasn't able to control all three types of motion well enough at the same time, it's not as smooth as it should be. For example, the panning stops at one point in time rather suddenly, then resumes. It's not too bad, but I would like to make it perfect by editing it in DaVinci Resolve 14 (free version).

This was my original plan of action:

  • Stabilize the footage. I expect to get a rotating and ever shrinking rectangle, with black borders.
  • Use keyframe animation to re-create the appropriate rotation, panning and zooming in a smoother way. It's okay to crop a bit, since the source is 4K and I output 1080p.

Since I am literally a complete beginner with Resolve, I wasn't sure how to do it. This is what I tried:

  • I drew a power window to avoid the middle of the scene, which contains lots of chaotically moving objects. (See my other question.)

  • I went to Tracking → Window, and unchecked Tilt and 3D. I clicked track forward, and allowed the program to track using automatically selected points within the window.

  • I copied the tracking data and switched to Stabilize view. I selected "Classic Mode", as I wasn't able to figure out the new stabilizer. I pasted the tracking data.

  • I left Strength at 100 and Smooth at 0. I unchecked Zoom to allow black borders. I clicked the "Stabilize" button.

This was the only way I could get the system to apply the stabilization to the clip. It gave me an okay-ish result, but after stabilization there is a new and distracting jerkiness in the clip, and I do not know how to get rid of it. If I set "Smooth" to any value between 1-99 (instead of 0) and click Stabilize again, then it won't stabilize at all. Why is this? How can I smoothen out the stabilization? Does it have to do anything with the fact that there's zooming difference of 2.5 between the end and beginning of the clip?

The jerkiness probably comes from inaccuracies in tracking. The clip zooms into a flock of birds on a shallow lake. I can only use the somewhat blurry lake-bed for tracking because the birds are constantly moving, so I do not think the tracking itself can be improved. However, simply smoothening out the tracking data would clearly fix the problem, if only I know how to do that.

Other than the jerkiness problem, I can animate the pan/zoom/rotation and achieve the general effect I wanted. But I am still not sure that I am approaching this problem in the correct way. How would you do it?

This is 10 seconds from the clip (downscaled). It's ungraded, so low contrast. You can see that the panning motion stops at the 5 second mark. This is what I am trying o remedy.

  • Can you share a sample of the video? That might help people understand what the issue is and offer suggestions. – Michael Liebman Sep 13 '17 at 23:04
  • Thank you for the comment @Michael. I shared 10 seconds, downscaled to 1080p with Quicktime. – Coots Sep 14 '17 at 8:32
  • @MichaelLiebman I'm new here. Do you think there is anything I can do to get an answer to any of the three questions I asked? – Coots Sep 15 '17 at 18:52
  • It's a small but growing community, so not every aspect of every piece of software will get fast answers. Generally the questions that get the quickest answers are the most focused. I'm sorry I can't help with this one, I'm an engineer, not an editor. – Michael Liebman Sep 17 '17 at 23:21

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