ReelSteady Go for FPV
Updated: Jun 25, 2020
I have used ReelSteady since 2017, when it only worked with After Effects. It was a slow and arduous process that never felt like it was worth the time and effort involved to create a good stabilized video clip. Another major issue it has is, on windows, it only worked with the 2014 version of After Effects which Adobe stopped supporting in 2018. With the release of GoPro's Hypersmooth, there was really no longer a reason to struggle with Reelsteady for video on an amate
Then ReelSteady Go was released.
ReelSteady Go is a stand-alone application that perfectly stabilizes GoPro footage using the GoPro's actual recorded gyro data instead of just image analysis. It is compatible with the Session 5 and Hero 6, 7 Black, and 8 GoPro cameras, although the best results are achieved with the Hero 6 (with version 1.6 firmware) and the Hero 8.
ReelSteady Go Product Features:
Fully standalone desktop app
Advanced rolling shutter removal
Built in lens distortion correction
Adjustable smoothness value
Adjustable cropping speed
Auto detection of GoPro metadata
Intuitive user interface
Horizon leveling mode
Fast stabilization and render times
How to use ReelSteady Go for FPV
The first step in using ReelSteady Go is to get your GoPro settings correct. I will show you what settings have worked the best for me.
First and most important is you must turn GoPro's stabilization off, ReelSteady Go will not work with stabilized footage
The more information you can provide ReelSteady Go the better it will work. Choosing 4:3 aspect ratio @ 2.7k or higher will utilize the entire GoPro sensor providing the maximum amount of sensor data. Another thing that helps provide maximum information is frame rate. The higher the frame rate, the better. ReelSteady Go does work with 16:9 aspect ratio, but since it doesn't use all of the sensor, I recommend using 4:3.
The application will automatically stretch a 4:3 video into 16:9 when processed
My typical settings are:
4:3 Aspect ratio
4k Resolution (if needed for production purposes)
4:3 Aspect ratio
I also set my shutter speed using the 180 degree shutter rule:
To mimic motion the same way the human eye experiences it in real life, the 180-degree rule states that shutter speed should be set to double your frame rate.
So @ 60 fps I set the shutter to 1/120 and @ 30 fps to 1/60. Then I use ND filters to set the exposure.
When you open the ReelSteady Go app you will be greeted with the main screen
Select "Load Video" and choose your footage
The app will process the video gyro data and "guess" sync points
Once that is done, you will see something like this
Notice the little green "marker" towards the end of the video timeline. That is ReelSteady Go's attempt at guessing a "sync point"
In my experience, you should immediately delete all sync points that were created by the app's processing, they are never at a good location. "Sync points" are a way to fine-tune matching the gyro data to the video. Sometimes the video may be slightly ahead of the gyro data, sometimes it might be behind. I have also noticed that if you strategically place sync points, you can reduce the overall amount of cropping that ReelSteady Go will do.
To delete the sync points, right-click on the marker and select "Delete"
Once all of the sync points are deleted, I like to set my "In" and "Out" points. This is not necessary, but it will lower render time as you arent rendering all the video of you sitting on the ground.
To do this, drag the "play head" to where you take off and then grab the in point (small triangle at the beginning of the timeline) and drag it to where the play head is. Do the same for the out point.
Next, I will add the sync points
What you want for sync points are parts in the video where you have a forward flight for at least 5 seconds and depth (video where you can see things near and far). Parallex will help ReelSteady Go determine how the frames are moving.
At a minimum, you want 2 good sync points. One somewhere in the first 3rd and one on the last 3rd of the video. More is better, but it's not necessary to go crazy.
Once you have found a spot in the video to add a sync point, click the green marker button next to the play/pause button. Continue to do this until you have 2 - 8 sync points throughout the video.
Note: The reason I have more than 8 points above is that there are more advanced techniques to dialing sync points in, but these will be explored in a later article. My video would still be great if I had only used 2.
Next, click on the "Gear" icon at the bottom right of the screen and the settings window will pop up.
These settings can be interpreted in many ways, I am only showing what I think works the best for FPV video.
"Smoothness" is exactly what it says. The higher you set it, the more cropping will happen in the video. For 100% of my videos to date, I have set this as low as it goes.
"Cropping Speed" is how fast it will crop or zoom in when it needs to for stabilization to maintain a full screen. I set this to 2-3 ticks to the right of center. Totally a preference decision.
"Lock Horizon" will keep the video locked to a flat horizon. This is useful if you want the video to stay flat horizontally. See all cinematic Cinewhoop videos. You will still have vertical movement in the video when using this.
"Flip gyro data" is used if your GoPro is set upside down during recording.
Once these are set, click ok and the video will reprocess. At this point, its a good idea to review your footage and see how the stabilization looks. You may have some trouble points where the video crops in too much. If this happens, adding sync points somewhere before and after the cropping tends to help. This is where more advanced sync point placement will come into play.
Once you are happy with your footage, click "Save Video".
ReelSteady Go doesn't give you the option of choosing a file name when rendering. It will add a "_smoothed" to the end of the source file name. If you are rendering the same video in sections, you will need to rename the rendered file after completion before working with the video again.
When moving the "In" and "Out" you will lose audio from your clip. I don't know why this is the case, but take that into consideration if you want motor noise from your stabilized footage.
After the video is processed, the app cannot be worked with again until closing and reopening. If you load the same source footage again, the sync points you had before will be retained as long as you don't delete the created "_offsetNodes" file from when you added sync points.
Lastly, you can work with multiple instances of ReelSteady Go at the same time if you have several clips to stabilize. Keep in mind that your computer resources will take a hit.
ReelSteady Go is a powerful tool for stabilizing GoPro footage and I highly recommend it to anyone that whats the most out of their footage. I personally haven't used "Hypersmooth" since learning this process.