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  1. Member
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    I am now scanning 16mm film prints with the Retroscan Universal 2K, and I have some questions about the post-scanning software video stabilization. You can physically zoom in while scanning to get higher resolution, but the perforations are almost cropped in that way and it seems to get harder to stabilize the footage afterward. You can include the entire film image to make stabilization easier, but you lose the resolution of the actual image.

    How much should I zoom in and crop the footage? What information do you need at least for the software stabilization? Also, I would appreciate if you introduce me good tools for stabilizing film footage. If there is a good way to do it with After Effects, that would be fine, too. Thank you in advance!
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  2. Video Restorer lordsmurf's Avatar
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    Avisynth and Mercalli are my choices for stabilization.
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  3. Pretty much every NLE has stabilization that will work for film bounce. They will work on picture content, not by looking for the perforations.
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  4. If you use AVISynth, you'll need a stabilization plugin. Depan works.

    You can see some of the AVISynth film restoration scripts which include Depan stabilization by going to this thread, started by "VideoFred:"

    The power of Avisynth: restoring old 8mm films

    It is a massively long thread (fifty-one pages), nine pages of which are my posts. I posted various scripts, but here is one of my latest versions:

    John Meyer Film Restoration Script

    The part which does the stabilization is just two lines long:

    Code:
    mdata=DePanEstimate(stab_reference,trust=1.0,dxmax=maxstabH,dymax=maxstabV)
    stab=DePanStabilize(cropped_source,data=mdata,cutoff=0.5,dxmax=maxstabH,dymax=maxstabV,method=1,mirror=15)
    Another popular (free) stabilizer is Deshaker. You can run Deshaker from within VirtulDub or within AVISynth. It is a lot easier to deal with inside of VirtualDub. Years ago I wrote a ten-page tutorial for Deshaker, but many of the hosting sites have dropped it. If you search on my name and "Deshaker," you might still find it.

    I don't use AfterEffects, but you can find all sorts of stabilization tutoriala simply by doing a Google search. It looks like you need to use Warp Stabilizer VFX, whatever that is.

    If you want to pursue Lordsmurf's other excellent suggestion, Mercalli, download and run one of their trial versions.

    IMHO, Mercalli is the stabilizer to beat. It is truly a remarkable product.

    BTW, when you stabilize, you end up with funky borders which is why you need to zoom in. However, all three of the stabilizers I mention have the ability to fill in the borders by synthesizing video from adjacent frames and by duplicating material within the current frame. This fill in sometimes works perfectly, but other times can leave strange stuff around the edges.

    You will clearly need to pay quite a bit of attention to borders since you have sprocket holes and the sound strip immediate adjacent to the frame.
    Last edited by johnmeyer; 25th Jun 2019 at 21:44. Reason: clarity
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  5. There's a simplified stabilization function called Stab() for AviSynth. It's designed specifically for film bounce:

    http://avisynth.nl/index.php/Stab
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  6. You may want to look at Adobe's excellent Warp Stabilizer:

    https://helpx.adobe.com/premiere-pro/atv/cs6-tutorials/warp-stabilizer.html

    It's claim to fame is it's excellent ability to stabilize wobbly hand held camera shots but I see no reason why you can't stabilize footage like you're working with. I would zoom in to get the higher resolution and then use Warp Stabilize to treat it just like any other digital footage (which at that point it would be).
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  7. By the way, if that sample image is anything to judge by, it looks like the scanner's resolution far exceeds that of your film.
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  8. Member
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    Thank you for all the tools you introduced. Mercalli did not work well because it seems not to have a mode specifically for film bounce. I'll try AviSynth.

    Originally Posted by jagabo View Post
    By the way, if that sample image is anything to judge by, it looks like the scanner's resolution far exceeds that of your film.
    That was one of the worst examples with serious jitter. There are some prints worth the resolution.
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  9. It depends on the scan -

    How consistent is the sproket relationship to the actual area of interest ? Normally you could use the sprocket as tracking guides - but if there is warping from the scan or feed, it usually will not work well

    It also depends on the content - animation is different than a hand held live action shot. You're usually not trying to remove the effect of the cameraman's shaky hands. You're usually trying to stabilize the problems introduced from film scanning process for animation.

    Mercalli, warp stabilizer, deshaker might work to some extent - but often they are usually less ideal for this type scenario, because they stabilize based on tracking and feature points in the whole frame - For example those animated lines in your example could likely throw off the stabilization. e.g. a car drives in and out of the picture and it skews everything , actually making things less stable
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  10. I've used Depan, Deshaker, and Mercalli to fix gate weave ("jitter"). The key to getting it to work correctly with any stabilizer is to use the software's "limit" parameters. Look through the documentation for whatever stabilizer you are using and find the settings which limit the corrections to only a few pixels.

    The other setting to look for are those which focus the stabilization software on certain parts of the frame. For instance, if you want to use the sprocket holes to guide the stabilization algorithms, as poisondeathray suggests, they you don't want the software to spend time analyzing all the pixels in the center of the frame. Deshaker makes this very easy to do with the various "ignore pixels" settings.

    Of course you may also want to remove a little of the camera shake since most amateur film was taken hand-held and therefore needs stabilization from those much bigger movements. If so, both of these suggestions will need to be either modified or ignored.
    Last edited by johnmeyer; 1st Jul 2019 at 15:41. Reason: added last sentence
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  11. Member Cornucopia's Avatar
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    If you can use a scanner that has much higher inherent resolution (e.g. 4k), then it doesn't matter if you zoom out to catch the sprockets, guides, etc. Once you've done your stabilization, you can crop after the fact without compromising the expected end resolution.

    Also, if you do the stabilization in 2 passes - a rough pass using sprockets/guides/frame and a fine pass using content - you can better overcome false adjustment/overcompensation. It has the effect of limiting the area of correction (if the tool doesn't natively have that capability).

    Scott
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