Lock and Load Documentation
Access the plugin from the effects library in the category “C2 Lock & Load”. Choose
- “Stabilize Only” for basic stabilization,
- “Stabilize and Shutter Correction” for DSLR or other CMOS cameras. Drag the effect you wish to use onto the clip to be stabilised in the timeline.
- “Advanced Tracking [ROI]” is not needed in most cases, see details below.
With the clip selected, go to the effects inspector. Press the “track motion” button to start stabilization.
Once the track is finished set the “stabilization mode” to one of these options:
- “Smooth” will smooth out bumps and jitter while keeping the overall camera motion.
- “Lock Down”: will attempt to remove all movement from the footage to create a locked off shot.
If you apply Lock and Load to a clip, then copy and “Paste Effects” onto multiple clips you can analyse them all at once. See below for more details
If you are using the "Stabilize and Shutter Reduction” plugin it is no longer necessary to choose the camera type. Lock and Load pre analyses the footage and determines the appropriate rolling shutter reduction setting. It is still possible to choose manual rolling shutter adjustment as well.
- You cannot use both Lock & Load and the built in FCP X stabilizer or Rolling Shutter reduction on the same clip. Please choose one or the other. Attempting to apply both will result in a clip that is not stabilized correctly.
- You will not get good results if you apply Lock & Load to a clip that is retimed with video quality set to Frame Blending or Optical Flow. In this case stabilize first and then export the clip, re-import it and then retime.
- Lock & Load should generally be applied as the first effect on a clip (highest) when you apply more than one effect to the same clip.
- Switch playback to “Play Original or Optimized Media” in preferences , Lock & Load will not get good results when applied to proxy media.
Rolling Shutter Reduction
Lock & Load includes an option to reduce Rolling Shutter CMOS artifacts integrated with the stabilization process. Rolling Shutter artifacts occur because of the camera sampling different parts of the image at different times in a pattern from top to bottom. They include skewing and visible vertical distortion.
Lock & Load can help to reduce these artifacts by correcting for the visible skewing and vertical stretching that can occur.
Apply the plugin “Stabilize and Shutter Reduction” from the effects library.
Leave Shutter Correction set to 'Auto' in most cases. Lock and Load will pre analyse the image and determine the best setting for rolling shutter reduction automatically.
You can still choose “manual” from Shutter Correction and enter the value manually. Normally this is not necessary.
Once you’ve tracked motion on the clip then rolling shutter reduction is automatically applied, just play your clip to preview the results.
"Lock & Load" can either smooth out camera motion or it can completely "Lock Down" a scene with no movement at all. Use the Smooth mode to reduce unwanted movement in a camera move and use “Lock Down” when the camera is not moved intentionally (as in an interview) and the shaking amplitude is only small.
When "Smooth..." is chosen as stabilization mode, you can adjust the strength of stabilization. "Overall Strength" is the main parameter and lets you control the strength of stabilization for all directions at once. The lowest value (0) means no stabilization, while the maximum value corresponds to maximum stabilization or smoothness.
With the controls underneath “Overall strength” you can control stabilization strength separately for “Horizontal”, “Vertical”, “Rotation” and “Zoom” . By default, all directions except for Zoom (or motion in z direction) are enabled, and you will rarely need to change this.
Filling in black on the edges of the image:
In order to smooth the motion “Lock & Load” needs to reposition the source footage which of course leads to black on the edges of the image. The normal method of correcting this is to scale the image slightly, depending on the amount of motion at that time.
"Lock & Load" provides a smart mechanism for adaptive scaling and direct control over scaling. These options can be chosen from the popup menu "Scaling Mode".
"Lock & Load's" smart scaling mechanism computes the necessary scaling to cover the margins on a frame by frame basis but also takes care to keep the scaling speed as low as specified. Parts of your footage which require only a small amount of scaling are only scaled up by small amounts thus preserving image quality. This mechanism takes two inputs: You can specify a maximum allowable margin (e.g. 10% for action safe) to make sure that a certain part is always covered with content. Further, you can specify the maximum allowable speed of zoom changes. If you specify 0, a constant zoom is applied over the whole period. For values > 0 the zoom can vary over time.
