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    Using a SteadXP for camera stabilization

    Hi all, long time since I posted but I'm back.

    So recently, I bought a SteadXP+ to test out. Like everyone else, I love having stable videos, but I hate gimbals so this seemed like a good option. The price is about the same as a Weebill-S, but the package is a lot smaller.

    Once I received the SteadXP, I had to install the software and activate it. This was a fairly easy process.

    Next, since there are no Sigma fp camera profiles, I had to create one. Don't worry, I will email them to SteadXP so you all can start using it if you decide to buy one.

    The first calibration I wanted to try was with the Voigtlander 21mm f1.4 lens. To be honest, this process took me 2+ hours because the profiling software kept rejecting my shots. I've learned to take videos of the chessboard chart with many many different angles, and use 80+ frames to feed into the calibration analyzer for success. If anyone has tips for making this process faster, let me know!

    Once calibrated, I took my cat on a hike in a park to test the footage. It was quite nice walking the park with just a simple setup like this. Very unassuming vs getting full geared up with monitors and gimbals etc. I shot in 4K 29.97fps CDNG.

    How does the SteadXP work with CDNG? Well it does 2 things: (1) record some synchronization data in 1 channel of your audio input, (2) record actual gyroscopic movements to a microSD card in the device itself. So what was my workflow?
    1. Record CDNG to a Samsung T5 with audio in from the SteadXP. I used a 1/1000 shutter speed as recommended, and you will need to add motion blur in post either using the SteadXP software or DaVinci Resolve. In the future I will buy a Y-splitter cable so I can get at least 1 channel of audio. I may also end up buying a field recorder at some point.
    2. At home, I use DaVinci Resolve to quickly process the CDNG files to ProRes 4444 (or 422 HQ). You will want to get your image to Rec709 instead of leaving it in a log-like format. Be sure to also output the audio component (but don't listen to it, it's very painful!).
    3. Once you have these ProRes files, plug the microSD card from the SteadXP into the computer and move the files to the same folder. You want the microSD card to be empty after each shoot.
    4. Open the SteadXP software, set the input folder to the above location. It will ask for your camera profile, which I have chosen my previous profile of the fp and Voigtlander 21mm. It will then scan the clips and attempt to auto-synchronize. There are some tips on the SteadXP website on how to make auto-sync better/faster.
    5. You want to spot check the sync to make sure it's done right. The website has tips on how to do this.
    6. Once you click validate, it will allow you to preview the stabilization. I changed my settings to enable roll/pitch/yaw corrections and set the stabilization level to 10 and zoom level to 80. I also use the advanced tab to add motion blur.
    7. Click render and wait!
    Here are the results:



    Overall thoughts: there is a price to pay with software stabilization, namely a longer workflow. The advantages are that you don't need to lug around a gimbal, and you could also choose to not stabilize your footage, or how much to stabilize it later. I think having gyroscope data of your camera move is useful even if you don't end up using it. The only real downside is how long renders take (although to be fair, they are fast if you don't add motion blur). I think some people will love this device and some will rather not deal with all the calibrations, processing, etc. No matter your preference, I do think the SteadXP does what it claims to do pretty well, even if the process of getting there is arduous.
    Last edited by doug; 08-30-2020, 04:52 PM.

    #2
    Damn it! I already bought the weebill. This fits my needs much better!

    Can you show us how big is the crop factor? I assume, that in the youtube video they are both cropped. I would love to see how does the original (without cropping) look and how much of the original size do you have to give away in order to achieve this smooth stabilisation.

    Thank you very much for great topic.

    Comment


      #3
      Correct, there is a crop factor. It made my 21mm lens 28mm I think. So right around the APS-H range. If you walk more steadily than I did, you can probably use a smaller stabilization setting and decrease the crop factor.

      It also has the ability to "fill in" missing data from the edges sort of like Photoshop's context-aware fill function. I haven't played with that myself personally, but it seems like a cool feature.

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        #4
        One thing to be aware about zoom lenses, from their FAQ:

        Can I use a zoom with SteadXP?
        When creating a camera profile, only the lens ends can be used (for example @16mm & @35mm for a 16-35mm). Using gaffer helps fixing the lens.

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          #5
          And if you use the SteadXP - do you have to pregrade? So you will loose the ability to grade raw at the end of your workflow? Or is it somehow possible to link the RAW cine DNG files back after the stabilisation is done?
          Last edited by Karel_od_martiny; 09-03-2020, 09:12 PM.

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            #6
            Yeah I'm struggling to figure out the best workflow right now for best image quality. I think the fastest way to do it is to pregrade your raw files, stabilize in SteadXP w/o motion blur (to increase the FPS processing speed), and judge each shot as keep/discard. Edit/grade using the raw/unstabilized shots. Then before the final render, have Resolve render out individual clips to be stabilized, stabilize them, and then link them back into your timeline.

            Comment


              #7
              Great. If there will be any updates in your struggling, let us know. I am still in deciding stage. And other example footage would be well appreciated too .

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                #8
                I will get out tomorrow for a hike (and it's finally sunny this weekend). I'll let you know!

                One nice thing about using 1/1000 shutter and adding blur in later: no need to deal with ND filters.

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                  #9
                  And what about using the informations from SteadXP in the finishing process?

                  1- Edit everything (without stabilisation - you will have to imagine that the clips are stabilised and cropped or you cen temporarly stabilize them with normal stabilizer which will give you similar effec with digital artifacts and imperfections)
                  2- Color everything
                  3- Export only the individual clips that you actually used in your timeline and that are good adepts for stabilization - often not every shot needs to be stabilized.
                  4- Stabilize those colored and exported individual clips using SteadXP informations.
                  5- Link back the stabilized clips.
                  6- Make final adjustments (in things that you did not see before the stabilization)
                  7- Render.

                  The coloring will not be afected with this workflow. Only thing is, that you will have to "imagine", that the clips will be stabilized during the editing part. But after you link the clips back, you can actually still make some changes. Is it possible?
                  Last edited by Karel_od_martiny; 09-06-2020, 03:22 PM.

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