Mountain bike video stabilisation with proDAD
This article is all about how I got rid of the shakes from a mountain biking video shot with an ION Air Pro action camera with videos to show the results.
I was recently given an ION Air Pro action camera as a present which was going to be great because I love mountain biking and now I could bore everyone with not only talking endlessly about my rides but I could also show them videos!
It quickly became obvious that video stabilisation is an inherrent problem with action cams. The ION Air Pro does have built in stabilisation which, compared to a mobile phone, is not too bad but certainly not good enough for a bumpy off-road mountain bike ride.
I decided to experiment with video stabilisation. To begin with I tried the stabilise feature of Windows Movie Maker. It worked OK (and is free) but the quality of the resulting video took a hit. I also tried VirtualDub – a free video editing and conversion package – with the Deshaker plugin. The results were good but it was very complicated to set up and I’m sure I never did get the optimal settings right. So I came across proDAD Mercalli V4 from www.prodad.com. It is a premium commercial software package but the ease of use and results were very good. Plus they have a fully functional trial version which just puts their logo on the outputted video as you can see in my example below.
I took a clip from a bumpy section of a ride I did the other day and put it through proDAD Mercalli a few times experimenting with different settings. Here are the results starting with a side-by-side comparison then the full stabilised version and finally the original video clip, unedited.
Side-by-side comparison with Mercalli proDAD V4
If you look at the horizon next to the separating line you can see how well the software has cleaned up the bumps and shakes from the video.
The little blips of black you see flashing up here and there are not problems with the video – that’s mud being thrown up from my wheels!
I suppose a purist would say you actually get more of the ‘experience’ from the un-stabilised original video. You can almost feel every bump!
proDAD Mercalli settings
I just used the basic settings in the software as follows:
- Rolling Shutter Compensation: Vibrations/wobble. This option does make the analysis process take quite a long time but the difference with just using the ‘Standard’ option is worth the wait
- Smooth Camera Path: ActionCam
- Used Camera Optics: ION Air Pro 1080 (this is the camera I used but there are loads in the list including Hero Pro etc.)
- Avoid Border: disabled