Stabilizing Motion In Adobe After Effects

Posted at 10:00 on 11th January 2016 by Cinephonix in Skills


Adobe After Effects is probably one of the best editing software's for smoothing out video footage. So if you find that you've filmed your video and realized that your footage is shaky, it won't be the end of the world. There are multiple ways to smooth out and stabilize motion, here's just a few tools you can use.

Stabilize Motion Feature

The stabilize motion feature uses the built in tracking functions in After Effects to smooth out the footage so if you want your shot to be 100% stable, the stabilize motion feature is the way forward.


  • It locks shots down
  • It can lead to awkward warping
  • It must be adjusted by hand
  • It can create gaps on the edges of a frame
Check out this great tutorial from Lynda which shows us how to use the stabilize motion feature.

Warp Stabilizer

With a drag and drop effect, the warp stabilizer is simple and easy to use. It works by analyzing your entire frame and creating track points on objects in your scene. It's particularly good because it allows users to adjust the stabilization intensity.
So if you want your objects to be locked down, you'd simply turn the smoothness to 0. If you want more movement, turn it up to 100.

It also uses background rendering which allows you to work on other things while the effect is processing.

  • Easy to use
  • Professional Results
  • Can sometimes lead to warping
Check out this tutorial by Dan Jacobs which shows you how to enhance stabilized footage in Adobe After Effects.


This is a relatively new plug in that has not long hit the stabilization market. It works a lot like the warp stabilizer tool but it is better! For example, the warp stabilizer creates wobbly edges in the video, but ReelSteady makes the entire frame incredibly smooth.

It also provides additional features that make it better for doing next level tracks, users can create masks to block out certain areas of the frame.

  • Smoothest stabilization
  • Simple to use
  • Masking capabilities
  • Price - At $399, this is expensive software!
  • It's not included in After Effects, it's a plug in.
Despite the price, if you want to have the smoothest footage going, then ReelSteady is the way to go. Check out this quick tutorial by ReelSteady themselves on how it works.

So this concludes that shaky footage is no longer an issue, it can be solved instantly with any of the 3 tools above.