Shaky video software fix

After watching the latest cop vs black person video for the umpteenth time, due to the excitement and mechanics of holding a cell phone, it was so shaky I couldn’t tell who was doing what to whom. Isn’t there some sort of video processing software that would allow the operator to pick say a dozen points on a still frame from the beginning of a scene and the computer would bring those same dozen points into coincidence on the remaining frames of the scene? Seems a fairly simple routine you would think would be part of any video processing program. If so, why doesn’t someone at CNN say use it?

You absolutely can stabilize video in software.
But …
You lose material, and the stable usable area on really poor source video may be too small for broadcast. Also, there is the fact that an edited, stabilized video can be challenged as being selective and/or outright faked.
At the end of the day, the TV stations are on safer ground with the raw, unedited source video.

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There are deshakers that work without losing material (by mapping the edges of shot that keep disappearing and appearing. It leads to some weird effects at the edge of shot.

The correction also typically adds some warping to the whole frame (because shake is not simple linear translation)- this can make the stabilised footage sickening to watch (although I’m not sure if uncorrected shake is worse)

I did a demo of a plugin called deshaker here: Demonstration of video footage processed using Deshaker - YouTube

Of course it’s better just to have a camera stabilisation device such as a gimbal or Steadicam. Some shows are probably doing the shakycam thing as a design choice.

The movie Cloverfield was shot in first-person shakycam. A few years ago, somebody took the time to put the entire movie into a deshaker (just google “cloverfield stabilized”). It looked weird and staged and not nearly as ominous.

It looks to me much better stabilized than not. The distortion at the edges is certainly tolerable. Will it work about as well with violently shaken video like you typically see from cell phones in a stressful situation?

That’s still losing material though, just replacing it with something that may or may not be more or less similar.