How to Stabilize FPV Videos?

To create smooth and professional looking FPV videos, stabilization is essential. There are two popular methods of stabilization used by FPV pilots that don’t require heavy gimbals on their drones.

The GoPro is still the most popular cameras used by FPV pilots. You can buy them from:

Two Stabilization Methods

  • Hypersmooth in GoPro Hero 7 and Hero 8
  • ReelSteady GO with GoPro Hero 6 and Session 5

Hypersmooth in the GoPro 7 and 8 is probably the easiest and fastest way to get smooth footage, there is no extra cost or rendering time.

ReelSteady Go is a paid 3rd party software. It’s popular because you can fine-tune your footage exactly to your liking. However it only supports GoPro Session 5 and Hero 6 currently.

Hypersmooth

Hypersmooth works by cropping the source images and digitally moves the image in contrast to vibrations. Hypersmooth is very accurate, but you still have to fly smoothly to avoid strange digital artifacts. Doing acrobatics with Hypersmooth on the footage might be wonky sometimes.

Pros

  • no extra work needed
  • result is quite good

Cons

  • there is no way to “go back” to the unstabilized footage
  • you need to fly smooth for the best result,┬árapid maneuvers can create undesired artifacts and movements

ReelSteady GO

ReelSteady Go is a standalone software that uses gyro data your GoPro encodes in each video in order to stabilize it. That’s why it only works with GoPro cameras.

You simply import your shaky GoPro footage, play with the parameters until you are happy with the result, and it turns it into a smooth video. Despite this simple approach, you may get some issues caused by unwanted vibrations.

Pros

  • simple, precise and adjustable stabilization
  • unstabilized footage is available, and you can play with it until you are happy with the level of stabilization

Cons

  • $100 extra cost
  • Too much vibrations can affects the accuracy of the gyro data, and it may not turn out well; it doesn’t handle propwash well occasionally

Can I use GoPro 7/8 with ReelSteady?

In theory, yes, but for FPV videos, Reelsteady doesn’t work well with GoPro Hero 7 and 8.

As mentioned, vibrations can corrupts gyro data and the gyro is even more sensitive in the GoPro Hero 7 and Hero 8. With the kind of vibration from our FPV drones, the footage is almost unusable in Reelsteady Go. It’s a hardware limitation as far as I know, so I don’t think there will be a fix any time soon. That’s why a lot of people still get the Hero 6 or Session 5 if they want to use Reelsteady.

Make sure your camera is mounted securely and isolated from vibrations for the best result.

Update (Feb 2020): Reelsteady Go has updated their software to support Hero 8, we have yet to confirm how well it works with FPV footage.

Conclusion

I really like Hypersmooth for its simplicity. It’s reliable enough for the most part as long as you are just shooting “cinematic” footage and not doing acrobatics. Great for those who don’t want to mess with editing too much.

But if you are a pro, and want to be able to control how to apply stabilization to your footage, ReelSteady Go surely is the way to go. And the cool thing is you can still use your older Hero 6 and Session 5, you just have to spend $100 more, without upgrading to the latest Hero 7 and 8.

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