Final Cut Pro: What is the SmoothCam Filter?

Digital video cameras have become more popular, yet more of a hassle for some as they see unwanted camera movement; the SmoothCam filter tool in Final Cut Pro will help get rid of those shaky video clips. Before this filter became available, many people made the choice of not using those "vibrating" clips they took with their hand held digital video camera. Now, there is no need to worry about losing any of those videos.

What Is the SmoothCam Filter?

At the time Final Cut Pro 6 was released by Apple, the SmoothCam filter was also introduced. This innovative piece of technology was derived from "shake" applications. This filter corrects camera movement in only two steps. The first step of the SmoothCam process is analyzing the many directions in which camera movement is seen. How it works is it actually tracks how pixels in a single video frame move. It then creates a file that includes information on tracking of the actual movement sequences, and puts this file into a separate folder containing the video clip source.

When working on a network where permission is not granted for writing back to the source of the video clip folder, Final Cut Pro will them put this file in its library. Once the video clip is analyzed, Final Cut Pro uses the information during render or playback and both corrects and compensates for any undesired camera movement.

Preparing Your Video Clips

Before working with the SmoothCam program, there are several important things that one should know. Be patient as it does take some time for the filter to work its way through each frame and make notations on the movement and position of the video clip pixels. All of the analyzed data gets put onto a background process, where you can go back to Final Cut Pro; the analyzing process will continue as you continue on working. After the analysis process completes, the files will be quite large.

The positive thing about this is that the process only needs to be completed once. Even though you may decide to change the entry and output points of the video clip, or if you choose to move the video clip, the file that was analyzed will continue to work.

Key Points to Keep in Mind:

  • Before adding any additional filters to the video clip, the SmoothCam filter should be applied.
  • If there is too much movement in the video clips, the SmoothCam filter will not work.
  • Change the run time playback settings to unlimited.
  • If you use media manager to trim your video clips when you move or copy, files that have already been analyzed by SmoothCam will not work.

The Final "Cut" on How SmoothCam Filter Works

The most important thing one must know when using the SmoothCam filter is that it analyzes an entire clip and not just bits and pieces of the clip. If a video clip is six minutes in length, and you need about 10 seconds of the clip, the filter program will analyze the entire six minutes of the clip. This will happen regardless of whether or you not you sent the In and Outs to the timeline or the view at the 10 second interval that you wanted to keep.

Analyzing the extra video clips will take quite a long time and will create one large analyzed file. To avoid ending up with significantly large files and lengthy analysis, the video clips must be cut down before the analysis can be started.

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