4 Tips For Warp Stabilizer

Get the Best Results with Warp Stabilizer

When done right, the Warp Stabilizer effect in Premiere Pro can be just as effective as a camera slider, dolly, or jib. Check out these 4 tips to improve your stabilization results. 


1. Shoot For Warp Stabilization

Shoot for post. We've all heard it said. It's true. If you line up your shots with Warp Stabilizer in mind, you're going to get fantastic results. There is more you can do to improve Warp Stabilizer's analysis beyond taking dramamine before a shoot. Here's a list of 3 things to avoid when shooting for Warp Stabilization:

1. Rack focuses - sharp, unchanging focus will improve Warp Stabilizer's analysis.
2. Snap zooms - a nice Mickey Rooney usually works brilliantly.
3. Extreme subject/background separation - depth can confuse Warp Stabilizer, classic example: it will latch on to the subject's body movements and turn a simple interview into a Guy Ritchie chase scene.

DISCLAIMER: This list is not scientific. Results may vary. Stop taking Warp Stabilizer if you experience blurred vision or nausea. Ask your producer to see if Warp Stabilizer is right for you. 

Seriously though, avoiding these types of shots will provide better stabilization. NEVER let shooting for Warp Stabilizer inhibit capturing a shot as is best for the emotion or story of the shot.

2. Trim Shaky Frames

Warp Stabilizer's analysis is based on the entire clip. This means the amount of subspace warp and auto-scale needed to stabilize the shakiest part of the clip will be applied to the smoother parts as well. Such a waste! Trim off the head and tail of the clip, which typically have camera shake from operating the record button, before running Warp Stabilization. Also, try reworking your edit  to eliminate the worst camera shake in shots.

Warp Stabilization can do a lot for retimed clips as well. Depending on the content and speed, consider removing shaky frames throughout your clip before applying Warp Stabilizer. You may find retiming the clip acceptably hides the missing frames and your stabilization analysis will thank you for it. Remember, if you're wanting to retime a stabilized clip in Premiere Pro, you must first nest it. Personally, I hope Adobe will figure a way to integrate the Speed and Warp Stabilization without nesting and call it: Warp Speed. 

3. Enable Maximum Render Quality

Opinions vary when it comes to enabling this feature. It's design is to produce better quality scaling and, unless you're resizing clips or exporting a different frame size than your source, it is usually recommended to leave this unchecked to save performance and reduce render time. 

However, it's easy to forget how Warp Stabilizer works. Warp Stabilizer shifts or "warps" pixels to appear smooth and auto-scales the clip in order to prevent the edges of the image from appearing in the frame. So, if you have a sequence that contains clips with Warp Stabilizer applied, you are scaling and should enable Maximum Render Quality. Remember to check the Maximum Render Quality box under both Sequence Settings and Export Settings. This brotorial demonstrates:

This #brotorial shows where and when to enable Maximum Render Quality in #PremierePro.

A video posted by Premiere Bro (@premiere_bro) on

4. Say No To Warp Stabilizer Jelly

Up to this point you might be thinking I'm a Warp-Stabilizer-happy editor. I confess I've exported warp stabilized content I'm not proud of but now I'm setting the bar high when it comes to the results it produces. Warp Stabilizer is not a cure-all—when it doesn't work, don't use it.  The jelly effect caused by subspace warping is worse than the shakiness it's eliminating. Viewer's can accept shaky camera if necessary. The Bourne films taught us that. Warp Stabilizer jelly is just too unnatural, almost like those Photo Booth effects on a Mac. Those were fun like one time.

Warp Stabilizer can make your footage look like Photo Booth. Check out: 4 Tips for Warp Stabilizer http://ow.ly/J1hdP

A video posted by Premiere Bro (@premiere_bro) on

For more information on Warp Stabilizer, check out Story&Heart's review of Warp Stabilizer settings.

I want to thank you for reading to this point. Sincerely, thanks.

As always, reach out with any comments, suggestions or corrections. They are much appreciated.

Sean Schools

Sean Schools is Premiere Bro, the Premiere Pro User Blog and Fansite, dedicated to enriching the Premiere Pro editing experience and user community. Sean is a Full Sail University alum and the award-winning video editor for JK Design, a New Jersey advertising agency.