ReelSteady for After Effects.

Robin HamiltonCreative Director

For those of us well versed in editing handheld footage of our favourite pastimes, smoothing out shaky camera footage can be one of the biggest frustrations.

While there are a few existing plug-ins that do a decent job of making handheld footage more professional, there are still limitations on what they can do.

Introducing ReelSteady.

ReelSteady’s After Effects plug-in offers a new approach to stabilization, allowing for precise results from any camera and lens combination, including wide angle lenses like GoPro.

In reality we all know that the shaky footage captured will never look as cinematic, or dramatic – and possibly the most frustrating – as daring as the films, meaning the final edit of your footage never does the experience itself justice.

This inevitably fuels a high expectation to relive that death-defying moment, only for it to look simply moribund. But what if that moribund moment can look cinematic and become, just maybe, a little more dramatic and daring?

In my opinion ReelSteady successfully achieve’s this while removing the amateur looking shake. Created by Robert Mcintosh and his partner, the ReelSteady may be the future of stabilization.

While Warp Stabilizer, that is built-in to AfterEffects, does have its benefits and can help improve your footage, there is a tendency for the footage to become warped.

ReelSteady on the other hand has made a conscious effort to differentiate itself from Warp Stabilizer and other similar plugins by featuring pre-sets for specific camera’s such as GoPro, and boasts a very intuitive user interface that allows you to be very precise with the settings.

The only downside is that at $399 it’s a bit on the pricey side and definitely making people cautious, particularly as there are similar plugins that are available at a much cheaper price.

If you visit the ReelSteady gallery however,, you can’t help but feel impressed with the end results. Plus, there are comparisons with original footage, warp stabilizer and Reelsteady so you can make your own opinion on the plugin. Either way, it really does help make footage, cinematic and dramatic. The daring depends on your own footage.

As good as this post effect is for your personal archive of footage, (money aside), I personally fear it will cause more accidents. It didn’t take me long see a correlation between accidents and versatile cameras. Everyone loves to show off to a camera. This disregard puts everyone around in danger as the balance between risk and reward becomes greater. But how else are you going to get the footage that best describes your favourite moment?

My only advice is to pre-ride, re-ride so you can free-ride.


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