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I have recorded videos driving my car. I have setup a Nikon 3200 camera with the 18-55mm kit lens on a tripod in the rear hatch of my car. The tripod sits flat and level in the rear hatch. The tripod is a relatively cheap Optex TP160 with a basic pan head. I have uploaded a short example clip of one of my videos as an unlisted video on youtube.

My issue is that I have small shakes/tremors in the video. I drive a cheap economy car, you feel all the little bumps in the road as you drive. It seems like every time I go over the slightest crack in the road it is vibrating the tripod and causing the video to shake.

I have placed my tripod like this, both with and withour rubber floot mats underneath:Tripod in rear hatch of car

I have tried basic software methods to stabilize the video, like ffmpeg's "vidstabdetect / vidstabtransform" filter, as well as the "deshake" and "deshake_cl" algorithms. Vidstabtransform did the best job and lessened the biggest shakes in the video, but small shakes were unaffected, especially in the peripherals like the top and sides of my windshield.

Are there any relatively cheap methods to stabilize my videos? I would consider "cheap" to be a solution less than ~$250 Canadian (~190 USD / ~180 Euro).

Here are some ideas I've seen on the internet:

  • "Better" software solutions, like working in after effects, davinci resolve or similar. I don't know if any software packages would beat the performance of ffmpeg's filters.
  • Anti-vibration tripod pads: amazon example. Reviews are mixed, could these little pieces of rubber really dampen the vibrations inside a car?
  • A tripod fluid/video head. It seems like these tripod heads are better for smooth pans and tilts, I don't know if this affects stability.
  • A tripod gimbal head. I haven't seen someone using these the same way I want to, maybe its an option.
  • A dash cam. This doesn't allow changeable lenses or the in-car positioning I would like.
  • A motorized gimbal / steadycam / etc. These solutions are above my budget and would need another operator. I'm hoping for a solution I can setup in my car alone without another person.
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  • Can't really provide an answer as this isn't something I've ever done myself. I'd try DaVinci first - it's good & it's free, & has a stabilisation/anti-shake mode. Rubber feet are for long lens stabilisation on a non-moving surface, not in-car. Gimbals are the way to go, but I wouldn't know what to recommend at your price point, or car-specific. Ronin are what I see on set most often, but even the 'cheap' Ronin hand-helds are £400 or so. The guys I work with use the top-end Ronin 2, which is about £6,500 [& seems to be replacing the steadicam these days, as you can hold or crane-mount it.]
    – Tetsujin
    Jul 4, 2022 at 7:07

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Try a camera/lens with optical image stabilization. Some newer phones have this. Also I would suggest trying a lower cost DJI gimbal like the Osmo Mobile attached to the phone. These two combined with some image stabilisation software such as mentioned in the other comment would go a long way.

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  • +1 combine as many methods of stabilization as you can. The trick is isolating the camera vibration from the car. I’d imagine spring dampening+gimbal+ois+software stabilization would be the ultimate. Also, more massive cameras have higher rotational inertia, so the bigger and heavier the whole setup, the more stable, but also more expensive. Jul 5, 2022 at 0:08
  • I don't know what equipment they use, but if you watch this season of Top Gear & compare to earlier seasons you can see they now employ not just anti-shake, but self-levelling gimbals. You can see it most clearly in the heavy cornering. The only car-mounted gear I ever get close to is usually on 'multi-million-dollar' Hollywood stuff, so I never see how 'the rest of us' do this. [I am not on camera crew either, so this is all second hand knowledge.]
    – Tetsujin
    Jul 5, 2022 at 8:08

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