Smoothing your footage out, and who can help you with it

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Whether you’re filming on the ground or in the air, capturing smooth video can be a challenge even when using the best equipment.  Sometimes you only get one opportunity to get the shot so it’s nice to know that there is some help out there if what you captured needs a little adjusting.

Since 1990, proDAD has been delivering world-class digital video effects and image enhancement technologies to consumers, enthusiasts, and the professional market with its programs. Currently there are 4 stand alone programs available. ProDrenalin, RESPEEDR, Mercalli and DEFISHR.
Recently I had the opportunity to test out 2 of these programs and I was amazed at how well they performed.
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Mercalli is a very powerful and simple tool for smoothing out those unwanted shakes that often come when using a camera/gimbal setup. What sets this program apart from other stabilization options in editing applications is its ability to clean up CMOS jello wobble and vibrations which are commonplace in drone related footage.
The entire process is very simple and easy so that even if you’re only looking for a little adjustment, you can get it working quickly and move on with the rest of your editing.
UntitledWhen the main screen loads, it will prompt you to add your video clip. This clip can be uploaded in a variety of formats mov | mpg | mpeg | mp4 | mts | m2t | m2ts | m2v | avi | wmv | mxf | vob | vcd | 3pg | Canopus DV | Canopus HD. Simply pick out the clip you wish to work on and drag it into the main screen.
Once loaded it will show the beginning of the clip in the main screen and you will also notice several adjustment items on the top and to the right. The top bar has several buttons where you can select and change things such as what camera you used and Rolling Shutter Compensation. On the right side of the screen are some of other controls, settings and adjustments functions.
Now depending on how fast your computer processor is, render times can be long or short. It’s also good to keep in mind to only process the portion of the clip that you want to use. If you load a 5 minute clip but are only planning on using 1 particular minute of that clip Mercalli V4 has the option of setting an in an out point on the timeline to isolate only the portion of the clip you want to process.  A clip can be duplicated multiple times with new in and out points if there is more than one section you want to process.  Those sections can then be exported as a batch.  This can reduce the amount of time needed for the intense processing.
 

Once you have made your adjustments and selected the settings you like, you can then let Mercalli go to work. The program will show you what’s happening in a smaller pop-up window as it processes your clip. Once complete you can then view the video in a variety of ways. Either full screen or by running a side by side comparison. The option to see the before and after simultaneously as it is playing is a huge advantage for the you, the user. It allows you to see the difference right away without having to switch back and forth.

From there you can make further adjustment to better your footage and get it the way you want it to look.  Mercalli V4 SAL+ has almost unlimited options to tweak the stabilization and can seem overwhelming.  The ProDADUSA YouTube channel has a number of advanced tutorials to help you learn how to use the program to it’s fullest potential

The second program I tested was ProDrenalin.
ProD1ProDRENALIN works much the same way as Mercalli V4 SAL+ in that the overall layout is much the same. The program offers a few more options like fisheye distortion removal, stabilization and color correction.  However ProDRENALIN is more of a consumer level utility so there is limited ability to adjust things like stabilization parameters the way you can in Mercalli V4 SAL+ which is a professional level application.  It’s a simple drag and drop, click a few times and process kind of workflow. 
Again, like Mercalli, very simple and well laid out. Import and setting adjustments are done virtually the same way.
 

The abilities of these two programs is amazing and having only just begun tapping into their power is exciting to say the least. I would like to add that these are not “be all/end all” programs but rather a good tool to add to your workflow as you process your clips and images. Along the same line, these are not a substitute for poor camera equipment. You should always strive for the best setup possible prior to filming. Then use Mercalli or ProDRENALIN to tweek and improve any areas of the video that are in need.

As any aerial videographer can attest to, one minute you’re operating in calm air and then out of nowhere a gust will come along and disrupt your shot. That’s where I see these programs coming into play, to help smooth out those unexpected occurrences.
To learn more about these programs and as well as the rest of their program suite visit: https://prodrenalin.com/ and stop by their YouTube channel for samples and instructional videos https://www.youtube.com/user/proDADUSA

Todd Harper

Todd Harper is an outdoor enthusiast and adventure seeker. His ability to shoot video from the ground or air along with this photography skills are what drives him to bring out the best in himself and his work no matter where he is.

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