Final Cut Pro: 4 Tips for Using the SmoothCam Filter

In Final Cut Pro, the SmoothCam filter allows you to reduce the amount of unwanted camera movement that is in the footage that you captured. Unwanted camera movement could be the result of movement from automotive scenes, an unstable crane, unexpected arm movements, or teetering from handheld walking shots.

When you are working with the SmoothCam filter, you will always need to perform motion analysis on a clip before you can view the results of the filter. You should use caution when using the SmoothCam filter because the SmoothCam filter can generate unexpected results to clips that contain certain visual characteristics. Always make sure that you have a source copy of the footage that you are working with. This guideline will go over tips for using the SmoothCam filter in Final Cut Pro.

1. Unanalyzed Status

You will often work with motion analysis data when you are using the SmoothCam filter. If you come across a video clip that has an unanalyzed status, there could be several reasons for that status. One possible reason for an unanalyzed status is that you may have run out of room on your hard drive before the motion analysis file could be written. You will need to access the My Computer folder on your hard drive so that you can see how much space is available.

Another reason for an unanalyzed status could be that you accidentally paused the processing queue. When you pause the processing queue, the clip is unable to be analyzed. If you are receiving an unanalyzed status on a video clip, you may want to check the SmoothCam Browser column to see if you have accidentally stopped the analysis for that clip.

2. 3:2 Pull-Down or Duplicate Frames

You should always check your clips for a 3:2 pull-down, advanced pull-down and duplicate frames. You will need to remove any pull-downs and duplicate frames before you apply the SmoothCam filter. Pull-downs and duplicate frames should also be removed before you submit any clips to the SmoothCam Analysis processing queue.

3. Soft SmoothCam Results

You may experience soft, or minimal, SmoothCam results when you are converting progressive footage to interlaced footage. This issue can be resolved by applying the SmoothCam filter to the original footage. In the event that you need to combine progressive footage and interlaced footage, you will need to create a mixed format sequence. Whenever possible, use original progressive footage in your mixed format sequence to perserve the origina results of the SmoothCam filter that was applied to the original footage.

4. Frame Blending

Having Frame Blending enabled on clips that you have applied speed changes and the SmoothCam filter to can cause footage that is not smooth. To prevent this from happening, you will need to nest the sequence that contains the clip that you applied the SmoothCam filter to. Once the sequence has been nested, you can then apply speed changes to the clip that contains the SmoothCam filter. After you have applied the speed changes, enable Frame Blending.