If you need direct control over Scaling, you can choose "Fixed Scaling" and adjust the desired zoom manually.
The "Information" display in the inspector provides information about the current zoom value.
GoPro Hero and Fish Eye Optical Correction
GoPro Hero cameras commonly have a fish eye lens. In order to stabilize these clips correctly its necessary to remove the fish eye distortion from the shot. Try and adjust optical correction so that horizontal lines in the shot appear straight. This will give the best stabilisation results.
Please note you need to repeat motion tracking if you change the “Optical Correction” parameter
If you have many clips you need to stabilise you can analyse them all at once by applying lock and load first to one clip then selecting all the clips you wish to stabilise and choosing either “Paste Effects” or “Paste Attributes”, a batch tracking window will pop up as shown at left and will process all the clips that you pasted. As a quick workflow you can use naming or tags to mark all your clips that need stabilisation during the editing process and then select them all at once using the FCP X search tool in the browser.
Multicam Clips and Sync clips
Lock & Load works correctly on multicam and sync clips the same as other clips on the timeline.
Video stabilization is a compromise between smoothness and image quality. The stronger the stabilization, the more black that is revealed at the edge of frame. Filling the margins requires scaling, which in turn degrades image quality.
With this in mind, use the following rule of thumb: Keep the strength of stabilization only as large as necessary to yield a smooth video. Prefer "Smooth..." over "Lock Down" if possible. While adjusting these parameters, play the preview to see immediately how they affect the result. You can use keyframes for the stabilization strength to optimize different parts of a clip.
Unless you have good reasons to use "Fixed Scaling", choose "Smart Scaling" to allow "Lock & Load" to apply adaptively as low scaling as possible. Next, consider if you can afford a margin (e.g. action safe or title safe), the more margin you allow, the better.
Finally, adjust "Max Scaling Speed". Start with large values and move to smaller ones until zoom variations are in an acceptable range.
When you apply smart scaling, you might want to know the maximum zoom that is applied anywhere. You can read the maximum scaling from the info OSC as "Scaling", when you temporarily set "Max ScalingSpeed" to 0.
Troubleshooting difficult clips:
In cases where the camera suddenly changes direction very rapidly or where foreground objects completely obscure the screen “Lock & Load” can lose all of the high contrast areas of the image which it needs in order to track motion in the clip. In this case the resulting output will “jump” suddenly from point to point. If you need to stabilize a clip containing portions like this, the best approach is to keyframe the overall stabilization strength down to zero before the problematic part of the footage. Then keyframe it back up when tracking becomes possible again. The resulting output will go back to the original footage position smoothly, then start to stabilize again and will generally give good results with careful adjustment. You can also use the tracking area option as detailed in the next section.
Please note that Lock & Load does not remove motion blur from the footage, so a clip that is successfully stabilised may have sudden “flaring” artifacts where it blurs in one direction from where the camera was shaking. The only real solution to this is to shoot with a faster shutter which will minimize this effect.
Advanced Tracking [ROI]:
For some very difficult clips you many need to use the “Advanced Tracking [ROI]” option. Lock & Load can track the motion from the entire frame or a region which you define. In certain cases it may help to define an area composed only of the background which you wish to track the motion to. In this case switch “Tracking Area” to “Inside Rectangle” or “Outside Rectangle”
When tracking area is enabled new on screen controls appear which let you define size, location and rotation of the area which Lock & Load uses to analyse the motion in the clip. Motion outside this area is ignored. You can animate the area in order to follow the best part of the background for motion tracking. For good results, always animate the tracking area as slowly and smoothly as possible.
NOTE: If you change the tracking area after tracking you must click “Track Motion” again to retrack the clip.
The advanced tracking [ROI] motion template also includes an optical correction parameter to let you manually reduce fisheye or barrel distortion.
Otherwise for other types of cameras or when using for example a Fish Eye lens on a Canon camera follow this procedure to determine the optical correction parameter.
Film a clip with strong horizontal and vertical lines like the one shown at left.
Adjust the “Optical Correction” parameter unti the horizontal and vertical lines are straight.
Please note you need to repeat motion tracking if you change the “Optical Correction” parameter