Why is camera image stabilization so important?
Well… few things are more annoying to an audience than watching the constant motion and jitter in a video that has been shot while the camera was bouncing, shaking or vibrating.
Here's more about it…!
The blurring that occurs as a result of unwanted bouncing or shaking of the camera has been a problem for camera operators... both amateur and professional... since the beginning of photography, filmmaking and videography.
Unless you're shooting your video using some sort of stabilization device such as a tripod or a SteadyCam... There is always potential for some sort of camera motion and as a result... blurred pictures.
Camera motion such as:
All of these conditions above can cause less than optimal results when you're shooting footage. These days when almost all video cameras shoot in HD (High Definition) it is more important than ever to eliminate unwanted camera motion.
Professional videographers will normally use a camera image stabilization device , such as a tripod, but how about the rest of us who normally shoot holding the camera without such a device handy?
Camera image stabilization of course may not prevent all motion blur caused by the movement of the subject or by extreme movements of the camera but... It is designed to eliminate, or at least reduce, the blur that results from normal, minute shaking due to hand-held shooting or other environmental factors.
Video camera makers have tackled this problem of stabilization for hand-held cameras, video cameras and camcorders in a couple of ways.
There are two types of technologies that camera makers have used for camera image stabilization...
Each one has its strengths and weaknesses so let's take a look at each...
Using software within the digital camera or camcorder, this technique corrects the electronic image from the image sensor (frame to frame) to counteract any unwanted motion.
It does this by using pixels outside the border of the visible frame to provide a buffer for the motion. If the camera position is slightly shifted the frame inside the camera is electronically shifted within this buffer area to the corrected position and keep it centered. The more centered it is the less apparent jitter or shake you see.
The only drawback is that it uses pixels to form this buffer zone that would otherwise be used in the frame. This means that you have fewer pixels to work with in each frame and thus you lose a bit of picture quality.
This type of stabilization is usually automatic in the camera and the camera operator has no need to worry if it's on or off. This technology is also called digital image stabilization by some camera manufacturers.
An optical image stabilizer is an electromechanical mechanism used in a camera or camcorder that stabilizes the recorded image by varying the light path to the image sensor through the lens.
Most camera makers use a floating lens element that is always moved to the optical center of the lens using gyroscope sensors and electromagnets. If the camera moves or shakes the light path through the lens to the optical sensor is altered so that the image being shot stays centered on the sensor.
This can also be done with the camera's image sensor also to provide even better correction of the image.
The key element of all optical stabilization systems is that they stabilize the image projected on the image sensor before the sensor converts the image into digital information. This makes for a much clearer and cleaner picture. In high-end camcorders and digital cameras you can turn the optical image stabilization on and off and there are also usually several modes that compensate for different types of movement.
Some videographers like to turn the camera image stabilization off however if they're working from a tripod or if they have the camera on a SteadyCam.
So... As you can see ... Each type of camera image stabilization has its pros and cons!
A plus point for the Electronic stabilization is it's cheaper and does an adequate job of reducing minor camera shake, but this technology does reduce the picture quality by reducing the number of pixels in each frame.
If you're not worried so much about outstanding picture quality and just want to point-and-shoot... Then a digital camera with electronic stabilization technology should be fine.
Also... most video editing software programs have a function that will let you do some correcting for camera shake. So… if you do have a little motion in the frame you can compensate a bit for that during the video editing process. It (the video editing software) won't do anything major as far as correction but it will help a bit.
If you're shooting in high definition and high resolution images are important to you... then it would be better to invest in a more expensive form of image stabilization. Optical stabilization will help you shoot sharper images by giving you better stabilization of the camera. But, of course, it won't come cheap! But if you are going to invest in a higher-end camera anyway... then the optical image stabilization that comes with it will help you to shoot better images.
If you are shooting hand-held then there's always the possibility that you will get some images that are blurred because of camera bounce and shake but...
These image stabilization systems do however give you a great chance to shoot a nice sharp clear image...!
(Top of Page)