proDAD Mercalli Plug-in
Could this be a cure for the dreaded shakycam?
The results are sometimes surprising, and other times disappointing. For scenes that needed just a slight amount of smoothing, especially an unsteady waist shot of a person standing in front of a static background, this plug-in nailed it, creating rock-solid clips that looked like a tripod was used. Shaky footage, such as a hand-held zoomed-in shot of a jet flying overhead, didn’t fare as well, looking herky-jerky, probably beyond repair by any software at any price.
Mercalli is no miracle worker, but it does an admirable job of smoothing out reasonably unstable footage. It does this by first analyzing the clip’s motion, applying its stabilization counter-movements, and then scaling up the video to cover its edges. The more stabilization accuracy you select, the longer the clip will take to render, but the processing was remarkably fast, even on a mid-range laptop.
If you’re spoiled by the silky-smooth, near-miraculous motion tracking of $150,000 editing software such as Autodesk Flame, you won’t be impressed by Mercalli. But if you need to smooth out a few shakycam shots where somebody forgot to tote the tripod along, this little plug-in might pay for itself by avoiding just one re-shoot.
Charlie White, a regular Studio/monthly contributor, is a television producer/director with 34 years of experience. He is the deputy editor of the NBC technology and consumer electronics site DVICE.com and the co-host of the Coolness Roundup on Sirius satellite radio.