In a PM, Arbex sent me some tips on how to blur out a portion of your video -- someone's face for example.
There is software that makes it MUCH easier by doing all of that for you. It is called “motion tracking” and is a feature available on some free and commercial video editing software. Basically you just draw a box around the object you want to blur out. After that the software can automatically move the blur to follow the object. I’ve only done it this way a couple of times on some very dark video which caused the software to have a problem following things. But even then it was far easier than doing it manually. This 2 minute youtube vid shows and example using commercial (meaning cost money) software.https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MbdMTdrYT5k
A Google search for something like: “free video editing software with motion tracking” Should turn up some free programs.
This program is one that works on my Windows 7 machine.https://www.blender.org/
One of the problems of videotaping when moving is that the camera moves as well. I've tried carrying various types of cameras as it allows one to videotape much better subjects than just sitting their motionless hoping something exciting happens.
The problem is this - no matter how smooth you think you're holding the camera, upon playback, it looks like you're riding in an off-road vehicle bouncing about. The subject is jumping back and forth on the screen making the footage virtually worthless outside of screen captures. It's why I've posted far more screen captures than footage in my clothing-optional beach posts.
Is there a motion tracking video editor wherein one can focus upon a stationary point in the video then the video editor compensates by moving the frames to coincide with that point? ergo, you set the point to, say, a small bush way off in the distance that is motionless, then, the video editor repositions each video frame to keep that same point in the same spot? Doing so would thus eliminate the motion issues wherein the landscape/background would remain motionless.
I don't know if it is out there, but if so, would sure like to find it. It would allow me to use a much higher quality camera than the go-pro types, which are fine for up close video, but such if the subjects are more than about 10 feet away.
I have the same problem. I’ve always had shaky hand when holding a camera, add to that shivering from the cold morning weather at the Bay to Breakers, and some of the video I shot was just unwatchable. Fortunately there are solutions to that, and I was able to save shots that I thought were useless.
I’m trying to teach myself more about video editing, and have been investigating different software when times allows. Some software has a pretty steep learning curve and is very complicated, some are simple. While I haven’t progressed far enough to recommend much in the line of specific software or provide tutorials, I can give a little help. The feature you are looking for is called “Stabilization.” There are at least two methods of doing this with software. But first, check your camera settings. Some cameras have stabilization built in, where the camera tries to reduce any shaking while you are shooting the video.
If you’ve already shot the video, or it is still shaky even with the camera’s built in stabilization, then there are software programs that can help. This 4 minute YouTube video give a quick explanation of how the various methods work. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BgAdeuxkUyY
The first method is point stabilization. It is similar to motion tracking, where you select a point or a small area of the video and tell the software to follow the movement. This works well if you are standing still and pointing the camera in one direction. But if you are moving around or panning the camera across the crowd it will cause problems. You would want to make sure the area you select is part of the background, for example a building and not a person. If you were to select the person and they walked away, the software would think the camera is moving and try to keep the person steady.
The other method analyzes every (or most) of the pixels in the entire image and tries to figure out how they are moving in relation to each other. This works well of you are moving the camera. For example I shot some very shaky video while shivering in the starting coral of the B2B, where I was panning the camera from right to left to get a 180 degree view. In this case there would not be any good points to track using the first method because they would eventually move out of frame as I turned the camera.
Both of these methods have a few down sides. No matter which one you choose, the software stabilizes by moving the entire video up, down, left, right, or rotates it, in order to keep things steady. This means that part of the video will move out of frame and leave black “bars” where there is no video. To remove the black areas, the software will zoom in (or enlarge the video) to make sure it fills the entire frame, and that will reduce the quality a little bit. The shakier the video is, the more the software will have to move and zoom it, so the amount of quality you lose depends on how badly it shakes. Also, some of the methods and introduce artifacts such as slanting or a slight ripple effect. However, the time I have stabilized my video, the artifacts and loss of quality were far better than that shaking was, so it did improve the video dramatically.
Probably the easiest way to stabilize your video is to use YouTube itself. I haven’t actually tried it, but when you upload a video to YouTube, it can recognize that the video is shaky and will popup and option asking you if you want to stabilize it. If you don’t want the video to be seen, you can upload it as a private video, then after it has been stabilized and you have downloaded it, delete it from YouTube. The Down side is, I don’t know what other changes YouTube might make in terms of quality, frame rate etc. I don’t know what method it uses, but a little Google searching found a video demonstrating how it works. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TcwE9g1-Fr8
The free Video Blender program, mention in the above quote above, seems to use the point, or motion tracking method of stabilization. I haven’t actually used this program myself. So far all I have done is install it and poke around a little. It seems like a very complex program, and the video tutorial I found demonstrating its stabilization seems very complicated. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DpIXqAepfxY
So far, I have only used one program to stabilize my videos. I likes the results, and the software is easy to operate, but difficult to set up the first time. The program is called VirtualDub and it is free. But setting it up was tricky and probably not for the timid. You need to download and install a free “filter” called Deshaker 3.0. Also the program is really made to work only with AVI files. So if you are using MOV as most cameras seem too, you also need to install extra Codecs to handle them. But once you get it set up, you simply open your video, select the shaker filter, run it through an analysis pass, and then render pass. It uses the second method, which analyzes the entire video, so there is no need to select any points to track, and it works well when the camera is in motion. I have uploaded a short side by side example of a shaky video I converted using this program. The left side is the unedited, shaky video I shot, and the right side is after I used VirtualDub with the Deshaker filter. https://youtu.be/0wOT0_r7OBs
Lastly, one handy free program I use is called MediaInfo. You can download it here: https://mediaarea.net/en/MediaInfo
This program installs in Windows Context Popup menu. Simply select your video, right-click and select MediaInfo from the menu. A window will appear giving you all kinds of information about the video file. Size, frame rate, encoder, and much more. This information can be very handy when selecting rendering options for whatever software you are using to edit your videos.
My best advice would be to either use Youtube, the simplest option, or to search Google for software that offers stabilization. Hope this helps.