How to Stabilize FPV Videos? Reelsteady vs. Hypersmooth

To create smooth and professional looking FPV videos, stabilization is essential. There are two popular methods of digital stabilization for GoPro footage, both are very easy to use and do not require heavy gimbals on your drone.

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

Two Ways to Stabilize GoPro Videos

  • Hypersmooth
  • ReelSteady GO

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

ReelSteady Go is a 3rd party standalone application. It’s popular because you can decide how much stabilization to apply to your footage and it works really well. It works with Session 5, Hero 6, 7 and 8.

Hypersmooth

Hypersmooth works by cropping the image and digitally moving the image in contrast to vibrations. Hypersmooth is very accurate, but you still have to fly smoothly to avoid strange digital artifacts. Rarely, doing acrobatics with Hypersmooth might result in wonky footage.

Pros

  • no extra work needed, you get stable footage straight out of the camera, ready to be used in the edit
  • result is reliable, most of the times
  • no extra cost, built into the camera

Cons

  • user has no control on image cropping
  • there is no way to “go back” to the raw footage (unstabilized footage)
  • you need to fly smoothly for the best result, yaw panning and rapid maneuvers can create undesired artifacts and effects
  • it isn’t available in all resolution/FPS combinations

ReelSteady GO

ReelSteady Go is one of the best stabilization solutions for FPV drones currently. The result is absolutely unmatched among other options. It does however cost $100 for a license.

ReelSteady uses gyro metadata that the GoPro encodes in each video in order to stabilize it. That’s why it only works with GoPro cameras. The workflow is really simple, import your shaky GoPro footage, set how much stabilization you want, and it turns it into a smooth video in minutes.

Here is my tutorial how to use Reelsteady GO.

Pros

  • simple, precise and adjustable stabilization
  • original, unstabilized footage is still available, and you can play with it until you are happy with the result
  • fast processing without a high end PC

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

Conclusion

I really like Hypersmooth for its simplicity. It’s reliable enough for the most part as long as you are just aiming for “cinematic” footage and not doing much acrobatics. It’s 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 keep using your older GoPro without upgrading to the latest Hero 7 and 8 for their Hypersmooth feature.

Also Reelsteady Go works really well with the Hero 6, and it’s a lot cheaper than the Hero 8, that’s why this combo is still extremely popular in the FPV scene.

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